August | Van Hechter
Meet Van Hechter.
Singer, songwriter, performer, artistic director and so much more. His energy is contagious, once you sit with him, you get lost in his stories and in how animated he is. It’s been said that he is “an addiction that no one ever saw coming."
Van is born to a French father and a Georgian mother who unfortunately passed away when he was only four years old. He grew up in Montreal and went to private French school where he was severely bullied for being a bit different. Van has always been artistic and has always adored music. Despite the fact that he lost his mother at a young age, he feels that she has had such a huge influence on his life and living his truth. He says that she played a fundamental part in his upbringing and provided all the love that he needed. His father made him feel safe and provided support, not love he says; “My father brought all the tools and did his best raising me as a single parent. He kept repeating to me; “Do what you want in life not what others want you to do”. This he says, was some of the best advice he’s ever received.
In his 20’s,Van joined a punk band but says that he absolutely hated it. Van says at that point, he was a scared kid trying something new. He soon after came out to his father who wasn’t very accepting and told him; “Keep your homosexuality to yourself.” He laughs saying: “ On one hand he told me to be true to myself, on the other, he told me to hide my truth.” Van felt liberated once he came out and said he wanted to pursue a career in music since it was clear that writing songs were his passion. He majored in literature in university and felt that freedom of expression came easily to him.
Fast forward to 2017, Van launched his own record label, Isotop Records alongside his partner in crime Eryck Wyseman. They have released numerous hit singles and have worked with some awesome DJ’s; DJ Villagomez, DJ Chauncey Dandridge to name a few. He performs in Montreal, New York , Florida and LA and has quite the loyal following.
Van eventually crossed paths with Stonewall Inn resident DJ Chauncey Dandridge. They quickly connected , became good friends and created some solid top of the charts hits. They wrote over 7 songs together. He says : “After the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, about homosexuality, half a century later, “The Delight” came out and did really well.” It was remixed by a DJ Executive Realness and has seen great success.” Numerous tracks are also added to his slew of hits which reached top of the charts such as : Love Elastic, Disco Brother, Love in Miami, Soldiers of Love to name a few.
New Year’s Eve 2019 was a pivotal moment in Van‘s career where he performed at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. That was the first time he says, where he walked off stage and said a prayer to his parents. Van says : “Studio 54 had the biggest influence on me, it’s ideology in general, what it represents, it’s freedom, it’s openness to life and love, with no shame. It’s philosophy is what we strive for plus of course adding the make-up and glitter!”.
We asked Van; “As of what point did you know you wanted to perform?” He says: “ When I was 3&1/2 years old, I saw Tom Jones performing on TV and was mesmerized.” No doubt, Van has tremendous stage presence and loves to incorporate humour in his songs & videos. Van laughs and says; “if you don’t find humour in what I do, you have completely missed the point.”
With the Montreal Gay Pride Festival taking place this week, we asked Van how he felt Montreal differs from other cities in the world in terms of freedom of expression, acceptance and living one’s truth? Van replied: “ I absolutely love Montreal because it represents such diversity , we are lucky to have both French & English, this definitely sets us apart from any other city in the world.”
JETELOVE asked Van what advice he has for those struggling to come out and live their truth. He says; “Never give up on your fantasy, live your “now” without feeling shame and you’ll see, great things will happen.”
Thank you Van for providing some much needed light. Your talent, vibrance and energy are exactly what we need.
Van will be performing at Bar Le Stud alongside Chauncey Dandridge on August 6th. FREE ENTRY www.studmontreal.com