BY MARK WEBER
Canadian musician Chantal Kreviazuk will be sharing her exquisite gift for song at the Red Deer College Arts Centre on Nov. 7th.
After seven years, three kids and collaborations with superstars like Drake, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Kendrick Lamar and Pink, the Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter’s latest album, Hard Sail, is a remarkable collection reflecting her own journey, and her unrelenting creative gift.
Of course, she’s known for sonic wonders from the past, too, such as the glorious Surrounded, the lovely In This Life and the irresistible, upbeat sensibilities of Before You.
As for Hard Sail, the time seemed right to record some fresh material, much to her fans’ joy.
“I think it was just time,” explains Kreviazuk, who is married to Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida. “I was starting to write songs where they really weren’t for anyone else.”
Over the years, Kreviazuk has penned tracks for Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and Josh Groban. “I just had things to say and so they came out – there wasn’t any pressure to record, which for an artist is a great place to be coming from, because it’s real.
“Over the past several years, I’ve kept up with the practice of songwriting while staying home and being near my kids. It’s a very humbling experience to be a parent. You do the work, your little people know who they are, they have a foundation.
“They sort of dictated when it was going to be okay for me to be comfortable with making a record and promoting that.”
Often, Kreviazuk enjoys collaborating with others; but sometimes, it’s appropriate for her to explore her own creativity single-handedly. It’s really a mix of both approaches.
“When you have that experience of having a song pour through you without you needing a (particular) collaborative energy, it’s almost like there is a collaboration going on with the universe – with something bigger than you. You have to listen; you have to be ‘on’ and sensitive to what that energy is and take it in.”
Kreviazuk has long been providing fans with much to be grateful for. And her own love for music was sparked early on.
She cites her family as being fans of music in general.
“I was really lucky to have that influence,” she explains. “Those are my first memories – sitting in my grandmother’s lap while they played together – the fiddle and the mouth harp,” she added of her one set of grandparents who were actually a musical duo who performed together. “On the other side of the family, my grandparents had a piano at the farmhouse where everybody would gather around,” she recalls. “My dad had 12 brothers and sisters so there was always a lot of music, too!
“So I think I was really passionate about it right from the beginning.”
Her gift for singing also surfaced early on, as did an obvious talent for songwriting. She was singing by the time she was six and penning tunes not too long after.
“I wrote songs from when I was really little without anyone telling me to – completely on my own without any concept of it,” she said, adding that she would simply hear an artist perform a song at a given time, and then she would think that she could come up with one, too. “There was not an obstacle in my mind to that occurrence, if you will,” she said, adding that she would work hard at developing her songs and carefully craft them.
“I was very serious about them. But the act of doing that was just like doing something that had to be done.”
No wonder so many of her songs have struck such powerful chords over the years. It’s no different with Hard Sail – which bubbles over with a deep, full and rich blend of melodic beauty at every single turn.
The disc is called Hard Sail because, as Kreviazuk puts it, “I have a wonderful marriage and family through hard work.”
Ultimately, the album is also described as moment in time.
“What is awesome about this is it’s an opportunity to take a picture of where I am,” she says.
The same could also be true of Kreviazuk’s entire catalogue, starting<sp