Sunday April 24, 2016

Christa Couture's latest album explores 'ordinary heartache'

Christa Couture lost her leg to cancer as a teenager.

Christa Couture lost her leg to cancer as a teenager. (Jen Squires)

Listen 10:45

For Christa Couture, music has always been the space where she finds healing. The award-winning musician has had a long and complex relationship with grief.

Couture's first three albums reflected on her teenage battle with cancer, the loss of her left leg to that disease when she was just 13 and the deaths of both of her young children under separate circumstances.

"For me songs at their best, when they come, they feel like gifts. And it's my job to share those gifts," she said. "My songs are my teachers. So I learn from them, it's how I process the experiences."

Her latest album, Long Time Leaving, is no different. The album explores what she calls "the ordinary heartache" of a breakup as opposed to the deep grief that follows loss of a loved one, or a serious illness.

She said that while and breakup is sad, it's not extraordinary because everyone goes through that kind of a loss.

Christa Couture

Christa Couture

"It was not devastating. No one died. There was no catastrophe … It's not the worst heartache that I've had," she said.

Dark days

"The kind of writing that I do, and the work that I make is very autobiographical. It's hopefully conversational and so I can't help but draw on my experiences."

Couture said she has a lot of songs that are dark and messy but she never records those ones. The ones she does record, she hopes people can connect with.

"I share these stories in this way because I want to feel less lonely and I want to connect. And I think grief, in particular, is a very lonely emotion and experience."

Couture credits music with saving her life after she lost two sons as infants under separate circumstances.

Music is her medicine

"I felt like I lost everything and, I had in a way. And having music gave me something to hold onto. It gave me something to pour my energy into … and I used it to keep me going. And it was, for a while, the only thing that kept me going."

Christa Couture

Christa Couture's new album is called Long Time Leaving. (Jen Squires)

But now she has other things in her life that keep her going. To see Couture is to see a happy, healthy person who embraces life. Time has been her saviour, and the passing of it is what has brought her through that grief.

"We feel so many emotions in one day and I just try to be present in each one, and know that each one is temporary."