A francophone singer from Fannystelle is reaching audiences across oceans with her newest album, Chez Nous.
Jeannine Guyot, 58, premiered her bilingual record through a livestreamed release concert on Dec. 3. Viewers from British Columbia to Nova Scotia tuned in, as did folks from France. The concert, which features Guyot and other musicians playing the album in their own spaces, had more than 1,000 views in less than a week.
The virtual performance was a first for Guyot. She said it was cool that new people found her music.
"For me, that just means it was reaching to people who needed to see a live performance," she said. "That’s bringing people together on a whole other level."
In fact, Chez Nous has led to many firsts for the Manitoban singer.
It’s her second album, but the first she’s recorded using songs she’s written. She wrote seven of the 12 tracks — two in English, and five in French. The other songs are covers of hits she loves.
Guyot has been holding on to some songs for years. One track, I’m With You, was for her oldest son’s Grade 12 graduation in 2005. She surprised him by singing it at the ceremony.
"I would sing the song(s), and people would say, ‘Wow, you need to do something with that!’ And I was like, ‘Eh, okay,’" Guyot said. "I just never thought I was good enough."
As a kid, Guyot played the organ and piano by ear. She grew up singing in church choirs, and later in festivals, talent shows and weddings, among other places. She had a trio with her two youngest children, Stephan and Jocelyne, and they released an album in 2014 called Trilogie – Beginnings. However, only recently has Guyot believed she could further her music career.
She began recording Chez Nous in 2019 at Think Tank Music & Media, a studio in Winnipeg — her first time using a recording studio.
After recording, she was accepted to Le 100 Nons, a French organization that helps budding musicians develop their careers. Guyot said she’s been learning about the business side of the industry and has been honing her writing skills.
In the future, she’ll have a new album, she said.
"Now that I’m in it, I’m actually completely in," she said. "I think when you start writing and composing your own (music), it’s another chapter."
She calls her style a mix of French folk and country roots, but said it’s hard to classify.
Her songs have been played on French radio stations, including ICI Radio-Canada Première, CBC’s station. She’s written about her home, farming, Manitoban winters, guardian angels and family, among other topics.
Her music is open to interpretation.
"I’m working at writing lyrics that … express what I feel, and my situation, but also give (listeners) an opening to learn how they’re feeling," she said.
Chez Nous is available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, Guyot said. Folks can buy a CD on her website, jeannineguyot.com
The Headliner community journalist
Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Gabby is a cub reporter fresh from Red River College’s creative communications program. She majored in journalism and spent the summer of 2020 as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press. Gabby also has a B.A. in communications from the University of Winnipeg. She reported for newspapers in the Interlake, including the Selkirk Record, in 2019, and received the Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism award in 2020. When she’s not chasing stories, you can find Gabby listening to podcasts, attempting yoga or petting somebody’s dog Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org