In Room magazine 36.1, I was interview for the “BackRoom” section, but they didn’t have room to print the full piece. It’s now available online.

Christa Couture: Creating Beauty from Grief (full interview)

Christa Couture survived adolescent cancer and the loss of two sons in infancy. Her indie-folk music faces grief with vulnerability, beauty, and wit. She won a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for her album The Wedding Singer and the UndertakerThe Living Record is her latest release.

Are there writers or musicians whose work helped you overcome grief and loss? Joan Didion’s book “The Year of Magical Thinking” felt like the first kindred spirit I’d found after my first son died. Since my second son died it’s become harder to find work that I can continue to relate too—but maybe by making my own I’ll find others.

You create such beauty, sonically and lyrically, from grief. Do you ever feel conflicted about this? Yes, it can be hard to reconcile. After the most recent tragedy in my family I wondered if I could ever return to making music at all—as important as writing and creating is to me, as much as I enjoy it, three years ago I was on a very different path, and it’s one that I desperately ache for now that it’s gone. Making these little beautiful works felt like a distant second to what I wanted, but at the same time, I’m so grateful to these little beautiful works for being there in the distance regardless, for giving me something to pour my energy into, even if it isn’t what I had planned.

Is performing your music difficult? I don’t find it difficult, though it can be emotional. At its best it’s cathartic and freeing to release some of these stories every night by telling them over and over. It helps me continue to process and learn about the experiences I’ve written about. Sometimes the emotions are too close to the surface, or the audience isn’t totally on track with me, and then I feel too vulnerable, but I can play different songs when I need to, depending on how I’m feeling. Mostly I like to pour my heart out though and I’ve already drawn lines on what I’m willing to reveal and not when I chose which songs to record for the album.

What is is like to have three “permanent records” filled with the people in your life who shaped you, especially those you have lost? It is meaningful to me that the songs make their way into the world—I feel sometimes by sharing them, I’m really just asking a big “know what I mean?”, looking for that conversation that can happen through sharing music and hopefully the reply “yes” so that we can all feel a little less lonely. Like anyone, I am comforted by finding common ground with others—grief in particular can be a kind of exile, so when a person lets me know that they connect with my work, it helps break down those feelings of isolation, for both of us.

I admire your ability to be vulnerable when you tell your story through music and interviews. Is there anyone you admire for this? Any writing or music that inspires bravery in you? …

Read the rest at:

The lovely sibling duo of Sister Says has recently started rocking the podcast world, in edition to making fantastic music. Rob and Gillian are lovely, smart and talented and I was delighted to be interviewed for the latest episode of their podcast Meet the Collective.

It’s an hour of us talking about my circuitous path through music, working on the new album The Living Record, and how I was a clueless folk music nerd in high school.

AND it includes three tracks off the new album! This may well be their debut into the world! So tune in to hear those here first as well.

Download the episode or stream it here:

…and probably not the last?

For the Songs and Sonics blog, Jeff Boller created J-Bot who randomly generates five interview questions. From what I understand, it’s given some basic information – like that I’m singer-songwriter, not a guitar-slinger – to narrow down the questions it draws from. I confess, I kept hitting resubmit once I read that if you don’t like the questions you can get J-Bot to ask you a different five, but not because I didn’t like them, but because I was curious! Eventually I ended my curiosity and replied. It was fun. Thanks Jeff and J-bot!

Interview: Christa Couture

Folk songwriter • guitarist • vocalist • keyboardist

What’s your writing process like?

It’s like that part in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” about how to fly: “There is… a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Which is to say, at its best, it catches me off guard; it picks me up and swings me around; it just comes. Or not. I try not to overthink it – for me, thinking is the end of writing. I’m a bit artsy fartsy about it in that respect – I just start to sing when I’m moved to do so, and the muse doesn’t always have the greatest timing, but I do my best to accept her when she arrives. I can also sit down, be deliberate and say “I’m going to write a song about this now” as I have the tools to do so – but I’m never connected to those works in the same way as I am to the ones that reveal themselves to me on their terms. And for me, the connection is what makes it worthwhile.

What’s something you refuse to write about?

That seems like a trick question! Wouldn’t telling you be the end of my refusal? That said, there are things I keep private…