Chantal Kreviazuk is surprising some fans with her latest solo album, Hard Sail.
Anyone who labelled the Juno-award winner as the soft, lilting singer of Feels Like Home and Surrounded will be reconsidering once they hear her surging voice on her first single from the album, Into Me.
Besides delivering this powerhouse love song on Hard Sail, Kreviazuk also recorded some lighter, dance-worthy tunes and a couple of highly personal tracks that came out of a deeply painful experience.
Cumulatively, the songs show different dimensions of the singer/songwriter than her last solo effort, Plain Jane, in 2009.
Since the past seven years were a big chunk of life, the 42-year-old said, “I hope I would sound different!”
The Juno Award winner who performs on Monday, Nov. 7, at the Red Deer College Arts Centre, has been raising her three children in Los Angeles with her musician husband Raine Maida, lead singer of the band Our Lady Peace.
All three of their sons are school aged now, leaving her with more time to devote to touring and album promotion. It’s still not easy being a working mom (Kreviazuk admitted, “As soon as I am on the plane, I miss my kids and have to have Wi-Fi, so we can make a connection. I’m pretty attached”), but the artist believes in the larger picture it’s healthy spending time on projects “that define you, apart from being a parent.”
Since 2009, she’s been singing and writing music every day — although most of it wasn’t destined for her solo album. Professionally, she’s been collaborating with Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Pitbull, Pink, Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood.
Hard Sail only came about “because I had something to say,” she said.
Some of her messages — particularly on the songs Lost and I Love You, originate from a very deep, painful place. The Winnipeg native witnessed a family-related tragedy. Without wanting to elaborate for privacy reasons, she said it was “something horrific,” that left her feeling like she had post traumatic stress disorder.
She believes the emotional “storm” that resulted was only quelled through her songwriting.
Kreviazuk remembers being in the studio and automatically coming out with the lyrics: “Oh the only hope you’ve got/Is breathing in/And breathing out/And oh you know you can’t make it stop/That’s what tragedy/Is all about. …”
She found singing those words cathartic. “I was able to save my life that day. The song came out exactly how I wrote it. … I asked (the engineer), ‘Could you record that note-for-note, word-for-word?’ ” and he did.
On the lighter side, her new tune All I Got comes across as a danceable love letter to Maida, despite some poignant lyrics.
Kreviazuk recalled she used to be the kind of person who would have to bail on parties. But upon first meeting her husband of now 20 years, she instantly “felt like I was finally in my body.” Like the song’s lyrics say: “I don’t look for exit signs in every room I walk in/There’s nothing that need escaping.”
Although the classically trained pianist has lived in America for some time, she said she always looks forward to coming back to Canada to perform — as she is this fall, accompanied by cellist Kevin Fox, who will also play the opening set.
As a U.S. resident, Kreviazuk has been hugely unimpressed by the presidential election — particularly Donald Trump’s campaign. Calling the Republican candidate by his original family name of “Drumpf,” she said it’s disheartening that he’s given bigots a bigger voice.
“We’re going in a direction of unilateralism, of every man for himself.”
She advocates for the opposite in her song, Vicious, which is about a life of service.
Having recently come back from Peru with the charity the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which provides hearing aids to impoverished people, Kreviazuk said “the world is your family… so helping others is integral to who we are.”
Tickets to her show are available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.