Kelsey Smith and Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News
CHESTERVILLE — Daniel Riitano thought he heard a Janis Joplin record playing in his establishment recently, but it turned out to be Mena Hardy singing live that wowed the McCloskey’s barkeep and general manager during a recent open mic night.
“Dan heard me from the back of the room and thought that someone was playing Mercedes Benz on a record, and someone told him, no that’s actually a human being!” a laughing Hardy tells Nation Valley News.
The local singer landed a gig at McCloskey’s tonight (Saturday, June 17) as a result of that impromptu display of talent at the 22 Victoria Street venue.
Don’t mistake her for a newly discovered ingenue, though. Originally from Alexandria, the former Hooters waitress and psychology graduate made a splash earlier this decade in the Toronto area as a “southern rock siren” with a couple of local radio hits to her name.
Her last EP, It’s Been Mean and Hard, dropped in late 2013 with a launch party at Hogtown’s storied El Mocambo Tavern.
A runner up for the coveted rock category in the 2012 John Lennon Songwriting Competition, she’s still heard on commercial radio, television as well as the film Club Utopia.
Recently relocated to Cornwall, Hardy says she’s excited to play Chesterville this evening but was equally excited for a show last night in the Seaway city. Her appearance at Road 2 Musicfest (which runs all weekend in Lamoureux Park) marked her first time on stage with backing musicians since her last Toronto appearance with former bandmates in 2015.
She’s otherwise been playing solo gigs these days, armed with a rhythm guitar, often at the NAV Canada Centre.
Expect Hardy to put her vocal prowess to work on southern rock, top 40, country and her own music when she and her new band take The McCloskey Hotel stage at 9 p.m. tonight.
Singing professionally for the past 10 years, she says her interest and talent in music became apparent at the young age of five.
The organizers of Art on the Waterfront sincerely thank our supporters and sponsors for the success of this year’s event.