....................... ...........2003
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Chantal Kreviazuk
Rocking the USA!

..... With an insightful wisdom that belies her sweet voice, Winnipeg's Chantal Kreviazuk has become one of Canada's top pop songstresses. The charming singer-songwriter-pianist only began recording her luscious melodies in 1997, and yet her soulful sounds have given her North America-wide fame. A lifelong performer, Kreviazuk didn't actually take music seriously until a serious accident in 1994. While recovering, she began writing what was to be her first album, 1997's "Under These Rocks and Stones." The release, consisting of a collection of passionate and honest songs, was an immediate hit, both critically and commercially. This instant fame and accompanying tour schedule led to two high-profile soundtrack contributions. She was featured on 1998's Armageddon soundtrack with her version of "Leaving On A Jet Plane". Kreviazuk also remade Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" for Dawson's Creek. The Latest Her latest release, "What If It All Means Something," is enjoying equal success. The first single, the catchy "In This Life," has been successfully followed up "Time." Although she is one of Canada's top stars, (and married to another, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace), Kreviazuk is also one of Canada's most genuine people.

Q: So where are you located today?
A: I'm actually just in California rehearsing for the tour. Getting ready, because I'm taking a band on this leg. I didn't take band on the Canadian leg. So, I'm taking it on the American leg.
Q: I was checking out your CD it really sounds great.
A: Well thank you. I'll bet you say that to all the artists.
Q: Yeah. I have to at first and then I take it back. Just kidding.
A: Nothing like steps backwards.
Q: You have a beautiful voice. An early bloomer - 3 years old?
A: Well I think started picking away at the piano when I was about 3. I was a really musical child and a really inquisitive child and I think I was also one of those kids who was beyond busy.
Q: Were your parents musically inclined?
A: We had a piano in the house and there was a lot of music in the background with both of my parents and I think my Mom and Dad just decided early on that they really wanted their kids to have that balance in their life, which I really respect. You know I think it's important. I think whether you actually do something with music or not, I think that being musical or having a musical influence as a child is a real integral part of human development actually.
Q: Good point. How should kids get started in Music today?
A: I was pretty disappointed to see Bill Marr the other day talking about how we should be supporting the arts on a government level. It should be all private. I mean, that's just an uneducated thing to say. It's ignorant. Because studies have proven that the quality of a culture is better when it is artistically driven and when it has a lot of focus on the arts and music. For instance, if you take a look at the Japanese approach to educating and developing their children, the kids play an instrument ... I mean it's too intense the way they do it. I mean people become suicidal because they put so much pressure on themselves. You know they want their kids to learn the violin, the piano, whatever, a string instrument, when they're really really young and throughout their learning years because they know that they'll be a better person at whatever they take on in life. There's not really an expectation that they're going to become a player for the Japanese Symphony Orchestra, but they just know that the person better skills, be they in articulation, or better emotional capacity, or critical thinking, or whatever it might be. So, I just feel really blessed that my parents have an insight into that. You know I don't think they've ever said that out loud, but I think they just have an instinct about it.
Q: So how did you get the feel for music you play now?
A: Well you know I played by ear. And I think that I just always got this positive reinforcement, because I was like a little baby jukebox. You know my cousins or my friends or whomever would say "play this song." Or my Mom would tell me to play "can you play that Barbara Streisand song I was just listening to" or whatever. It was just like this thing where I got all this positive reinforcement for playing songs back. So I think that that propelled me. But somewhere inside of me, I wanted to write those songs. I didn't want to be just mimicking, so I became really interested in writing music as well.
Q: So when you had a pretty serious Moped accident 1994 and when you were laid up you began to see songwriting in a different light ?
A: I think so. I think when you're an adolescent, you're just on the move ... it's like I got to go here, I got to go there. A lot of it, I think is really procrastinating and putting off the idea of growing up and taking responsibility for your life and claiming a direction and for me when I was like lying there recuperating or going in and out of the hospital for more post-trauma surgeries and so on, I think I couldn't be on the move any more and it wasn't like a conscious thing so much, it was just me being incredibly bored and not being able to move around and just feeling like - I mean I'm just that kind of person - I have to be doing something right? It allowed me to be productive on another level and it allowed me to apply myself and I think that I was scared when my accident happened. Lying there and contemplating life and like what am I going to do? I think deep down I always knew that music was definitely going to be strength, so I just sort of bit the bullet.
Q: That's incredible. You've recovered from all your injuries, right?
A: Actually, during when I was recording my demo, I still had some outstanding injuries that I wasn't dealing. I actually was suffering from a post-trauma psychological syndrome where I didn't want to even address my injuries anymore because I was so over and it and I had moved on and I was so inspired by my demo tapes and my writing that I was doing and I just didn't want to be sick girl anymore. So, I actually put off an infection that was setting into my jaw - in one my injuries in my jaw - you know one morning I woke up and I couldn't even open my mouth anymore, so I ended up in emergency surgery. I guess one of the plates inside my face had decided to reject - my body rejected it - I knew something was wrong cause I had a gaping wound in my neck but I didn't respond to it and you want to talk rock and roll baby, I've got it. I just put it off and put it off and when I couldn't it hide it anymore, and the infection was setting in when my jaw wouldn't open, so you know I had to go back in and have emergency surgery and then after that I really did start to recover. It wasn't long after that I think I had already sent a tape in, but I was just sending it in and I get my record deal right away, so it's sort of like I went from being a kid, being irresponsible to being sick, right into being an adult and having to take responsibility for myself and go on the road ... all that shit.
Q: Are you based in Canada?
A: Yeah. Essentially. We have studio space in California that we could retreat to and do work at. I am originally from Winnipeg Manitoba and then Toronto. But home is where you are in this life.
Q: I notice when we went to the other side of Canada, there isn't much French going on there.
A: Naw, not really. It's sort of a federal law, but no one really acknowledges it to too much. It's as you get further east.
Q: So your married to Raine Maida from from the band Our Lady Peace ?
A: Yeah. Q: Did he collaborate on this album with you?
A: Yeah. More than anything, I think one thing about my husband's sensitivity toward me is that he's always acknowledged I've been sensitive to the fact that I'm kind of alone in it all, you know what I mean. He's a really driven guy and definitely a leader, but he does have his band and a sounding board. I think he's sort of been that for me. I think sometimes it's me writing a song and just getting to a wall and me going to him and saying ah ah... what is this about, or whatever. But other times, we've genuinely I say look I just really need to do a writing session with you and so. I think there's three songs that he collaborated with me on this record. "Miss April" we genuinely wrote it together. I mean I wrote the verse, he wrote the chorus. But then on "Time" it was more like a lyric focus thing and "What If All Means Something." That song for instance he had a piano rift for literally years that blew my mind and inspired me so much every time I heard it. When I first heard him play, because he's not a piano player, he just started picking up on it. He's very very musical and very driven and one day I heard him playing this and remember yelling down the stairs, "that's mine." He said "No, I don't think so. I think this is for me." I said "What are you going to do with that. That is so for me. It's not even funny." But it channeled through the wrong partner, so then eventually we were together with Dave Friedman when I was just sort of doing a recording inspiration session up in his studio in upstate New York and that was a really inspiring atmosphere and I sat down at the piano in Dave's studio and I started to play that rift. My husband was standing right next to me and out popped the whole song. At that point, he was like "Okay, it's yours." And it's my favorite song, and I feel like I can say that because he gave it to me. Do you know what I mean. The lyric for me means so much to me, even though I wrote that particular lyric. I mean he ended up being there for me for the whole verse parts and I don't know what it is, but that song just feels like it's very much channeled and it's one of my favorite songs.
Q: Well you can get really soulful in your songs sometimes and the words can blend together, and if they have a nice ring to it, it can sound good.
A: You know where you should do that though. Where you should just let it. The other night, I just started performing the song, "I Can't Find My Way Home," by Stevie Winwood, and like you can go off on that song and you don't need to ... like the words don't matter. You know what I mean. Everyone knows it. It's such a classic song, so it's fun to just let it rip.
Q: Wow, thousands of fans singing your song. Does that happen sometimes at your concerts?
A: Yeah. It does. It's interesting. I'm actually really pumped right now about making a new fan base. You see in Canada what happened to me, if I can say this with the utmost humility, I have promoters and agents and everybody and of course they are always trying to sell out what they can sell and my career really went from being an opening act once at the beginning to being a theater sell. So, I never got to do that kids going crazy and like all ages club scene. I automatically play anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 people whatever in a south (?) theater. So, everybody tends to have quite a lot of dignity, if you will, while I'm performing. And I sometimes have to say like okay guys, let's just pretend and let it all hang out. So, when I'm in these clubs with Jason, like I did my first show in Virginia on Tuesday night and it was so much fun because they went wild. They went crazy. They were just standing in front of me and I was just alone at the piano because I don't have my band out with me yet and it's really really fun. I did that a little bit on the last American stuff when my other album came out. I opened for all sorts of different people here and there and I got that same feeling. So, I'm actually really excited to let it hang out like that.
Q: I saw the same thing happen ... there's certain bands in Canada that are really famous. And then when they come over here, people are just staring at them, who's this person. When Tragically Hip played, a bunch of Canadians came out and they were going crazy. A: It's pretty cool to be able to be. I get to do that a little bit. I did promo tour of Canada recently, when the album first came out in Canada and it was just for the radio stations, so I did get to do little clubs and maybe like 200-300 people were there, and I got a bit of a sense of it. But, I hate to say it, and I am by means Celine Dion or anything like that, but once you're at a certain level you get a lot of media people there. So, I did have those people there who are all about it, but then a lot of it ends up being - I don't want to say tainted because obviously the media outlets are so important for driving a career and all that - but I just think there's something really spectacular about developing a fan base again and getting out in front of people who've never ever seen you play and just having a lot of fun. And I don't know, just somehow there's not as much pressure. You're just like ... look, these people don't know me, they don't love me. I'm just going to get up and be myself and come what may. Jason and I played for 500 people the other night and 70 people bought my CD when I was done. Some of them bought all three of my records right away. They had a lot of fun. It was just because ... I don't want to say I didn't care ... but just there's not an expectation. They're not my fans. And it's not like I have somebody next to me coaching me going "okay go out there and get yourself some fans girl."
Q: I haven't seen your show yet. Do you play piano mostly?
A: You know it's always arranged so much. Like when I was opening for the Bare Naked Ladies two years ago at about this time and I had a band and I just sort of ... I sometimes go through periods where I'm anti the piano and I can't stand it anymore. And it's funny, like now there's a new wave of the piano being cool again. Because Chris Martin plays the piano. So, it just infuriates me. It just pisses me off so much as somebody who's married to the piano. That is like the limb of my beating. It's great. Because I now I don't feel like a dork at the piano again. But, I go through periods where I really resent it and it's like "oh look at that, isn't that nice, a little Torri Amos" and it's people put you in a box so much. In Canada it's fine. I feel bad ... there are a couple of other girls in Canada after me who have tried to have careers in Canada at the piano and they can't because you can only have one ... how many people can you have that are girls with dark hair at the piano. You know what I mean. That's just the way life is. Right. Life's not perfect and that's life. It breaks my heart, because I just think it's the piano or the guitar. They are integral fundamental cores of the basis of a song or of music.
Q: Did you relate that experience in any songs?
A: I did, and it's funny I have like 30 songs going into this album and I didn't end up using one of the main ones. It was called "GI Joe." I didn't use that one for the record. You know I had a lot of songs going into the album and we just tried tracking them and we got down to 15 and tracked them and the way we handled it was just the ones that seemed to come out the best in tracking made it. So, but I really think that the track "What If It All Means Something" has a lot of layers to it. Somebody said to me, "Why do you have an interest in these people. Do you think they care about you?" And that really hit me and I thought wow, if we felt that way about everything and everyone, like there would be no progression, no evolution to being human beings. In order to have progression and education, we have to doubt and we have to feel empathy for others. And we have to question the treatment of others. There would still be slavery and women would not have the vote and Britain would have colonized the whole planet by now. "What If It All Means Something" is definitely my ode to say it's okay to feel so much about the human experience.

By Randy Cohen

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