Kristine St-Pierre is a talented singer-songwriter from Ottawa, Canada and is our most recent Sonicbids feature interview competition winner. Checking out Kristine’s array of music we were really impressed and despite Kristine being extremely busy at the moment organizing a cross Canada music tour, she agreed to complete an interview with Song Revelation. Read the full in depth interview below where Kristine discusses her musical background, her current career highlights and what she does to relax when not working.
Q: Who are you called?
I’m Kristine St-Pierre or KSP for short, though there’s no relation to George St-Pierre!
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Folky songstress with soul-searching ballads and a rollicking bluesy charm.
Q: What is your musical background?
Well, music has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From piano lessons to musicals to guitar to voice lessons and singing recitals, music has always been there. But even though I was singing all the time, it had never dawned on me that I could become a singer or singer-songwriter. I can’t remember exactly what sparked the transition, but I remember when I was 19 or 20 just picking up this old guitar we had at home and playing the few chords I remembered from my eight-grade guitar class. And it just went on from there. Jewel had a major influence on me, as did many others at that time including Shakira as well as several francophone artists. So I took guitar lessons, even learned flamenco guitar while on exchange in Spain, and just kept learning songs and writing here and there. It wasn’t until 2006, however, that I started to write more regularly and thought about doing open mics. I got my first real show in 2007 at one of Ottawa’s coveted bars and just kept going from there.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
The last 12 months have been great! I seriously couldn’t have asked for more! It started out with a number of shows in Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto, opening for other artists and playing as part of various benefit concerts (War Child, International Women’s Day, Canadian Cancer Society). I was also selected to play as part of JUNO Fest, which is a festival organized around Canada’s Juno Awards. I went into the studio over the summer and worked on my first full-length album. I also played numerous shows in and around Ottawa and played several festivals with the band I am part of – Old Whiskey Road.
Finally, I released my CD, Call Me Crazy, in November 2012. The release was a huge success (full house). I also got a lot of coverage both prior and after the release with appearances on English and French television and radio shows. I was also interviewed by Ottawa’s main newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, and made the front page of the Arts section.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Oh there are so many….Jewel of course But I’m also a huge fan of Miranda Lambert, M. Ward, She & Him, Ray Lamontagne, Mumford & Sons, Joe Purdy, Serena Ryder, Norah Jones, Katie Melua, The Audreys…
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Ha…Jewel?! I would love love love to collaborate with Mumford & Sons. I would love to write songs as catchy and melodic and just all around beautiful. Oh and Eddie Vedder A girl can dream!
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to Ray Lamontagne, Dixie Chicks and Joe Purdy.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
It depends, but usually I’ll sit down with my guitar or at the piano and I’ll come up with a melody. Then I’ll try to come up with lyrics. I’ve been trying to mix it up – start with words or a beat – which has been helping.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
I think the melody is often the first thing that registers with people, and then they get into the lyrics. If that’s the case, then a melody must be memorable for people to actually listen to the lyrics. I don’t think this is always the case and I think a few of my songs may not grab your attention melodically at first, but the lyrics might and then the melody grows on you Either way, I think any artist should strive to have memorable melodies and lyrics.
Q: Where are you based?
I currently live in Ottawa, Canada.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Ha…cool question. I like it! Ottawa is not a big town, about 1.3 million people I’d say. In terms of a town, I often compare it to Washington, D.C. though on a MUCH SMALLER scale It’s a government and university town, it’s very green with lots of space for outdoor activities, it has different trendy neighborhoods, etc. In terms of music, despite its size, it has a bustling music scene. You can find open mics and live music pretty much every day of the week from folk to country to rock. It’s certainly not as big as Toronto or Montreal, but for a small city, the music’s great.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am currently applying to festivals for the summer and booking a cross-Canadian tour that I’d like to do in August. I’m also working on some new material.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I’d say there are a few highlights:
- My latest CD – Call Me Crazy. Even though I know there’s always space for improvement, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. I’m also really looking forward to pushing myself even more and seeing how far I can go!
- My solo tours – I’ve only done two tours, so it’s not much, but it’s not easy doing it all on your own. I’ve learned a lot from them and have grown a lot because of them. Can’t wait for the next one!
- Playing on different continents – I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to travel to many different places in the last few years and have had the pleasure of playing for many different audiences – in Nairobi, Nigeria, Congo, Switzerland, Peru, Argentina…
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
So many things…. Let’s see…I’m hoping to get a spot at one of Ottawa’s major festivals…and maybe at other festivals in Ontario or in other provinces. I’m also hoping to do my cross-Canada tour, write more upbeat songs….and play more shows.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I make a fire and sit on the couch with my guitar and just play/sing. I love those moments when the house is quiet – I could sit there and sing for hours
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Well, I must say that I really enjoyed last year’s trip to Cuba….and my camping trip to Lake Superior. So, I’d definitely do those again. But my dream travel adventure (not so much holiday per se) would be to go to different countries and communities in Africa and learn about their musical traditions and culture, their instruments and have a jam session!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Just go for it. Surround yourself with people that will push you, but always in a positive way. And try not to compare yourself to others too much. You should definitely learn from others; however, know yourself, your strengths and your limits. You shouldn’t put yourself down if you’re not as good as one person or at a certain level as another just now. You will get there, just carve your own path and follow it
Editor’s Note: Kristine St-Pierre partners heart-felt lyrics with a sympathetic appreciation of musical craft to create appealing pop songs with a definite commercial edge.
If you’d to check out more of Kristine St-Pierre’s impressive music portfolio or get in touch just follow the links below: