Collette Savard is a self-taught multi instrumentalist who uses the many stringed instruments she plays (guitar, dulcimer, ukulele, banjo, charango) to reflect her reality in the world. As the youngest of five girls in her French-Canadian family, songs have always been a part of her reality. She graduated from singing solo performances as a young child at family parties, to local country music contests, and on to her high school’s pop music after-school program. It occurred to her after one semester of journalism school that as a songwriter, she was already a journalist of sorts, boiling down life’s experiences into the bite-sized form of a song. So in 2001, she quit college and moved from her Northern Ontario home town of North Bay to Toronto, to pursue a life in music.
Her songs are of the kind that either touch your soul or stay bouncing lovingly in your brain long after you’ve heard them. Her earliest influences in music were the highly melodic French folk songs sung by her relatives, and the country music and old time rock and roll that were the staples of her family listening. From there, her tastes evolved towards the worlds of jazz and blues and the great songwriters of our time, like Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Gillian Welch and the list goes on and on. In her adult life, she remains open to all things music and has exposed herself to world rhythms through African drumming lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music and attending concerts of all kinds from Indian classical to heavy metal. All these sounds form her understanding of music, but ultimately, they all meld into a soothing rootsy-pop sound that is her unique expression.
Her first three albums: Most Improved Cheerleader (2005), Zen Boyfriend (2008) and Best Dress (2012) were produced by her former husband and musical partner John Zytaruk, and reflect the melancholy and loneliness of the Northern winter, with a sweetness that reminds us that Spring is around the corner. They feature the talents of some of Canada’s finest musicians such as jazz legend Guido Basso (The Boss Brass) and revered pianist/composer/producer Bob Wiseman (Blue Rodeo/Ron Sexsmith).
She has performed throughout Ontario and Quebec in both official languages in club settings, house concerts, and concert series. She has serenaded the Chief Justice Of Ontario with cowboy songs, and taught ukulele to aboriginal children in remote Northern Ontario. Her songs have been played via CBC programs such as Fresh Air and Metro Morning, as well as a song (Q uarter Life Crisis ) featured in a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film festival in 2012, and another (Nicer Things ) short-listed for the Ontario Arts Council’s Colleen Peterson songwriting award in 2012. More recently an unreleased song (Up Late Talking ) produced by Asher Ettinger was placed in a film that premiered at the Whistler Film Festival in December 2015.
Her newest repertoire of original songs mark a departure from the predominantly acoustic vibe she maintained throughout her early career. With the help of her new pro band, which includes Rebecca Campbell, John Switzer, Megan Worthy, Tim Posgate, and Martin Worthy, she is seeking to fulfill her deepest musical urges. Her new sound stays true to her unique and honest songwriting, but is elevated through the collaboration of these skilled musicians. She is currently incubating this newest incarnation of her music at her beloved Tranzac Club in the heart of Toronto, where she helps foster a rich cultural community as Chair of their Board of Directors. With the help of a Toronto Arts Council grant she begins production of her fourth full length album in the spring of 2016 with noted producer and band-mate John Switzer at the helm.