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From the urgent, heart-pounding opening chords of her new single Into Me, to the first time that famous voice surges like a king tide hitting a breakwater, the message is clear: Chantal Kreviazuk is back!
After seven years, three kids and collaborations with superstars like Drake, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Kendrick Lamar and Pink, the JUNO Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter’s latest just-for-herself album, Hard Sail, is like a freshman’s release of jaw-dropping hits all over again: it seems to come out of nowhere, but really took a lifetime to write. And that’s not surprising, considering what Kreviazuk’s been up to since her last album, Plain Jane, was released in 2009.
She hunkered with husband and Our Lady Peace frontman, Raine Maida, in Los Angeles to have three boys, Rowan, Lucca and Salvador. She’s acted in films. She’s dedicated herself to War Child and several other charities. She started painting, appeared on Saturday Night Live and in 2014, was made, with Maida, a member of the Order of Canada. In other words, when it came to penning Hard Sail just for herself, she had plenty of life to write about. “I didn’t choose to make this album. I just had things to say and so they came out…there wasn’t any pressure to record, which for an artist is a great place to be coming from, because it’s real,” she says.
“Over the past several years, I’ve kept up with the practice of song writing while staying home and being near my kids. It’s a very humbling experience to be a parent. You do the work, your little people know who they are, they have a foundation. They sort of dictated when it was going to be okay for me to be comfortable with making a record and promoting that. It’s been a very organic process.”
Called Hard Sail because “I have a wonderful marriage and family through hard work,” she says, the album’s first single, Into Me, was written about accepting love, but it wasn't until she heard the produced track that she knew she had to make an album. “You get to a certain age and you just don’t care what others think. You’ve been through the washing machine so many times, you know who loves you and what matters. I feel so much more creative freedom in that. You just start stating the facts,” she says, “and the rest takes care of itself.”
The album’s second single, All I Got, is a love letter, partly to Maida and partly to the idea of love. “Later, someone asked me ‘how can you say you love someone more than you love yourself?’ But if you’ve ever loved outside of yourself, if you’ve ever had a child, you know you can love someone more than yourself.” More than that, the album is a moment in time: Kreviazuk has lived a lifetime in the past seven years and the collection of songs acknowledges that.
“What is awesome about this is it’s an opportunity to take a picture of where I am,” she says. The same could also be true of Kreviazuk’s entire catalogue, starting in 1998 when international audiences heard the Winnipeg native’s now-iconic rendition of Leaving On a Jet Plane, on the Armageddon soundtrack. From that moment, there was no doubting her star power as a multi-platinum selling artist with 15 hits in Canada, including Surrounded and All I Can Do.
On Hard Sail, Kreviazuk is at her best as a songwriter and artist, arguably because of time. “If you get out of bed and put one foot forward, you’re changing. Every day, I’m someone new,” she says.“That’s who I was, this is who I am. When Raine and I go out on stage together, we say ‘love, trust, protect’. That’s what this album is about. It’s a thank you to my husband and my family, it’s a letter to the universe that expresses my fears and frustration and my surrender to the reality of time.”
Although Kevin Fox has been spending the last few years composing arrangements for the likes of Justin Bieber & Kathleen Edwards, recording with artists as diverse as Raine Maida & Celine Dion, & touring extensively with musicians ranging from Chantal Kreviazuk & Steven Page to Tom Cochrane & Olivia Newton-John – not to mention touring in support of his own critically acclaimed 2008 release SONGS FOR CELLO & VOICE – he has somehow found the time to write & record his third album, SET RIGHT.