Passion Started At Age 3

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Canadian singer/songwriter Crystal Shawanda was only three years old when her passion for singing was nurtured. 

While growing up in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, she also learned to play the guitar.  

Country music helped start her career but later on when her brother introduced her to the blues it became her music of choice.

The Juno Award winning musician now resides in Nashville and has recently launched her third blues album, Voodoo Woman.  

In an email interview from her Nashville home Shawanda talks about her career and how she maintains a healthy lifestyle.

“My passion started young,” she began.  “I was three when I began to sing, stepped on stage when I was six, and was getting paid to sing when I was 10 and never looked back! It’s all I’ve ever done; there’s never been a plan ‘B’. When I was six at my first performance I remember people laughing at a funny part of the song and I could feel their energy, their happiness. I’ve been living for that feeling ever since.” 

She continued, “My music never holds (anything) back, it’s honest and raw, sincere and strong, passionate and emotional, fun and sassy. It’s a roller coaster ride; you will sing, laugh, cuss, cry and dance. Then you’ll want to do it all over again.”

On the road and while on tour, Shawanda is transparent when it comes to trying to maintain her fitness regime. 

She says, “It’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle but I try my best. I fit in workouts in the hotel gym, hikes and walks at local parks and trails; I try to eat salads, but honestly sometimes touring through Northern Canada your only choices are Pizza Hut or A&W. Haha!”  

Shawanda knows the value of proper rest, saying, “Also sometimes for me getting a little extra sleep is more important than a run – my voice performs better on a good night’s sleep. Balance is (the) key.  And no late night parties; the quality of my voice is more important to me these days.”

She continues:  “My path has been filled with ups and downs, hope and rejection, victories and lessons learned but I just keep following my heart, refusing to let the business change me, and most importantly I keep going because as long as I’m playing music, I’m living the dream.  So that’s my best tip: The only one who can stop you is you.”

What Shawanda loves most about performing is connecting with people. 

She is excited about her latest album.  

“VooDoo Woman was my confirmation to doubters that I’m a blues singer. Half of the songs were covers by some legends that led me to the blues. The other half were songs I had mostly (written), showing how my influences rubbed off on me. The reception after True North Records got it out there was overwhelming. It stayed on the blues charts for 76 weeks and has me excited for what’s next,” she says.

Shawanda is dedicated to pursuing her music career while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  And the beat goes on.

Christine Blanchette is the host and producer of Run With It. A monthly running, fitness and health program on the Run With It YouTube channel.