Evaan Kheraj Image by: Evaan Kheraj
What made you decide to stay here?
“I’ve always felt most at home in Canada, so it never occurred to me to live anywhere else. I never thought, This is where I’ll get my new passport. I always knew I’d want to live and raise my family in Canada.”
Your home is quite tucked away.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the country. I am not country—you can take one look at my nails and know that I am not country—but I do like the idea of space and no neighbours. And I can be sure that when my son goes outside, there’s no traffic and he’s breathing clean air. I think I enjoy the silence most. I don’t feel the need to live in a city because I work in cities.”
You started singing at a very young age. Was music a big part of your upbringing?
“I grew up listening to CBC. My father worked for CBC, and the musical tradition at my church was a classical one. I was very much a product of nurture over nature. I don’t think it would have been my natural tendency to gravitate toward classical music, but it was my first methodology. I owe my entire career to classical music. The singing thing is an ongoing, ever-evolving, ever-developing skill, and I like that.”
Your son, Shepherd, is only two, but have you noticed any signs of him being interested in music, too?
“I think all children are very musical at their core—the attraction to melody and the gravitational pull toward dancing and rhythm. And he’s obviously a genius [laughs], but I do feel that he has a real instinctual reaction to music. I sang the whole time that I was pregnant, so my voice is a calling card for him. He always wants to be close to me while I’m singing, which I will enjoy because I’m sure the tide will turn on that!”
Somewhere amid juggling your busy career and raising your son, you find time to serve as Canadian goodwill ambassador to three international charities. Why is that work important to you?
“When I’m doing press or being asked questions about myself, it quickly becomes boring to have to talk about me and my pursuits and blah, blah, blah. There’s a larger world and there are people for whom there is no platform to bring to light the issues that are affecting their lives. There’s the African Medical and Research Foundation, where I focus on the education of girls and sustainable programs in Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. I try to give people as many options through education as possible, because those options were afforded to me. And I’ve worked with the World Wildlife Fund on environmental initiatives because I was renovating my house and wanted to make it more green, and I knew there were subsidies and entities available to help with that. But I thought, If I’m struggling to find them, other people must be struggling, too. I certainly want to be able to share the knowledge that I was able to collect. The third organization that I love is Learning Through the Arts, a program that exists through The Royal Conservatory. It teaches musical, artistic methods of learning for core curricula, so math through poetry, or biology through songwriting or French through theatre. As the arts slowly but surely get sucked out of our public school system, we need to find a way to reinfuse them into children’s lives because they’re the most effective way to learn. I know that my son is learning colours and languages and simple math through song.”
You cowrote tracks on your last two CDs with fellow Canadian Royal Wood, who creates the kind of music that gets played on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy—very different from your usual operatic repertoire!
“I DM’ed him on Twitter and asked if I was going to Crazytown or should we maybe try to write a song together. He wrote me back straightaway and was gang- busters, super-willing. The more I get over the fear of rejection and the insecurities about my own writing, the more willing I am to share some of this creative process with other people who know more and have done more and have risked so much. I find it very fulfilling.
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|This story was originally titled "Measha Brueggergosman" in the February 2015 issue. |
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