Community·Local Music Project

3 Saskatchewan women reflect on their journeys as musicians in the province

Anna Marie, Kristina Gasparic-Block and Rhonda Gallant-Morari reflect on their experiences as female musicians in Saskatchewan.

Artists talk about upsides and things they would like to see improved.

Anna Marie, left, Kristina Gasparic-Block, centre, and Rhonda Gallant-Morari have had different experiences making music here in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Anna Marie/Submitted by Kriss The Sky/Submitted by Rhonda Gallant-Morari )

In celebration of International Women's Day, CBC Saskatchewan spoke with three female musicians in the province about their experiences as artists.

Although the three women have distinct styles and have been doing music for varying periods of time, their journeys as musicians paint a picture of how far female musicians have come in the province and how far still they have to go.

One of the goals of the project is to is to equip the local artists who get airplay on our programming with the tools needed to help spread the word to their fans. (CBC)

Listen to our Local Music Project Spotify playlist here.

Anna Marie views her identity as a woman as a source of inspiration for her art. (Submitted by Anna Marie)

Anna Marie

Anna Marie is one of the province's newest voices. She makes alternative pop music with country and folk influences. Although she has only been officially releasing music for two years, Anna Marie has found the female music scene in Saskatchewan to be inspiring.

"Women in music over the past few years are starting to speak out and get our voices heard," she said. "We are also beginning to become more represented in the music industry."

Anna Marie said that her identity as a woman is a major source of inspiration for her.

"I find that as female artists, as a collective, I have very unique experiences," she said. "I have always been about writing and sharing my own experiences."

Anna Marie has also benefited from opportunities such as performing at SaskMusic International Women's Day 2020 in Lemberg, Sask., and getting airplay on local radio show Principal Prairie on 91.3 CJTR FM. 

She is currently working on recording and producing her debut E.P., slated for release later in 2022.

Kristina Gasparic-Block has a number of live performances lined up for both of her musical projects. (Submitted by Kriss The Sky)

Kriss The Sky 

Kristina Gasparic-Block is a veteran local rocker who just formed her band, Kriss the Sky, a true gem in Saskatchewan's music scene.

Gasparic-Block said she has definitely seen the landscape evolve and accept her as the years have rolled by.

"It's a very male-dominated genre but in the last five years, women have become more recognized as rock artists," she said. "I'm finding that there's more doors opening and I seem to be getting more noticed and accepted as part of that whole stream of rock music."

Gasparic-Block said she has used the relative lack of female rock artists in the province to her advantage, as it has allowed her to stand out.

While she is getting more attention, she also noted that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to other areas.

"When I am trying to book a show, I have to let them know that I can stand up to the male-dominated rock world just as good as anybody else," she said. "The main challenge has been booking shows and having people trust that this woman can deliver."

Gasparic-Block hopes to release a new original hard rock song by the end of spring and is looking forward to performing in the coming months.

Kriss The Sky has upcoming shows at The Turvey Centre Lounge, Revival Music Room and at the Regina Beach Summer Fling. Her other project, Alley Cats Kris & Stu Duo, will be performing at Friday Night Live.

Rhonda Gallant-Morari

Rhonda Gallant-Morari is an adult contemporary singer-songwriter who has dabbled in genres including gospel, folk, jazz and easy listening. She put her music on hold for a while but got back into it in 2010 as her four kids got older.

Gallant-Morari has had an interesting time finding her footing in the province as a female musician. Much like Kriss the Sky, she has found booking venues for performances to be tough.

"My music is not always suited for a bar scene, so to find somewhere to play has been challenging," Gallant-Morari said. "What I and some other female artists do is become our own promoter and rent a venue to put on a show."

Gallant-Morari said that finding other female musicians like herself has made the journey as a musician in the province less burdensome.

"I've found a few communities of other women who are in my demographic or who are performing the same type of music as me," she said. "I find that you can gather around a community of women to help, because sometimes when you're out there you're not taken very seriously and that can erode your confidence." 

These communities have been essential to Gallant-Morari as she navigates other challenges like ageism in the media and being dismissed by men.

"There was a time I went into a music store and I was waiting to be attended to because I did not know where to find what I was looking for. While I am standing there, men walk into the store and right away they were attended to," she said. "At that point I felt like 'really, you don't want my business?' Or I'd walk into another music store and they'd ask 'who are you buying for?'"

Gallant-Morari hopes to one day not have to experience these types of scenarios.

She is preparing for a concert called Third Time's A Charm on April 2 in Saskatoon. She will be donating all the profits from the show to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.

Her new single Leave will be out on streaming platforms on March 10.

To submit your music to the Local Music Project, visit www.cbc.ca/submitlocalmusic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adeoluwa Atayero is a communications officer for CBC News based in Saskatchewan. Before moving to Canada, Atayero worked as a reporter, content manager and communications consultant in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a masters in journalism from the University of Regina. @theadeatayero

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