Dan Kanter on festive traditions and holiday memories with Justin Bieber

From a blowout performance at the American Music Awards to the stage at the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dan Kanter has spent much of the past decade travelling the world as guitarist and musical director for Justin Bieber. While the Ottawa native is often racking up the air miles come Hanukkah - "I basically celebrated Christmas for the first time ever for two months straight in every country in the world" - Dan came home for the holidays this year, playing a highly anticipated, sold-out show at the Danforth Music Hall on Dec. 7 with his wife, Yael, and other close family there to cheer him on. After a tour of his home studio, we sat down with the father of one in front of his wall of guitars (including one given to him by Justin) to talk festive traditions, celebrating around the world, party playlists and his favourite Christmas album ever. Oh, and he played us a little ditty!

After welcoming his first child, baby Zack, earlier this year, the holidays have definitely taken on new meaning for Dan, a confessed "concert addict" who's been known to dress his little one in Phish and Nirvana shirts. "It's his first Hanukkah, and I can't wait to give him a present, which, he's probably too young to even realize what it is." [Laughs] As for his seasonal soundtrack? "The Hannukah Song" by Adam Sandler, naturally. "I remember watching it as it happened live and it's still as funny to me today as it was when I was 12!" See what other memories came to mind when we chatted with the star in our exclusive video.

Dan performing with Justin in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this year. Photo: Instagram

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