May 11, 2019

Get to know Keith Lam, baritone

Keith Lam has been a member of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir since 2012.He was first introduced to Tafelmusik as a participant in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute from 2009 to 2012. Born in Hong Kong, he can be found on stages in Toronto and further afield, most recently with the Bicycle Opera Project, Canadian Opera Company Chorus, Opera Atelier, and Soundstreams.

When did you first start singing? 

I started singing for fun as a kid, but didn't start vocal lessons until the time came to decide what instrument to major in at university. My mother told me she had a friend who took voice lessons and suggested that

I try it out. After the first lesson, I knew singing professionally would be my calling. Thanks Mom!

What was your first music gig?

I don't recall which was the first official gig — I probably did a few things here and there during my university days. But when I finished my degrees at Queen’s (Kingston) and Western (London), the first show I did after moving back to Toronto was called the Count of Luxembourgwith Toronto Operetta Theatre. I continued to work with TOT for a few years, and I'm very grateful to Bill Silva, who mentored me through the early days of my career.

What is your favourite music to listen to?

I don't usually listen to classical music, unless I have to do research for an upcoming project. It’s great, but it’s work, so I would rather listen to something else in my off-time. I love to dance to 80s or 90s music, or listen to the latest music theatre hits, but I will always go back to Alanis Morissette for comfort.

What are the last 3 pieces you’ve listened to? 

• Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack

• Requiem by Herbert Howells

• Freddie Mercury/Queen on shuffle

What is your favourite thing to do in Toronto during your free time?

Hit up some of the newest restaurants in town.

What’s your favourite restaurant in Toronto?

On my birthday, I tried my luck and got a table at Alouette near Spadina and Queen West. It is an absolute must. The complimentary cheddar potato bread was unreal. Great service, great food.

Where is your own, personal, oasis in Toronto?

The beach on the Toronto Islands in the summer.

You have a night off — what do you do?

If a friend is available, probably meet for dinner, go rock climbing, or head to the Rec Room (if you don't know what that is, it's an arcade game venue for adults). If I'm by myself, I go to the gym or go see a movie.

Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?

Hopefully I’ll continue to perform on different stages in Toronto, in Canada, or abroad, whether it is classical music or any other form of performing arts. I'd like to keep an open mind. And I would love to have my own line of T-shirts!

What words of wisdom would you pass to budding musicians?

Be 100% honest with yourself. If your heart tells you this is the right career, stick with it, persevere. Don't just make pretty noises, actually TELL a story through your voice. Otherwise, there is no shame in having a career shift. Your body needs to eat, your ego doesn't — don't feed the ego.

Keith Lam
Chamber Choir