Alexis Normand fransaskoise jazz-folk saskatchewan french musician

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Holiday inspiration!

It (finally!) snowed in Saskatoon yesterday… well, just a little soft layer of snow, but this little bit gives puts the decorations and celebrations in the city into context and makes them sparkle -  and I love it! It also makes the -35 degree temperature a bit easier to handle...soon I’ll be able to go skating!

Sometimes when it snows, it feels like time just stops. And when time stops, I can take a step back from everything that is going on. It seems like a lot of people around me do the same… it’s probably also the holiday season that encourages me to look back, reflect and appreciate what has happened this year.  

And so in reflecting, I feel like I had a really wonderful one! The multiple collaborations enabled me to really grow as a person and as an artist. I learned about the importance of trusting new collaborators, I released a new album that I am very proud of and I also had the privilege of travelling to share this new music with so many people who took the time to listen -- in fact, the peak of the business during the fall had me visit 17 cities in 21 days (yikes!)! What a year indeed!

I feel so privileged to live all these wonderful experiences and to be an artist that makes a living from her music. I am so very thankful for the numerous collaborators, fans and friends that have both encouraged and helped me. Each year I love to take time to create little handmade presents for those who were there for me. This year, I will make them chocolates!

I am always especially thankful for my family. I can’t wait to spend some time with them at Christmas: chatting, watching movies, playing card games and eating! …and I have to say that the Normand family definitely eats well! Eating plays a very important role in our family tradition during holiday times. Whether it is tourtière (meat pie), perogies or my grandmother’s special “sucre a la cream” (sugar cream), we savour every bite!
 

It is a time that is truly nostalgic for me! And nostalgia feels good! :-) ...it is exactly what inspired the song Sing Me Home. That, and Joni Mitchell, a road trip to Alberta and a poem written by Victor Hugo. I wrote it after a peaceful walk in downtown Saskatoon in November, 2014 during which I took this photo:

How are you celebrating the holidays? What is it that brings warmth to your heart? What is it that inspires you?

 

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Buy Sing Me Home here: 

iTunes: http://smarturl.it/AN_iTunes 
Bandcamp: http://smarturl.it/AN_Bandcamp 
Spotify: http://smarturl.it/AN_Spotify