Last we heard from Suzi Kory, the mother of two teenaged boys was in VIP customer service relations with Air Canada while developing her longtime dream of becoming a country music star. That was in February. In March she was furloughed by the airline and in July, became one of more than 20,000 workers who were permanently laid off.
She didn’t blink.
“I’d only been there five years so there is a (payout) package, and it’s good enough to sustain me for a time so that I can focus on music and not worry about getting another job. For now, at least. So now I’ve gotta make music my full-time career,” she tells me over the phone, exuding enthusiasm and brimming with actionable ideas to make her dream come true.
With a growing catalogue of upbeat country songs earning her income on SiriusXM, Kory decided it was time to get in front of an audience and so, on July 18, she put up the money to headline (“special guest”) her own Love Revolution drive-in country music festival on a parcel of land in Cavan township that sits just outside Peterborough, ON. The daytime fest also featured Alessia Cole, Bree Taylor, Brian John Harwood, Nicole Rayy, Mackenzie Leigh Meyer and The House Call.
With three weeks to put the event in place, she cajoled friend Brent Clements into loaning her a plot of land he owns in the area that is a natural amphitheatre, had the stage donated by newfound friend Peterborough restaurateur Warren Shrubb (who just happens to have a food truck that he obligingly parked on-site), Long & McQuade gave her a steal of a deal for the sound equipment, and she sweet-talked iHeart FM Pure Country 105 and KX 96 into promoting the event with ticket giveaways. She sold ducats to her fans online at $60 per vehicle.
The event turned out costing she admits, but “that’s because it was my choice that all of the musicians were going to get paid. They would have been happy doing it without pay,” she tells me, but “we’re all friends so I made sure they got paid first.”
In typical fashion with this relentlessly ambitious woman, Kory is now planning to take her “Love Revolution” on tour with drive-in festivals in California, Tennessee and Texas.
“It’s a concept in my head right now,” she tells me“ and I’ve already started talking with friends in these markets, putting the idea in their heads, contacting people with soundstages, and artists, so when it comes time, I’ll be ready to go.”
Meantime, she is firming up details for a series of shows set in homes of friends, of whom she has many. The ticketed events will conform with covid regs, with a pre-set fee and a nominal ticket cost for attendees that exceed her limit of 25. She’s not going to make a packet, but it’s income and furthering her cause to make Suzi Kory a marquee name.
She’s also pounding the pavement, in a figurative sort of way, reaching out to radio stations around the world. Kory has her latest single added at iHeart Radio in Australia. Natch, the song is called Love Revolution.
“You know, I reach out to people daily, and for every 50 people, I will get three who answer back, which is just fine. That’s how you get to know people, make contacts, create relationships. It’s karmic. There’s always a payback out there if one is willing to make the effort.”
The gal's got cojones, and she looks mighty darned good standing coy and tall in her calf-high, decorative-stitched western boots. Part Nancy Sinatra, part Shania back in the day when she had set her heart on becoming the star that she became. Part so, but also very much her own woman and darned proud of it too.