Q. How did you get started in music? A. I always sang in the choir at church and in school, I did love to sing. In university, I learned to play the guitar. Then I got married and started a family. I worked at the library and the librarian asked if I would do something for Library week at the school, I said, no thank you. lol. The other assistant librarian, said, come on, it will be fun. We put together a little program with music and puppets and it was fun. After that, I was pumped and the two of us starts a kids duo and we played at libraries, schools, and events in our area. She later decided she would like to get a job with a pension plan and at that point, I knew I couldn't quit, so I went solo and my career all toll is topping 30 years. Q. What are the biggest influences on your art? A. After I realized that I could write my own songs, I drew from my childhood. Really, all the things I loved then, I still love. So my songs all relate somehow back to that and now perhaps I am influenced by my grandchildren as they take me back to all that fun. Also, on this journey, I realized that I love the colour orange. Who knew? I write songs about it, I wear it, and all my peeps know it's my favourite colour. Q. Did art play a role in your childhood? A. Hmmmmm, we did have music around our house, but not heaps, mostly my dad singing. As immigrants, they were pretty intent on getting the basics, but my father built all kinds of wonderful things, besides a house and renovated another, he did a beautiful ironwork front piece for our house, with all our initials in it. He did all his work with such precision and love not to mention patience. From that house came me and my sister Anna who is a sculptor as well as a carver. She does all my colouring sheets for me and it is so much fun to have these two characters join me along on my journey reflecting a past that she and I both shared. The characters are little Sylvia & Silly Goose.
I did not enjoy making art, in the form of drawing. But I do like to sew crazy costumes for my shows and make fantastical hats when they are needed.
Q. Who is your favorite artist/musician? A. I love my sister's art, which adorns my house in loads of places, they are all so personal to me. The other picture that I bought, because I had to have it is based on the orange colours of a prairie grain elevator, which reflects where we live. It just makes my heart sing. Musically there are so many, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Barbar Streisand, KD Lang, James Taylor, Jann Arden, Lady Gaga, and influences from my husband bring in Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, and from one of my sons, My Chemical Romance. Of course, it is always growing and changing as you find new and refine old great music.
Q. How does art impact your life? A. Well, although I may not have a lot of art in my house, the world wide web had opened access to so much great art, in ways you would never imagine. I love nature and the art she creates every day, I never tire of the blue sky here on the prairies and the colours of every season. I marvel at the talent of the hands-on artists because I just don't have the skill or patience for it, or even the eye. I do love the theatre and really like improv which helps me in my shows, I think. Having a career in the arts I feel very lucky to do what I do and to get to sing with kids and feel the joy they feel when they sing and dance. As much as I like to sing, I am over the moon when the crowd sings with me. That is always a very emotional moment. Words can't even really explain it. Anyways, blessed to be able to do this for a living even tho sometimes, it does take over your life and the dishes just don't go away. lol Q. What do you do when you make a mistake? A. Well, I love that question! When I started out as a solo act, I had a list of things that could go wrong and I wasn't sure how I would cope. One by one, they all happened and I learned that I could go forward and deal with each one and that really boosted my confidence. If I make a mistake in a show, in a song, I usually talk about it after it happens or just as it happens. I am quite good at fitting words in anywhere, even if they aren't the right ones, so people wouldn't even notice. I do really like the idea that kids especially see that making a mistake is not a bad thing and you just roll right along. The only person who really notices it is you and it's your reaction that affects you the most. Q. What does your workday look like? Well, I'd like to say that I have an organized, scheduled workday, but I don't. I should do filing and email answering and bookkeeping on a regular basis, so it doesn't pile up, but there is no fun in that. If I have a show or classes on a day, I'm pretty focussed on getting ready for that, setlists and props, packing the car, making sure I know where I'm going, and if there is travel involved, that usually takes up the day. If I'm at home and I don't have a gig or class, I don't often, not think of music or my career in some way. There is always oodles of marketing to do for all the platforms as well as setting up my next set of classes or shows. I don't consciously set aside time to write songs, but when I do get an idea, I always register it in some way by writing or doing a little recording. I can write a specific song if I need to for something specific, but even then I find that the ideas have to percolate in my mind for a while before I am sure of how I want it to go. Or a better set of lyrics for it. When I do sit down to write, it is usually pretty quick and fluid in the moment, but even after that the song just hangs in my mind and I'll play it over and over with joy until I have it out of my system, or I've moved on to the next one. For me, it really is an ebb and flow creative movement. Q. What inspires your music? As I mentioned before, my music really does come from joy. The joy is usually centered in my childhood experiences. I do write songs for adult audiences and they can be a little more somber but only because I really like to sing about things that are happening in our lives. Love for children, family members dying, etc. BUT I feel my songs are really universal regardless of age and I will always sing my kids' music at an adult concert because it is light and so singable. One of the things I like to be sure of is that the song will be singable quickly and hanging around in your head after you've left the concert. I sing under the title Singing with Sylvia, but hope that kids just call me Sylvia. My music can be found on all the streaming platforms. I have 3 solo cd's, under the name Sylvia Chave.
I would also like to mention that I am doing a Facebook live every Music Monday @10am (cst) during the pandemic. I will also be posting a version of it on my Youtube channel as well, on Tuesdays so that parents have other spots to sing with me, other than Facebook.
All of the above videos are copyright Sylvia Chave and shared here with permission.