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Krista Hartman. Photo: Kamara Morozuk.

Talking Albums: Krista Hartman

By John McDonald on July 1, 2020



Soon after graduating high school, singer-songwriter Krista Hartman spent a few years busking on the streets of Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Teaching English in South Korea followed before she returned to Canada for university. While studying English and Theatre, she still focused on music—writing, performing and recording.

This led to Krista releasing her first record, moving to New York and touring the United States. That travelling resulted in songs that were part of her second record, Nostalgia. Also part of that record was Rox Sexsmith (“I really love her voice”), who appears on the single “Broken in Two.”

Krista took time to raise her family before releasing Constellations, which focused on the power of optimism. When the lockdown order came, she was working on her fourth record, Transcend, which contemplates themes of existentialism and the supernatural world. “Having a balanced mind, body and spirit is the key to a fulfilling creative path.”

With her single “I’m Your Garden” newly released, Krista tells us about her pre-lockdown days, her new release, and what she’s been listening to during lockdown.

Krista Hartman:

Before the pandemic, in addition to taking care of my family, I was hitting the gym at least five days a week. I really love swimming: It clears my mind and is a very meditative practice. I miss the pool very much, but I’m still working out at home as much as possible and hitting the river trails.

I was also working as a supply teacher. I was a permanent teacher in Alberta for five years. This year, I was making a record, so I decided to supply-teach whenever possible to open up my schedule so I could record.

I was rehearsing and performing live, whenever possible, with my original project and in Les Petits Fours.

Les Petits Fours is a seven-piece French project that I moonlight in. We perform ’60s yé-yé music (a style of pop music that emerged from Southern Europe in the early 1960s). We rehearse once a week and play occasionally in and around Ottawa. I play bass, melodica, sing harmonies, and perform a few one-off songs from artists like Brigitte Bardot and France Gall. It’s a great band and I love everybody I perform with.

I also was recording, planning the artwork, and working on releasing my fourth record, Transcend. I’ve released the first single,“I’m Your Garden,” and have been able to film a music video to support it, thanks to the angels who use the Paypal Tip Jar during the series of Facebook Live Streams I’ve been performing. And then there’s the recent launch of a new website.

“I’m Your Garden” was first recorded a few years ago. I brought in my loop pedal and created a loop in the intro and played an electric instrumental solo. When I shared the song with Bernard Frazer, he suggested a few changes, so I decided to shorten the song and rework the vocals. I went back into the studio about six months ago with Jordon and remixed the song. It was just the two of us in the studio. I don’t have a regular band, but I have a duo partner, Davin Goudie, who I perform with whenever possible. If I need more players, I usually use my loop pedal and pre-program the percussion lines from my synth.

I’ve had amazing feedback from my audience to the release of “I’m Your Garden.” Ottawa Life Magazine gave the song an outstanding review. I am honestly very proud of that song and how it turned out.

I am looking forward to releasing Transcend slowly – one single at a time each month over the next 12 months, performing 12 live stream shows to support the songs online, and truly connecting with my audience. I want to give this record the time it deserves. I put my heart into the songs. Music is my vocation, so I’m happy to share these songs with the world and let others experience them.

Times are getting busy with the release. It’s going to keep me going for sure. And as far as the music I’ve been listening to, to be honest, I am more into singles, but I have listened to two complete albums while in quarantine.

I haven’t listened to Blind Melon’s Soup since my teenage years, but I was inspired to listen to it because I wanted to reconnect with the music that inspired me when I was a  young artist. There’s something about Shannon Hoon’s imperfectly perfect voice, the song lyrics and arrangements, the raw yet slick production that really creates a unique and rare experience for the listener.

I love Metric’s Art of Doubt. This anthemic record is full of drama. So many of the songs are up-tempo and uplifting and it’s perfect for a long bike ride. My top three are “Risk,” “Now or Never Now,” and “Dressed to Suppress.” I went to their show in Ottawa last year. It was epic. Metric is a solid rock band that has been at it for over two decades and they keep getting better with every record.

About Blind Melon – Soup

Soup was the band’s second studio album. It was ranked number 13 in Kerrang! magazine’s 1995 “Albums Of The Year” list. In 2014, Soup topped Alternative Nation’s “Top 10 Underrated 90’s Alternative Rock Albums” list. Tragically, singer Shannon Hoon died of an overdose two months after this album’s release.

About Metric – Art of Doubt

Pitchfork called Metric “as Canadian an institution as Tim Hortons” and described this album as “decidedly rock.” NME said the album is “a lesson on how to do it yourself, and do it well. Defiance never sounded so good.”

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