She's known as Canada's Cajun Queen, but there is more to the music of Crystal Plamondon than just the cajun stylings of Acadiania and zydeco. Musically speaking, Plamondon's music encompasses country, folk, the aforementioned zydeco, pop, and much more within the realm of
three languages: English, French, and Cree. Plamondon is originally from Plamondon, Alberta, Canada -- her grandfather founded the town -- but her success and appeal has taken her across the country as well as in France and even the United States.
I first spoke to Crystal last year when I wrote an article about the Franco-Albertan music scene for a local publication. I recently spoke to her again to ask her about her goals, her career, and most of all, her music.
Paula: How did you get into music, professionally?
Crystal: I had been singing publicly since I was 10 years old, and that was the only
dream I ever had of being and singing on stage professionally.
In 1991 I decided that I wanted to make a cassette of my original music to
sell off stage, cause every one had been asking me about buying my
cassettes. That's just before C.D.s were very hot, They were still very
expensive to produce then, and records were already gone out. I also had
hopes of getting airplay, I didn't know how, but I had hopes.
Paula: Who and what are your musical influences?
Crystal: Daniel Lanois, Zachary Richard, Dolly Parton, Sting, Emmylou Harris. I
love the bilingual aspect of the first two people I mentioned. I love
people who go places with their songs and music that no one has gone before.
I am influenced by old country, bluegrass, roots, music, native rythms, anything with violin, fiddle, or accordian in it, very rhythmical music, something with strong drums and bass guitar.
Paula: What inspires your songwriting?
Crystal: Life! Mine and other peoples experiences! Good or bad!
Paula: You write and perform in three languages -- English, French, and Cree --
how and why do you incorporate so many languages into your work?
What is your audience's reaction to it?
Paula: I perform and write in these three languages because I am officially
bilingual, (French & English) and I was raised with a lot of Cree people,
and my children are Métis. (French and Indian) I also think it's important
to sing in Canada's two official languages, and that the native people of
North America have a lot to contribute and should be sung and talked about.
My audiences love it; usually it's people who are very open to culture, or
those who just love a great time with very good music who come to my shows.
And those that don't like it either leave right away or it broadens their
Paula: What do you hope to achieve as a musical artist? What are your
Crystal: Maybe open peoples eyes and minds, and hearts. Maybe bring unity to Canada
and/or the world...who knows. All I know is that I don't want to just sing
love songs or drinking songs, I want to sing and write songs that matter to
people and that will make a difference in their attitudes and their lives.
Songs that will touch them forever and ever, Amen!
Paula: You have two releases so far -- describe each of them a little
bit, and how can someone purchase them?
Crystal: Carpe Diem is my first official C.D. in 1993; people started calling it
and me cajun/zydeco, but I was only doing music that I had grown up with and
that was in my heart. Two songs on it "On va faire le rigodon" and
"Capitaine" went # 1 in France without even trying. I was very excited
about that and about my first real big time project. I made two music
videos from that C.D. One in my home town of Plamondon, Alberta, Canada,
"La Cajine/Cajun Girl"; and the other in Louisiana, U.S.A."Rendezvous en
La Rousse Farouche, released in 1996, is my baby. I really focused on the
zydeco/cajun beats and I put my heart out on tape for everyone to hear. A lot
of stories about me and my life. It is really polished, vocally and
instrumentally. I also have a lot of neat musical guests on it. I am so
very proud of this one.
You can buy them each at $20.00 through:
Avenir Disc Inc.
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada TOL OWO
Paula: How would you describe your live show?
Crystal: A wonderful musical experience. I am a great entertainer; I love people, I
touch them, and I love to take them on a voyage if only for a little while.
It's not a performance that people usually forget!
Paula: Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to talk about?
Paula: Nothing big right now; I'm just at home working on my career from here and
taking care of business and my family. A lot of stuff was neglected for the
last 6 years because I travelled a lot and was very busy. So we are putting
together a game plan and a plan of action. Through that also I have public
appearences and some gigs and also reporting for the Country Music program
out of Montreal that I work for, and of course being a Mom and a wife.