It's been almost two years since Joseph Kargi has performed in Sault Ste. Marie after leaving his small town home for bigger things in Toronto.
But all of that will change this Saturday, March 14 when Kargi performs at Algoma University's Shingwauk Auditorium to pay tribute to his beloved hometown.
"Living in Toronto has made me appreciate Sault Ste. Marie so much more. I really do love this place," he told SooToday.
The Sault-born singer, songwriter and pianist began piano lessons at age 4 and vocal lessons at the Conservatory of Music at age 8.
A bit resistant at first, he eventually grew to love performing.
"As a young kid, when you're playing like that and studying, it's hard find in the music a way to express yourself. So, it became a love-hate relationship," he said.
"I ended up giving up classical, and in high school began thinking the piano would be a way for me to express myself. That turned into me skipping classes."
These missed classes lead to formation of The Outside Lights in 2008 with bandmates John Armstrong, Ben Tonnon, Dave Giulietti, and Nathan Bouliane.
The band played regularly at venues like Arcadia Coffee House and landed a spot in the Sault Symphony Orchestra's Musicfest: Bratwurst, Beer and Beethoven in 2009.
But it was his solo performances that caught the attention of area music fans, and he was a featured performer during the Bon Soo Winter Carnival opening ceremonies in 2012.
"Becoming a solo artist can be terrifying, especially when you're just starting out. You're totally dependant on yourself," Kargi explained. "You have to give your all to the audience and give it to them real. You're being more personal because they're only your stories."
His move to Toronto a few years back has opened a number of musical opportunities as he works as a session musician and often collaborates with other performers, including Casey Yugo, Gadda and another Saultite-turned-Torontonian, Cody McMillan.
Along with business partner Sean Matthews, he also runs For The Music Inside which strives to connect audiences with artists by breaking down traditional boundaries.
With an independent EP under his belt and an upcoming full-length release, Revival of Man, expected later this year, Saturday night's performance will include a variety of new material as well as rebooted older compositions.
Both Casey Yugo and Gadda will share the stage with Kargi that evening.
Tickets for this all-ages performance are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, and may be purchased here.
Doors open at 7 p.m.