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CRYSTAL SHAWANDA

Juno Award winner, Crystal Shawanda grew up on the Wikwemikong reserve on Manitoulin Island. She spent her youth in Sault Ste. Marie where she attended Korah Collegiate high school. 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. Many of Shawanda's songs have been inspired by her connections to Wiikwemkoong and part of her 2016 album was recorded at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning, Manitoulin Island.

Crystal started performing country music when she was six and started getting paid gigs when she was 10, relentlessly playing every stage she could. Crystal’s dad was a truck driver and they started taking frequent trips to Nashville when she was 12. She recorded her first album when she was 13.

Crystal eventually moved to Nashville fulltime and began paying her dues by playing at Tootsies Orchid Lounge six days a week, three shifts a day. She managed to build up a buzz and land a production deal with Scott Hendricks. In 2007, she was signed to a record deal with RCA Records.

Shawanda's first album, Dawn of a New Day, was released in Canada on June 24, 2008, and in the United States on August 19. The album entered the Canadian Country Albums chart at number 2, and the Billboard Top Country Albums chart at number 16. It became the highest charted album by a full-blooded Canadian First Nations country artist in the SoundScan era.

She released her first single, “You Can Let Go” in 2008 and it was the fastest climbing single on the Canadian Country Singles chart since 2000, reaching the Top 10 in five weeks and peaked at 21 on the Hot Country Song charts in the USA.

Shawanda toured with various artists across Canada and the northern United States in 2008. In 2009, she toured Canada and the United States with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley as a special guest on the Paisley Party 2009 tour. In 2010, Shawanda released a single, "Beautiful Day", via her own label, New Sun Records. Shawanda also performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2010, performing "Let's Come Together" and "This Is My Land". She then released another single, "Love Enough", on August 15, 2011 in both Canada and the United States. Shawanda's second studio album, Just Like You, was released by New Sun on April 24, 2012.

 CMT documented her rise to fame in the six-part television series Crystal: Living the Dream, which was broadcast in February 2008.

In 2008, Crystal was named the Canadian Country Music Association’s Female Artist of the Year and Best New Country Artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards. That year she was also named Best New Artist of the Year at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.  Her album “Dawn of a New Day” won Best Country Album (APCA) and Best Album (CAMA) and her song “You Can Let Go” won Best Single of the Year for both organizations. She also won Best Music Video for “You Can Let Go” (CAMA). In 2013, Crystal won the Aboriginal Album of the Year at the Juno Awards and has been nominated many times during her career.

Crystal Shawanda is reminiscent of a time gone by. She will make you feel every word with a powerful voice that never fails, pure and gritty at the same time.  

Crystal will be joined on stage by her husband Dewayne Strobel, providing all of the musical accompaniment on his electric guitar.