Christmas spirit inspires Chantal Kreviazuk

New album features mix of original tunes and covers of seasonal favourites

Chantal Kreviazuk: Christmas is a Way of Life, My Dear, Centennial Theatre, Thursday, Dec. 5,  7:30 p.m.

Chantal Kreviazuk had a vision of Christmas cheer which turned into a holiday miracle.

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Much like the children nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads, or Ebenezer Scrooge’s visit by a series of visions of past and future transgressions one Christmas Eve, the singer-songwriter experienced her own strange daydream not long ago which would end up changing her future. 

“I was going to write a beautiful banger, an awesome pop song, while riding bikes with my father. It was very specific and I totally dismissed it,” the platinum-selling, Juno Award-winning musician explains. Or at least, she dismissed it at first.

Some time passed. Kreviazuk dropped her young kids off at a sleepaway camp. Feeling saddened at the prospect of being without her children for the next few weeks, she decided to call her dad. Suddenly, her strange vision from months ago became a reality: in an effort to comfort her, Kreviazuk’s dad instructed her to hop on a plane and visit him. They’d ride bikes in the countryside, he said.

‘I was like, ‘Oh my God, here it comes,’” says Kreviazuk. “I don’t even think I got to decide, I think the universe decided for me. … My dad and I hopped on bikes and we went riding in the country, as we do, and this beautiful song called ‘Christmas Is A Way Of Life, My Dear’ just came out while I was riding the bike with him.”

That sudden burst of holiday inspiration left such a mark on her that she decided almost immediately that she was going to make her first Christmas album.

The 10-track album, which borrows the same name of the song that Kreviazuk envisioned while biking with her dad, came out this month. Composed of a handful of original tunes as well as jubilant covers of Christmas classics, Kreviazuk says the album offers an important theme in addition to its uplifting musical spirit.

“There’s a theme of ‘peace begins at home’ and that we’ve got to be more true and consistent and take a page from Christmas and be that,” she says. “At Christmas we have some fun, we’re charitable, we forgive more, we laugh a little more, let go of stuff – imagine if we had those traits going on throughout the year.”

The Winnipeg-born artist came to fame in the mid-1990s, when international audiences first heard her rendition of “Leaving On a Jet Plane” on the Armageddon soundtrack and her first two solo albums went double-platinum in Canada.

Following the release of Plain Jane in 2009, Kreviazuk took a break from her own solo work to focus more on parenting, alongside Our Lady Peace frontman and husband Raine Maida, as well as collaborating with other artists such as Drake, Carrie Underwood and Kendrick Lamar.

Raising her kids has left an undeniable mark on Kreviazuk, who says the importance of home life is sprinkled throughout Christmas Is A Way Of Life, My Dear. The family friendly affair features a duet with her husband on “Blue Christmas,” and her 11-year-old son Sal Maida sings on “Wonderful Christmas Time” as well as “The Christmas Train,” an original holiday tune written just for him by his mom.

“[Christmas is] there, you can’t avoid it, and I think for a lot of us it changes its face as we grow. It’s certainly done that for me,” says Kreviazuk. “It’s a really precious part of who we are now as a family unit.”

As Kreviazuk takes her new album on a Christmastime tour across Canada, she’s thrilled to play a role in getting people amped up for the holidays.

“It really puts you in the Christmas spirit. I think the arrangements of the songs come to life live really nicely.”

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