Crystal Shawanda releasing ‘Steel Bridges’ in Year of the Bridge

NASHVILLE—Reflecting on home and the holidays, Wikwemikong’s Crystal Shawanda caught up with The Expositor to talk about her Christmas tour, her label New Sun Records, and what is in store for her for 2013, including the release of two new singles.

Crystal’s Country Christmas Tour started on November 29 in Winnipeg, travelling across Ontario and the US, ending last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Though the tour was a whirlwind, Ms. Shawanda still found time to play her annual Christmas show at the De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Creation Centre in Manitowaning, here on Manitoulin Island.

“It was amazing,” Ms. Shawanda told The Expositor last Friday of her Christmas tour. “The show concluded in Oklahoma last week and it was a lot of fun and I was so happy I got to do a show at Debaj again. That’s where I got my start, acting with the company. It’s so nice doing that show and coming home.”

Ms. Shawanda also revealed that a collaboration with De-ba-jeh-mu-jig might be in the future for the country music star.

“We’ve been talking about collaborating on a project for a while,” said Ms. Shawanda, “but we’ve both been so busy touring, it’s been hard to find the right time.”

Ms. Shawanda was also excited to tell The Expositor that her new label, New Sun Records, which she started with her husband Dewayne in 2010, would be opening an office on music row in Nashville, an area home to hundreds of businesses related to country music in the heart of Nashville’s entertainment district.

“We will be opening our office in the New Year,” Ms. Shawanda said. “We just signed the lease and are very excited. It’s overwhelming.”

While in Nashville earlier this week, Ms. Shawanda also participated in Christmas 4 Kids, an organization that works with country music artists, offering children a chance to get a look at the inside of the tour buses of their favourite artists, as well as be taken on a $150 shopping trip to Wal-Mart.

“The buses were all beautifully decorated inside and out,” Ms. Shawanda said. “The kids got a chance to see the inside of the tour buses and meet the artists. I was so proud to be a part of such a great event.”

Fans can look forward to two new singles being released this spring from Ms. Shawanda, including ‘Someone Who Loves You’ and ‘Steel Bridges.’

“‘Someone Who Loves You’ was written by Karyn Rochelle,” she told The Expositor. “She is a big song writer in Nashville. It’s about the push and pull of a new relationship, as people test each other out. As a stepmother I can really relate to the song, as we figured things out.”

Ms. Rochelle has written several hit singles for country music artists including ‘Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful’ for Kellie Pickler and ‘This Is Me You’re Talking To’ for Trisha Yearwood.

Ms. Shawanda’s other single being released in 2013 is ‘Steel Bridges,’ fittingly being released the same year that the Manitoulin swing bridge celebrates its centennial.

Written by John Rich of country music fame Big and Rich, the band composed of Big Kenny and John Rich, famous for their chart topping song ‘Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),’ and Sharon Vaughn who wrote the famous Willie Nelson song ‘My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.’

“It’s a song about relationships and no matter what comes your way, you hold on to what you have through ups and downs like a steel bridge,” explained Ms. Shawanda.

Ms. Shawanda concluded the interview by saying she is very excited for the New Year and everything to come.

“I also want to wish a happy holiday to everyone back home,” added Ms. Shawanda.

For more information about Crystal Shawanda and upcoming tour dates, visit

Robin Burridge