My second guest is award-winning artist, writer, filmmaker and broadcaster, who is proudly Indigenous, queer, and disabled.
Over the course of her acclaimed career, Christa has become known, unenviably, as an expert in loss: singing, speaking and writing about the childhood cancer that led to the amputation of her left leg, abortion, and the tragic deaths of her two infant sons. When it came time to make her fourth album, 2016’s eclectic, upbeat and twangy Long Time Leaving, a more run-of-the-mill loss, divorce, provided inspiration.
Those years of loss are revisited in her debut non-fiction book How To Lose Everything, published September 2020 by Douglas & McIntyre. But Christa’s most recent recording Safe Harbour tells a different story. Safe Harbour’s six songs were written during a thankfully tragedy-free, joyful time in Christa’s life that saw her leave Vancouver, her home of 17 years, and relocate to Toronto to start anew. During this time, Christa took a step back from recording and performing music to write her memoir, take on a daytime radio host job, and welcome a third child.
Her short, animated film How to Lose Everything: A Field Guide, based on an excerpt from her book and co-directed with bekky O’Neil won Best Animated Short at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco and the Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival in Brooklyn. The film will be the first in a series of five animated shorts for CBC Arts.
She was the midday host on Toronto’s 106.5 ELMNT FM for three years and has been heard as a frequent contributor to CBC Radio on Now or Never and The Next Chapter.As an arts administrator and advocate (and lover of tidy paperwork) she was the project manager of the Indigenous music platform RPM.fm and the general manager of Native Women in the Arts.
Prairie-raised, Christa spent 17 years in Vancouver and now calls Toronto home.