Christa Couture has toured, recorded, and made ends meet in music for 10 years. Her most recent album THE LIVING RECORD garnered “Best of 2012″ picks by CBC Music, The Georgia Straight, and Corby’s Orbit.
2014 saw the hugely successful crowdfunding “Kneeraiser” campaign and 2016 will see the release of her fourth full-length album LONG TIME LEAVING – her second collaboration with producer Steve Dawson.
She is the managing editor of RPM.fm “Indigenous Music Culture,” a cyborg, a knitter, a whiskey drinker, and then some. As a writer and storyteller, the National Post wrote of Couture’s essay “These Are My Children” as “the most powerful story” in the book “The M Word: Conversations on Motherhood” edited by Kerry Claire and published by Goose Lane (2014). Her essay “Wallflower, Late Bloomer” won third place in Room Magazine’s 2014 non-fiction writing contest and was the basis for her much-acclaimed live performance on CBC Radio’s DNTO of her story “Finding New Life with a New Leg” (2015).
From the start, Toronto-based halfbreed/Cree Christa Couture established herself as a singer-songwriter with sharp-shooting wit, effortless grace and heart-on-sleeve intensity.
This “criminally underrated songwriter” (Alex Varty, Georgia Straight), released her third album THE LIVING RECORD in September 2012.
The Steve Dawson-produced album made best-of-2012 lists at CBC Music, The Georgia Straight, and Toronto’s Radio Regent. It also scored a four-star review from the UK’s Maverick Magazine, which praised Christa’s “impressive” songwriting, her ability to mould her voice to suit a range of musical styles, and her skill at carrying listeners through a vast array of emotions. Lonesome Highway said “the CD ranks as my favourite listen of the year so far.”
THE LIVING RECORD is a one-of-a-kind album overflowing with a colossal range of tempos and textures, giving voice to the immense spectrum of emotions one experiences while soldiering on through grief.
Christa is an adolescent cancer survivor who wrote the album in the aftermath of unimaginable tragedy – in a span of four years her two young sons died under separate circumstances. She sings about fleeting moments of happiness, joyful recollections of past travels and romances, how to pick up the pieces after everything has fallen apart and of course, the “what ifs” – the memories she will never share with her sons, and the lasting impression left by those who are gone.
Her voice – sweet and slightly quirky, like those of Jane Siberry and Regina Spektor – weaves itself through sonic landscapes that vary from delicate acoustic folk to cabaret to edgy indie folk-pop.
Christa grew up in Edmonton with a mother who sang in a folk trio and a father who performed First Nations ceremonial music. She sang in choirs and performed in musical theatre, and then moved to Vancouver to study at Vancouver Film School. She worked in film and television for about a decade before returning to music and releasing FELL OUT OF OZ in 2005. The album earned four stars from both TV Week and The Edmonton Sun, who wrote, “her and her guitar makes an almost unholy sound.”
OZ’s follow-up, THE WEDDING SINGER AND THE UNDERTAKER, won a 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Folk Acoustic Album, and Couture was nominated for Best Female Artist. The album was Top 10 at CBC Radio 3 and went to #1 on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown. PopMatters praised her “Georgeously intimate voice – somewhere between the tough vulnerability of Amy Rigby and the passionate, sophisticated folk of Joni Mitchell.”
Of the album’s devastating inspiration, PopMatters wrote, “It’s truly remarkable that listening to THE WEDDING SINGER AND THE UNDERTAKER does not feel like the aural equivalent of ambulance chasing. This is down to Couture’s writerly, at times even playful, skill with words, as well as uplifting production.”
The same could just as easily be said about THE LIVING RECORD, for while its story is uncommonly sad, it is transformed by Couture’s equally uncommon talent.