© Photo special to The Guardian
Corey Hart, photographed in Italy in 1988. Hart will be opening for Shania Twain's P.E.I. 2014 Founders Week Concert on Saturday, Aug. 30 in Charlottetown
Pop superstar Corey Hart feels strongly about his Canadian roots.
“Wherever I travel in the world, every time journalists call me an American, I always correct them. I’ve always been very proud to be a Canadian,” says the pop superstar, known best for 1980s chart-topping hits like I Wear My Sunglasses At Night, Never Surrender and Love Hurts.
So, when he received a call from Canadian icon Shania Twain asking whether he would like to open her Founders Week concert at the Charlottetown Event Grounds on Saturday, Aug. 30, as part of the P.E.I. 2014 festivities, he was thrilled.
“It was sheer unexpected excitement. And I wanted to be a part of it, so I didn’t hesitate,” says Hart, who had several reasons for wanting the gig.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever played on P.E.I. soil. It’s also been a long time since I performed in the Atlantic provinces,” says Hart, adding his last gig in the region was in 1988 at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton.
He also feels strongly about the historical event that the concert celebrates.
“Historically, the Charlottetown Conference was instrumental in setting up the birth of the country, with the Quebec Conference following afterward,” says Hart, who grew up in Montreal and feels it’s important to let people know that he’s a Canadian and a Quebecer.
“I believe that our country is strengthened in the diversity of each province. I’m a federalist and I believe in the unity of the country.”
Hart plans to unify the audience with a performance like no other.
“Outdoor concerts are always fun for me. I will play as many hits as I can in the show,” Hart said during a telephone interview this week from Nassau, in the Bahamas, where he and his wife, Julie Masse, are raising their four children.
Recognized as one of Canada’s most successful singer-songwriters, Hart sold over 16 million records worldwide and collected nine consecutive U.S. Billboard Top 40 hits in the ’80s.
He also scored an impressive 30 top 40 hits in his native Canada, including 12 Top 10s during his career.
Besides hits, his concert will include songs from his latest album, Ten Thousand Horses, as well as “some surprises.”
“There is one song that I might be playing,” says Hart, referring to That’s All Right Mamma, a rhythm and blues number that, in an inspirational moment, he sang to his mother, Mina, when he brought her up on stage during his June 3 concert in Montreal, a few days short of her 90th birthday.
Sadly, she died two weeks ago.
“Her passing was unexpected and very hard,” says Hart, adding the heartfelt tribute is one part of the show that will be filled with high-energy songs.
“I know the audiences in Atlantic Canada are warm and boisterous so I’m looking forward to giving them everything I can.”
Hart is also excited about sharing the stage with Twain on Saturday.
“She is a classy artist and I’m very honoured.”