Crystal Shawanda Says There's 'Something For Everyone' On Her New Album

Fish Out Of Water is a fitting title for Crystal Shawanda’s new album (out Oct. 21).

The Canadian singer says she doesn’t feel like she belongs in any single musical genre — she’s been told that she’s too bluesy to be a country artist and too country to be a blues artist.

“It’s been a really big challenge for me,” Shawanda told, on the phone from her home in Nashville. “That’s the thing that has slowed me down the most.

“I’ve always had a hard time finding a place where I fit in.”

With four previous albums to her credit, a tour with Brad Paisley, and nearly a dozen awards — including a Juno and a CCMA Award — Shawanda has stopped worrying about how she’s labelled.

“I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery, of trying to figure that out, and now I’m embracing the fact that I’m all of those things. I’m country, blues, and all soul.

“I just want to record music that I love to sing, that I personally connect with, and that I other think other people can relate to.”

Shawanda described Fish Out Of Water as “a little bit of everything and something for everyone.”

She explained: “This album will make you laugh, cry, sing, and dance. You’ll want to turn it up. You’ll want to listen to it again and again. Your favourite song will change daily.”

Growing up on a First Nations reserve on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Shawanda was inspired by great country artists like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. Then, she discovered Tina Turner and Etta James.

“It totally blew me away and led me in a whole new direction,” she recalled. “I love women with power and women who are gutsy and unique.”

She includes homegrown artists k.d. lang, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette on a list of her “teachers.”

Shawanda moved to Nashville 13 years ago but still considers the Wikwemikong reserve her home.

“Thankfully my career has afforded me the luxury of going home to Canada as much as I want to,” she said. “I’ve been going home a lot more as my parents are getting older and all my nieces and nephews are growing up so fast. I’m trying to treasure moments with my family.

“I’m going home to the reserve a lot, going for walks on the country roads, sitting with family and reminiscing and visiting. I’m in two completely different worlds and I get to relish them both.”

Family is top of mind right now because Shawanda is pregnant with her first child. (She was a mom to her husband’s two children, who moved out last spring.)

“We’ve had an empty house and it’s time to fill it up again,” she said.