The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

After a traumatic brain injury, Juno Award-winning musician Kiesza is on the mend with the help of this book

The singer and multi-instrumentalist shares why she loved reading The Genie in Your Genes by Dawson Church. 
Kiesa Rae Ellestad, known professionally as Kiesza, is a Calgary-born singer and multi-instrumentalist. (Rasmus Luckman/Energy Psychology Press)

This interview originally aired on Sept. 14, 2019.

Calgary-born Kiesa Rae Ellestad, known professionally as Kiesza, is a singer and multi-instrumentalist known best for the 2014 hit song Hideaway.

A few years ago, the three-time Juno Award winner suffered a traumatic brain injury after being involved in a car accident and was forced to take a break from her music career to recover. She's back, with a new song, Sweet Love, and a new album titled Crave slated for an August 2020 release.

One of her favourite books is The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention by Dawson Church. 

"A book that I love, one that helped me heal is called The Genie in Your Genes by Dawson Church.

"I've been through a car crash that completely derailed not just my career, but my whole life — even my sense of self for a while — and my ability to function as a normal human being.

"A lot of stuff has come back since then, but the one thing that hasn't fully recovered was my ability to read a book. One of the loves of my life — reading — has become a task. I can do it, but it's not without pain. But I have definitely reflected on a lot of books while not being able to read.

"This book helped me while I was going through recovery. It's about the healing process, how people have used different techniques to heal their body through their mind. I've become passionate about different healing processes. You go to the hospital and they just give you drugs or medication that are Band-Aids. But that's not helping anything, it's hurting your liver or destroying your organs. I don't want to kill my body in the process of trying to heal my brain — because I need my body to heal my brain. So what do I do?

"I had to reflect all the books I had read before. This one came to mind a lot."

Kiesza's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

Watch the video for the Kiesza song Sweet Love

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.