Banff Centre for the Arts

ENTR'ARTS: Artist Residency in Banff

I’ve been meaning to share my reflections from the artist residency that I did in Banff in late August for a month now... Lately, I feel buried under a pile of administrative work for my English album launch. I’ve finally come up for air air ... yes! Breathing a bit feels good!

I spent a week in Banff to attend Entr'Arts - an artist residency organized by the Franco-Albertans Artists Coalition. The idea is to bring together western Francophone artists (and four from New Brunswick). This year, there were twenty of us: 12 visual artists, 5 musicians, and 3 writers.

This was the fourth time I’ve participated in this residency. I always arrive with a specific goal in order to make the most of my time. Those who know me well know that I literally organize all my time! During the last edition two years ago, I was particularly productive: in addition to enjoying yoga classes offered by the sports center, swimming laps in the pool and taking long walks in the woods, I had time to write three new songs and compose music for someone else’s lyrics.

This year, I arrived with two objectives: to plan out my new show and write a new tune. But I felt torn, unable to maintain focus, to abandon my expectations. No yoga, no pool, no walk in the woods ... my head and my mind were like the mountains smothered by the smoke of forest fires in the northern United States. Total fog.

I was working on different things with different people: my new songs with Marc Pérusse; performance/staging with Ghyslain Filion; branding with Gabrielle Bouchard ... I spent three days working on business without feeling like I’d made any progress at all! It's funny how I was afraid of disappointing myself - afraid of failing to do everything! I put even more pressure on myself and I hit a wall.

I decided to change my mindset by taking a trip to visit the visual arts studios, and Sabine Lecorre-Moore invited me to paint something ... it did me good! Almost as much as the bottle of red wine that I had bought myself (I chose the brand "Screw It" ... to reinforce the fact that I had to abandon my expectations).

Day 4: the last day of work. I woke up with a little headache and a bit of "I don’t care-ism“ - a kind of "f*ck it" tattooed on my forehead. I decided to abandon my expectations and go with the flow ... and the fog disappeared.

This year Entr'Arts reminded me of the importance of forcing things less. No! The importance of NOT forcing things. Sometimes the pieces are all there, you just have to drop them into place.

I recognize the value of time that I spent with Marc Pérusse (my album producer!) - we were able to discuss the vision of the album, choose the songs, and rework others. We had the opportunity to learn more, work more together - this stuff is priceless!

Ghyslain Filion helped me understand a SUPER important thing: I already have all the tools I need to let myself go on stage. I just have to let myself use them! When force it less, I’m less afraid, I have access to myself - to the core of what I want to express as an artist. My delivery is therefore more authentic. I have the tools that will allow me to share the dimensions of my personality that I never dared to explore.