Volume 93, Issue 45

Thursday, November 18, 1999


Kreviazuk finding a way to get through anything

Roots stays grounded

Granatstein brings history to life

Sopranos hit high note

Kreviazuk finding a way to get through anything

Gazette file photo

By Matt Pearson
Gazette Staff

When asked to explain the lengthy break she took between her first album, Under These Rocks and Stones and her latest effort, Colour Moving and Still, Canadian singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk stops and sighs. "I had to let life happen for awhile," she smiles.

It's sort of ironic to hear such words coming from a worldly and experienced 26 year-old. Anyone familiar with Kreviazuk's life could make a strong case for needing to live life less. The well-spoken talent realized her potential in music at the tender age of three, when she first discovered the piano. "My cousins tell me that I knew 'Crocodile Rock' front to back [ever] since I was a toddler," she recalls.

The Winnipeg native subsequently immersed herself in a strict classical training regimen which developed her abilities and broadened her understanding of music in general. Unfortunately, no amount of training could prepare her for what was about to happen.

After renting a moped to travel across the Italian countryside during a holiday in 1992, Kreviazuk was involved in a head-on collision that put her in the hospital with a broken jaw and femur. Memories of this harrowing accident continue to provide the singer with perspective. "I wasn't thinking [at the time] about how I almost died and how I was lucky to be alive," she concurs. "But I do think more about those things now."

This self-reflection also manifests itself in her work, which references everything from spirituality to death. "There have been some transitions in where my faith comes from, but I definitely have a lot of it," she muses. "Music expresses our joys and our gratitudes. While the subject may be death, I'm actually celebrating the life of someone else."

Of course, marrying this intense introspection with the tenuous creative process isn't always easy. Kreviazuk relies on an interesting analogy to explain her personal songwriting process. "Every song is a very different entity and every song is born differently," she says. "They're all kind of like babies. Some are born after 20 minutes of labour, [while] others have needed a C-section."

Kreviazuk seems comfortable with the idea of performing such personal songs during her live show, which she regards as nothing more than a group of people gathering to celebrate life and music. "I like to think that there isn't really a stage," she says. "The songs that [are] the most truthful, end up being the greatest joy to play because then I feel like I'm actually saying something."

Of course, the subject of Kreviazuk's contemplations isn't limited solely to her personal life. The recent celebration of Remembrance Day triggers some very passionate words and makes it obvious that Kreviazuk is thankful for her homeland. "Canada is the closest thing that we have to heaven on this earth," she professes.

While she's eager to comment on her love of the nation, Kreviazuk doesn't see the point in commenting on national politics. She cites a muted disdain for those celebrities who combine their fame and status with political activism.

"I see musicians on a political level, an advertising level, a pop culture level and on a society-influencing level, having a lot of power these days," she says. "I think it's misplaced power because we don't know what the fuck we're talking about on a lot of levels."

We may not see her running for office anytime soon, but fans can certainly expect to see her in the public eye for the long haul, a thought which Kreviazuk has mixed emotions about. While she undoubtedly appreciates the level of attention being paid to her music, Kreviazuk also acknowledges the obvious downfalls of fame, namely the growing media focus surrounding her relationship with Our Lady Peace frontman, Raine Maida.

True to form, she seems to take it all in stride. "We are both genuine musicians and we are both very passionate about what we do," she reasons. "That leads us to wanting to stay focused on the fact that we have careers in music and we're not making careers of our images, or our relationship."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999