Road trip #4 - Destination: Saskatoon

Saskatchewan is often not considered as a top vacation or trip destination… but Saskatoon, my hometown, has so much to offer. I explain why I completely adore the city of bridges.

http://bit.ly/2f2A0Ws

Have you ever visited Saskatoon? Have you ever lived here? If yes, what do you love the most about this city that Leonard Cohen named “The Paris of the Prairies”?

Road trip #3 - Destination: doubt management

It’s been four years since I messed up the American National Anthem. It wasn’t the rough performance that shook me the most. It was the international attention that it generated… I felt small, worthless and was so very ashamed of myself.

I talk about it more on this road trip: 

I have since realized that difficult experiences, like that one, have the biggest potential to change my life for the better. This is why I recognize the importance of being in uncomfortable situations from time to time. The discomfort that I feel is proof that something inside me is evolving.

What was the last time that you felt uncomfortable or that you had come to a personal turning point? What did you learn?

Road trip #2 - Destination: sunsets

There is nothing more beautiful than the sunsets in Saskatchewan. When I take time to stop and admire them, I remember that my roots grow into the sky just as much as they do into the earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdZVgROkUGU

It was my mom that taught me this love for sunsets. 

Road trip #1! Destination: Johnny Cash

Have you ever read a poem and it felt like it had been written just for you?...this is the feeling I got when I read Daniel Beaumont's lyrics to Johnny Cash. I'll tell you more about it in this video:


Do you like collaboration? What would you get out of it?

I prioritize collaboration because it has truly changed my life. I talked about this more in depth HERE

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!!

I am very thankful for my own mom and I love her a lot.

My mother taught me many lessons and values that I hold in my heart:

  • The best recipe for mac and cheese

  • The importance of forgiveness

  • The importance of helping each other

  • « Fair is not always equal! »…seems to me, this is the type of thing a parent of four children would often say!

  • Her love for the sunrises and sunsets in Saskatchewan

  • What lessons/values did your mom teach you?

 

 

 

Earth Day - IL FAUT

Sometimes I ask myself if biking more often, lugging my reusable coffee cup and remembering to recycle is worth it: do these little gestures even have a positive effect on the environment? These questions were the starting point for Il faut – a song that explores the vicious cycle that is the exploitation of natural resources.

On the 22nd of April, we celebrate Earth Day. I was stunned to learn that we have been celebrating this day since 1970! It was Mr. Nelson, an American senator from Wisconsin, who proposed the first demonstration/protest to encourage an awakening of the public consciousness regarding environmental causes in the political discourse. Many awareness-raising events have been developed since then that have made April 22nd one of the most important secular holiday in support of the environment in the world.  

Even if the the mobilization of our institutions and governments is slow and can be discouraging, I remind myself that they are still moving forward (most of the time!). I also continue to remind myself that there are many courageous people who work very hard to keep us moving on this path of progress.

And I am grateful that, at least one day per year, environmental issues are in the spotlight and that this discourse continues to raise awareness and provoke action.

And so, like many others, I will turn off my lights at 8:30 pm to acknowledge Earth Day. I dare to believe that the accumulation of little collective acts like this one will lead us to changing our habits, and that this, in turn, will eventually change the way we live on this planet and to ultimately taking better care of our earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women to celebrate!

When I think about International Women’s Day, I often resort to thinking about well-known international leaders who have overcome the biggest obstacles on the path to changing their communities (both locally and globally). I think of Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks, for example. That said, I also feel like the women closer to home deserve similar recognition. This is why I’d like to share with you three women whose contributions make a difference in my community:

 Laurette Lefol

Laurette Lefol

LAURETTE LEFOL: This woman is very active in the Fransaskoise community. In addition to the incredible number of hours of volunteering she works, what I appreciate the most about Laurette, is that she takes the time to ask the younger generation for their opinions, ideas and feedback. In fact, I was totally surprised the first time she invited me to a strategic planning meeting for the Fédération des francophones de Saskatoon (the city’s francophone community association). Though I feel my voice is a small one, when she invites me to these meetings and cultural activities,  I feel that my point of view and presence are important to her. Her reaching out helped me cultivate a sense of belonging to my community that I hold very close to my heart. Merci Laurette!

ZOÉ FORTIER: She is one of my closest friends, a talented visual artist and activist - a contemporary franco-feminist like none other (in my words!). I admire her boldness - she is never shy to share her opinions and often does so with tongue-in-cheek wit. Her visual arts speaks to her experience as a woman in a minority language situation…and I adore her use of fauvist-inspired colour palette, her play on words and her humour. Thank you for your boldness Zoé!

* About her work seen above: Zoé presented these tote bags as an installation for the Women's World exhibit put on by BAM in Saskatoon in 2016. However, Zoé prefers to see these tote bags used or inserted into a public context. She likes to stimulate conversation about women's roles in society using objects that are functional and attractive. These bags are often considered "Kitch-cheesy-cute". They refer to the traditional links that exist between women and domesticity via elements such as embroidery or feminine clichés. Zoé also likes to contribute to the desexualization of the human anatomy by demonstrating that female physical attributes are part of species. She also uses language playfully to make her point.

 Farideh Ceaser

Farideh Ceaser

In addition to being a talented musician and an exceptional business woman, FARIDEH CEASER is a superb mother! For the longest time, I was under the impression that the only female musicians who could also have a family were ones who have established international careers, like Macie Grey, Lights or Jill Barber. The only other option I saw was for female musicians to wait until later in life before starting their families (llike Céline Dion and Shania Twain, for example). Farideh has shown me that female musicians don’t need to choose between having a family VS a career: her baby has accompanied us on tour since she was born a year and a half ago. Farideh’s example shows me that it’s possible to take over 85 planes, to spend over 100 hours in a car, put on more than 60 shows a year AND to be a great mom. I am very thankful for her example to prove that it is possible for women in the music industry to raise kids without compromising their career ambitions.

And you?? Are there women in your community that inspire you? Let’s celebrate them on International Women’s Day!

3 benefits of collaboration that have changed my life!

There are many fruits that are born out of collaboration. Here are 3 benefits of collaboration that have influenced my artistic process.

      1) Change of perspective

Collaboration has allowed me to work differently: to discover new ways of making links, cultivating ideas and creating. This gives me the chance to see the world through a different perspective and allows me to be inspired in new ways. Ultimately, it makes my process of creation more malleable and flexible. In the end, I think it makes my work more interesting than it would have been without it.

     2) To strengthen my capacities

After an artist residence several years ago, Luc de Larochellière advised me to write songs beginning with the lyrics before composing the music. This exercise made me realise that I work at least three times harder on my lyrics than I do on my music. While I am very capable of writing lyrics of which I am proud, the musical composition comes so much more quickly and naturally. And so, one day I decided: why should I force the lyric-writing process when there are songwriters that are far more gifted with words and can write lyrics more easily? That’s when called upon Daniel Beaumont, Mathieu Lippé and Mélanie Noël… working with these wordsmiths gave me more time and energy to focus on my musical compositions to create something that works with the lyrics in a stronger way - so that my melodies and musical phrasing are of better service to the lyrics.

     3) New friends!

The process of creating is often an intimate journey where I can discover the most beautiful stories, memories and ideas that exist in hidden part of myself. I often rediscover my challenges and fears. When I collaborate, it is like I leave the door part way open to this part of me - an invitation for the other person to enter, gently. And so we learn a lot about each other and build friendship while we are forging new creative connections.