Woman of the Week: Chantal Kreviazuk

Singer and song-writer Chantal Kreviazuk is a Canadian icon who never fails to bring her listeners home. She is someone who loves the euphoria of performing, which is why after a seven year hiatus, she will be back to touring, promoting her new album Hard Sail. “To get to that moment [on stage], it is what we call enlightenment. It is so outer-worldly for me. It is like Christmas every day when touring. It’s scary as hell and exciting,” Kreviazuk says.

Kreviazuk began her career in 1997 with the launch of her debut album  Under these Rocks and Stones. This album was critically acclaimed and led to Kreviazuk’s first Juno Award nomination as Best New Artist. In the following year, Kreviazuk’s cover of “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, originally written by John Denver, was featured in the hit movie Armageddon. This song was arguably the turning point of her career and put her on the international stage.

Kreviazuk went on to create six albums, winning two Junos in 2000 for best pop album and best female artist. She also received an Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards a Canadian can be given, for her non-profit work and contributions to Canadian society. Kreviazuk is the honourary founder of War Child Canada and has traveled to Iraq, Ethiopia and Dafur to provide humanitarian assistance. She has contributed to several albums for the charity and also created the song “Na Miso” for the Enough project, another initiative to end genocide and war worldwide. Kreviazuk has also been a champion supporter for Sick Kids Hospital and Children’s Hospital Foundation in Winnipeg.

“I see myself as a human being and a global citizen,” Kreviazuk says. “I think the most important thing is to respond to that call to action. We all have that in us.” Kreviazuk intends to teach her children the importance of charity work as well. Prior to beginning her tour in November, Kreviazuk will be taking her oldest son to Peru with the Starkey Foundation to help doctors install hearing aids for low-income children.

One of the tracks on Hard Sail that has gained attention is ‘Vicious’. The main chorus of the song is “Please forgive me, I’m trying to survive/The wolves are vicious over here on my side/And I’m sorry, I’m sorry/There’s nothing else anybody can do/This is the life some say we all choose/And I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, reflecting the desperation of living in a war-torn world.

It has been rumoured that the song was made about girls who were being sold as sex slaves by ISIS, but Kreviazuk was on hand to set the record straight. “The reason I wrote the song is because of the work I’ve done over the course of twenty years that directly correlates with the girls at risk,” she says. “It talks about the science of war mortality. We are all in this high alarm action process and we need to calm down. We need to calm down before we hit the button and drop the bomb.” She goes on to explain that the song is about the wars that we fight in our daily lives as well as the larger wars that plague humanity, and how they are interconnected.

Kreviazuk has also performed songs on many notable movie soundtracks, including a cover of Randy Newman’s ballad, ‘Feels Like Home’ that was used on Dawson’s Creek and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. She also recorded the song of “In My Life” for the TV show Providence. Lastly, she performed the song Time in the movie, Uptown Girls.  She has also done song writing for other artists including Pink and Kendrick Lamar. “I really enjoyed working with Pink, and Kendrick Lamar,” Kreviazuk says. “It is a really cool experience to work with someone who lives their craft. They really encapsulate being an artist. They are our ‘Dylans’ and ‘Jonis’”.

Kreviazuk is also an active supporter of young women musicians looking to break into the industry. When her husband, Our Lady Peace frontman, Raine Maida forwarded her a couple tracks from one of his friends in Alberta who was looking to launch her singing career, Kreviazuk saw the talent of the young singer and immediately took her under her wing.

“I got through one verse of one song, and I felt like she did something so different from me. I invited her to work with me in my studio in L.A.,” Kreviazuk says. “This is a young woman who is committed to music. It is such a risk and there is no guarantees. It is easy for me to say don’t do it, but she has fire. She will do it anyways, so how can I help her? What information can I give her that took me 30 years to learn? Some things you can’t teach, you have to go through it, but other things you can teach a young person.”

Kreviazuk likes to read on her own time and is currently reading Democracy of America by Alexis de Tocqueville. When on the road, she also always takes a candle and takes a break to do yoga when she has can.

Kreviazuk released a new album called Hard Sail recently in June 2016 and will be touring with her new album starting in November.