A JUNO Award-winning singer, songwriter whose soulful, rootsy sound has allowed for a nearly seamless bridging of the traditional country and blues worlds, Crystal Shawanda’s unique aboriginal cultural background has left her feeling like an outsider at times. But that search may be at an end, as the process of creating her latest album, the cathartic, bold and refreshingly authentic Fish Out of Water sees the talented Shawanda not just coming to terms with her unique place in the industry, but embracing and truly celebrating it. Fish Out of Water stands as an example of an artist who has truly found her voice, and it is a voice that is rich, powerful, charming and intimately real.
Shawanda grew up on the Wikwemikong reserve on an island in Ontario, Canada, Her parents raised her on country music and taught her to sing and play guitar, but it was her oldest brother who introduced her to the blues. He would hang out in the basement cranking Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Etta James, and Shawanda would sit at the top of the stairs, straining to hear those soulful sounds. There was a part of her that often wandered if she would ever be able to sing like that. And when no one was home, she would practice singing the blues.