A Conversation with Chantal Kreviazuk

Sarah had the opportunity to chat with award-winning singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk while on tour for her latest album, “Hard Sail.” The tour is set to come through the Maritimes on November 21st in Halifax, November 22nd in Fredericton, NB, November 23rd in Charlottetown , PEI and finally November 24th in Moncton, NB.

Chantal – the three-time Juno Award winner – has spent the last few years focused on raising her three sons with husband Raine Maida, as well as her other musical passion, crafting songs. Most recently, Chantal has written for Drake (“Over My Dead Body”), Pitbull (“Feel This Moment”) and Kendrick Lamar (“Pay For It”) –which she performed with the rapper on Saturday Night Live last season. She has also penned tracks for Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban and Carrie Underwood.

Last year, Chantal and Raine became members of the Order of Canada, recognizing their efforts to raise awareness and support for numerous causes, including human and animal rights, mental health, education and the environment. Chantal has been an ambassador to War Child for 16 years and one of the organization’s founding artists. She is also a proud supporter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Polar Bears International , First Nations People, Sick Kids Hospital and Children’s Hospital Foundation in Winnipeg. Last year, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Winnipeg, her alma mater.

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SM: “Hard Sail” is a beautiful record. Congratulations on its release! With it being almost 8 years since your last release, did you find this record particularly harder to make,or did you find it easier than your previous works?

CK: Oh, my gosh! That’s a loaded question! I found it difficult in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways, easier. I think as a human, I had a lot more to say. That definitely makes it easy – just open your mouth and out come the “emotional turds.” Then of course, I’ve been writing for so many people for so long that th writing process for me, I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but I have a much better toolkit – a deeper tool kit. I think I’m not as precious about the songwriting process. There’s another song tomorrow, ya know? Whereas I used to be that I’d write one song and then I wouldn’t write another song for like a week or a month. My first albums are like 10 – 11 songs, and then I didn’t write anymore songs for almost two years while I was out promoting the album and touring. In that respect, I’ve been writing and collaborating with people and essentially in the practice of continual songwriting.

SM: With “Hard Sail,” were there songs that stood out to you more than others as a particular favorite?

CK: I have to say that I am crazy about this album! I really, really am. I feel it’s my most meaningful. It’s personal, and its also reflective on an educational level for me. I’ve done a lot of therapy and I’ve learned so much to say and speak about a lot of things in poignant and poetic way. It’s a gift to be able to talk about the things that mean a lot to me like communication, communication on the war field in the war that is domestic life. That’s kind of the theme of the album, and finding peace in the world and peace in your home. It’s kind of what I am about and it’s what really inspires me these days. To be able to get into that in a way that was still in a for of a song was really fitting. You don’t want to sound preachy, or annoying in a song. So to be able to keep it in lovely in a way, despite what you’re saying is really fitting.

SM: You’ve become such an influential artist in your own right throughout your career. With this album and even throughout your career, who are some artists that inspire you and that you might draw from?

CK: With this album, I can tell you. Aimee Mann to P!nk to Fleetwood Mac. The cool thing about “Hard Sail”and “Into me,” is I’m not emulating anybody! Well, “Into Me” has a little bit of a “Chrissy Hynde,” and a little bit of a rock lady thing going on. David Bowie for sure, especially on the song, “Snowing in the Desert.” That was inspired on the date of his passing. So a little bit of everything, really.

SM: I have to say, I LOVE “Into Me.” When it was first released I had it on repeat constantly, and I cannot wait to see it performed in Charlottetown next week! You had mentioned before that you had written songs for other artists, would you say that that helps in the arrangement of songs you write in terms of working with other genres of music?

CK: It’s kind of like what I was saying before about the songwriting process. I’ve been doing it much. I didn’t have to sit there and ask questions on how to put the song together now. I’ve done my 10,000 hours. So I’m a producer now, I’m not a scared artist any more, ya know? When I write the song, it’s finished.

SM: Was songwriting and becoming an artist something you’d always wanted to pursue?

CK: I’m from Winnipeg, so you didn’t really pursue much. There was no famous people. It wasn’t that kind of town when I was growing up. I was just being who I was so I didn’t really aspire to anything. I had nothing really to pull from that was real, if that makes sense. There was nobody, I felt, in my peer group or that was around me that had some kind of a goal on that level either. To be honest, it was very pure. I wrote my song, “Surrounded” about a man that I cared about, that was my friend who died by suicide and I was devastated so I wrote a song and then suddenly it’s on the radio. I didn’t “try.” I didn’t even know what that stuff meant. Even when I got my record deal and was being offered this and that, I didn’t even know the language. So, it’s not like growing up in Toronto, or New York or something like that. It was just coming from my heart – accidental madness!

SM: How is the tour going so far?

CK: Great! I’m having a lot of fun, and everybody seems to be enjoying the shows.

SM: What can fans expect from the show? Will you be performing mostly songs from the new record, or will there be a blending of everything?

CK: It’s a blend! We’ve been pivoting and changing it up each day based on the events of the world or circumstances of the show, or my voice, or whatever. We’re just constantly chipping away. It’s a nice surprise, something you don’t know is going to happen.

SM: Have your children shown an interest in music yet?

CK: Oh sure, they have lesson and love to play and sing and listen and learn different instruments. They’re little athletes right now. I have three boys so it’s pretty competitive in my house.

SM: Yourself and your husband [Raine Maida of Canadian Rock Group Our Lady Peace] are not only well known musicians, but are also well known for your incredible charity work, particularly with War Child. What drew you both to War Child in particular?

CK: We started working with War Child many, many years ago but in this era you can really see the impact of your existence on the planet. You can see the connection we all have with each other in the global world. Being introduced to War Child and being introduced to the programs that they have for war-affected children really brought me into that light that you can be a global citizen. For me I am so thrilled that I have that outlet, if you will, to be able to honor that global citizenship. It is a call to action that I have, perhaps being Manitoban. Manitobans are not an ostentatious people. They’re very humble and they’re kind and pretty connected. War Child is such a wonderful grassroots, cutting-edge organization that is constantly chipping away at what the best model is for being in the world of service, and for getting the best health, education and security there is for kids and their families in war-torn areas of the world that are very hard to reach. The create amazing global and local partnerships. That’s been so rewarding. Being an artist you can have your good moments, your bad moments. You’re here, you’re not here. You’re on radio, and then you’re not on radio. You’re a success, then you’re not a success. It has a lot of a better than, less than aspect to it, like any business. Being able to always find myself and my humanity in these experiences that I’ve gained through War Child and the other amazing organizations that I’ve worked with has been, for me, been one of the best parts of the ride one of the best parts of me in the end. Not the dated artist, or the writing high. That’s not the me I want to nurture. It’s really the human I want to nurture so the next time I put pen to paper, there’s something to say and something meaningful to add.

SM: You’re very active on social media. How important is it to you to have that instant connection to be able to share your thoughts and knowledge with fans?

CK: It’s very natural and social media is such an awesome way to connect with fans. When I get an audience who likes me, I feel like I’m in a chat room, like I’m singing to the choir and we’re all just building each other up. It feels like a great place to inspire each other and support each other and let each other know we’re not crazy for how we feel about the way we see the world and how we’re shaping the world

**For more information about War Child please visit http://warchild.ca/ 

To purchase Chantal Kreviazuk’s latest album, Hard Sail you can purchase on her WEBSITE.

For information and to purchase tickets to Chantal’s performance in Halifax, NS on November 21st at Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, please click HERE

For  information and to purchase tickets to Chantal’s performance in Fredericton, NB on November 22nd at The Playhouse, please click HERE

For information and to purchase tickets to Chantal’s performance in Charlottetown, PEI on November 23rd at The Confederation Center of the Arts, please click HERE

For information and to purchase tickets to Chantal’s performance in Moncton, NB on November 24th at Capitol Theatre, please click HERE

** A digital download of Chantal Kreviazuk’s new album, Hard Sail is included with every ticket you order for this show. You will receive an email with instructions on how to receive your download following your ticket purchase.

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