Music sensation Crystal Shawanda chats with flare.com about her rise to stardom

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Music sensation Crystal Shawanda chats with flare.com about her rise to stardom


Recently signed to RCA Nashville, Crystal Shawanda wrote her first song at 9. Music was always her hope. It saved her, and became the doorway for her to find freedom from the hopelessness she felt on the reservation. She grew up in Manitoulin Island in Ontario, but started spending bits of time in Nashville, where her father, a truck-driver, would take her along on his Michigan-to-Nashville treks. After a few years of standing longingly outside of Nashville’s famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Crystal had written enough songs, and finally (at 13) got the nerve to walk into Tootsie’s. The rest, you could say, is history.

Describe your life growing up on a reservation. What was the best and worst part?
The best part was the strong sense of unity. The worst was maybe feeling so far away from the rest of the world, which any person from a small town could relate to. Either way, growing up on a reserve was always a blessing.

Did you sing-along with your dad on your drives from Michigan to Nashville?
Yeah, singing along with the radio over the miles we’d travel was always a big part of what made me love the road.

How much did music play a part in your childhood?
It really was a way of life for me—it was how I connected to the world and came to understand it.

Did your dad believe in you and push you to sing?
My parents never pushed me; in fact they always told me if you want this, you’ll have to go and get it for yourself. Through it all though, they always believed in me.

Who inspired you or pushed you along when you didn’t believe you could do this?
My faith in the creator, God, up above. Just trusting the path laid out before me, with a supportive family and my husband and best friend Dewayne.

What’s your good luck charm on the road?
My guitar player and husband Dewayne, and my dog FiFi.


Crystal Shawanda

Do you say a prayer before you hit the stage?
Yes I pray that I stay true and pure to the music and the people.

What do you like to do or how do you like to indulge after a long concert?
After a show I love to lounge out and hang with my band, I love to laugh. It sort of completes my release for the day.

Do you have any special requests when you’re on tour?
If I can just have my dog FiFi with me, she turns any place into home.

Name your top 5 CD’s of all time.
1) Any Hank Williams Album
2) Loretta Lynn, Blue Eyed Kentucky Girl
3) Patty Loveless, How I Feel
4) Dwight Yoakam, Guitars and Cadillacs
5) Pam Tillis, Sweetheart’s Dance

What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
My perfect day is to spend the whole day with my husband, my family, and my dog. Doing nothing but being together, laughing.

What’s the best part of being a singer?
The beautiful fans, all the new friends I make that share their stories with me of how my music touched their hearts—truly a blessing.

If you could record with any musician, who would it be?
Dwight Yoakam

Are you writing any songs right now? What are they about?
I’m concentrating on two right now, and they’re about real life and what we can all relate to: love.

What makes you smile?
Singing, my loving supportive husband and family.

What makes you cry?
Heartbreak, the thought of someone, anyone’s heart hurting.

Are you strictly country, or would you branch out into any other genre’s?
I’m a country music singer, proudly, I do let other music inspire me, but I’m just finally getting known in the country music scene. So I’m thankful and haven’t even begun to think that far ahead.

Check out Crystal’s debut album Dawn Of A New Day on sale June 24.

See Crystal on myspace and facebook.

“Someone once told me I sing like I was born with a broken heart. My music is what saved me. It is my lifeline. And I want to share it with anyone who is without hope and dreams.”
Crystal Shawanda

Zdenka Turecek