Now touring her fifth album, Standing Still, Quebec singer-songwriter Kyra Shaughnessy’s music is a catalyst for transformation. Her songs invoke presence and awakening.With her Indo-Trini-Irish-Scots heritage, composing and collaborating in multiple languages across genres, Kyra is at the forefront of the struggle to represent the diversity of Canadian musical identity.
After her first open mic at Casa del Popolo in 2002 she was invited, at age 15, to participate in the CBC National poetry slam in the Festival Voix d’Ameriques. After several successful years in Montreal’s spoken word scene (including two consecutive years on the Montreal Mirror’s top ten list, performances in the POP Montreal festival, Blue Metropolis, etc.) Kyra decided to try her hand at songwriting.
The result? A folk-roots blend defined by warm, jazzy vocals and the unmistakable depth and authenticity of her poet’s pen. Often compared to the likes of Joan Baez and Ani DiFranco, Kyra’s music artfully combines elements of “political folk” and sacred songs to captivate audiences of all ages and all walks of life.
Kyra released her first all acoustic album, One Step Closer, in 2009. This was quickly followed by a full-band self-titled album in 2010. Guitar and banjo in hand, she took to the road for several tours across Canada. A songwriting workshop on the Aran Islands in Ireland with accomplished L.A. singer-songwriter Brett Perkins in 2011 allowed her to further hone her craft and led to performances in Ireland, Denmark and Austria. Inspired by her many travels, Kyra released her third collection, Waiting for the Light, in 2013 before being accepted to the renowned École Nationale de la Chanson in Granby, QC, where she spent 10 months perfecting her craft.
In March 2013 she participated in a pilot project led by Peace Partners bringing together Quebec and First Nations artists for a week of collaborative songwriting and cultural exchange. During this project Kyra was introduced to producer Dany Placard with whom she co-produced her fourth album, Passage, in 2015, with the support of the Québec Arts Council.
Kyra uses music as a tool for healing, cultural exchange and personal and social transformation. After a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign, she has begun work on her fifth album, Standing Still, released in spring 2018. She is also in the developing stages of a collaborative songwriting project incorporating ancestral languages, with the support of the Canada Arts Council. In parallel, she has begun offering her services as a mentor and a transformational creativity coach.