Krystal Dawn, recently returned from touring with the North Klondike Highway with Yukon Women in Music, has been gracing musical stages from an early age. At 2, she stood on her coffee table singing her mother’s favourite music and now she graces the stage at Flipper’s Pub on Whitewater Wednesday.
“My first real performance was when I was 16,” she says at Baked Café over an herbal tea. “It was some school performance. I’d done some performances in choirs at 11, but this was my first actual performance, in front of an audience with a band.
“It was terrible, terrible,” she laughs and shakes her head. “I sang Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The mike was bad, no one could hear me and I was so shy.”
She didn’t give up on performing. “I met Nicole Edwards a couple of years ago. She really likes to jam with me, she’s always saying, ‘Let’s go jam and sing together.’ She’s really why I’m in Yukon Women in Music.
“When I saw her at the Dawson City Music Festival last summer, she told me that YWIM was doing tours and she thought it would be great if I could come along and sing.
“The tour was great,” she says, brushing her hair back from her face and leaning on her hand. “I really learned so much from such great artists and beautiful women. I really liked the mini jams we had on the bus. Kate Weekes had her fiddle out and we played guitars and Peggy Hanifan was driving the bus, looking back in the rear-view mirror. It was nice.
“We played in a bar in Carmacks, it was a real rough show, in a rough bar, with a rough crowd, but it rocked anyway. It was hard to keep playing, but I did the best I could.
“My mother’s a country singer and she’s played in the same bar in Carmacks years ago. When I told her, she says some things never change.”
“The first time I heard Krystal Dawn sing,” Hanifan says, “she blew me away. She’s just a tiny thing with a huge voice.” At that time, Dawn was joined on stage by her boyfriend, Will Hegsted, playing guitar as she as belted out Summertime.
“I’ve only performed with Will a few times. He’s a great guitar player. I love when we jam and he plays guitar. He performs, too, but I’m more of a show off, I really like being on stage with him. I’m just more out there and in your face. I learned a lot of guitar from him. He’s really helped me.”
Influenced by her mother’s country styling, as well as classical jazz divas like Nina Simone and contemporary singers like Nicole Edwards and Lauren Hill, Krystal Dawn is proof that great things come in small packages.
Five things you should know about Krystal Dawn:
1. She loves to travel and is going to India in February.
2. She wants to go to the Selkirk School of Music in Nelson, BC.
3. She loves to sing scat jazz. “I often forget the words, so it’s perfect for me.”
4. She loves the blues and gospel blues, especially by lady singers.
5. Her goal is to release an album within a year and a half.