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..... 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
A: Nothing like steps backwards.
Q: You have a beautiful voice. An early bloomer - 3 years
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
Q: Good point. How should kids get started in Music
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
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
Q: That's incredible. You've recovered from all your
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
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
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.
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