Guinevere (real name Gwendolyn Lewis), a rising star from Toronto, left business school to follow her dream and become a recording artist! Currently on a 3 month tour all across United States, Guinevere is playing her hit singles for audiences all over, including her cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer” and “Crazy Crazy”, which recently landed #16 on Billboard! She’s been labeled “the next Gaga” by celebrity gossip site, Celebuzz and is creating tons of buzz on the pop scene. When she’s not touring or recording or playing music, you can catch Guinevere shooting a puck around the hockey rink or kicking some Call of Duty ass! Mental illness hits very close to home for Guinevere and she talks to us a bit about how people in her life have been affected by it and namely, by schizophrenia. Read on to learn more about this artist!
You’re a new artist on the music scene and were initially in business school before deciding that it “bored you to death” and opted to become a recording artist instead! For you, what is the best and worst part so far, about entering the music industry and becoming a musician?
There hasn’t been a ‘worst part’ about entering the music industry thus far. I’m following my dream and am so thankful I am able to do that. The best part is being able to travel all over and playing different cities every night. The performance aspect is my favorite part. I like being able to sing my songs and have fun with the crowd. I get to wake up every day and do what I love.
The word “Crazy” sometimes has negative connotations to it, in relation to mental illness. But in your song “Crazy Crazy” it’s about letting go of inhibitions and giving it your all in love! Can you tell us more about how you use the term in a positive way in this song?
That's exactly what the song is about. The word 'crazy' is used in a positive way. It's about enjoying the company of someone else and embracing your wild side.
You have a lot of tracks on your debut album that are about relationships, like “Crazy Crazy”, “Liar”, and “I Don’t Believe in Love”. Is there a particular song off the new album that you enjoy playing the most or that particularly speaks to you?
I love singing ‘Liar’. It is such a powerful song and when I sing it the raw emotion comes out. It’s about finding out the person you loved deceived you. Every night after singing that song I feel like I’ve let something off my chest. It’s a great feeling and helps me connect with the crowd.
You’re a huge fan of classic rock beats and currently have a hit cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer”. If you could tour with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
It would definitely be Jimi Hendrix. He is definitely my music idol. I really connect to his music and love all the emotion he put into his guitar riffs and lyrics. I was definitely born in the wrong era!
As if one talent is not enough, when you’re not playing music, you also play hockey! When did you start playing hockey and how has it benefited or affected your life?
I started playing hockey at 14. I’ve cracked a rib and broken my wrist. It’s definitely made me tougher and I play 'pick up' now and again. The only thing I can say about it is the transition from skates to 6-inch heels was interesting...took me a while to learn how to walk like a lady ;)
You also love video games and are a huge Call of Duty player. You seem to have a lot of great ways to have fun and relieve stress! What else do you do to relax or cope when you’re having a hard time or a bad day?
I love jumping into my car with my good friends, throwing the iPod on shuffle, blasting tunes and driving nowhere. Good tunes and great friends always seem to get me in a better mood.
Mental illness affects about 1 in 5 Canadians. Has mental illness ever affected your life, either directly, or indirectly through someone close to you?
Mental illness hits very close to home. I have a close family member who suffers from schizophrenia. It’s something she's had her entire adult life. I grew up experiencing the struggle she and our family endured. It is crippling in every way, and I feel that the lack of public awareness makes it a bigger challenge for the person suffering with it. I also have a close friend who is suffering from schizophrenia that is currently in a hospital getting treatment. I am reminded of their hardships every day of my life, which makes me appreciate my own health.
Greatest piece of advice someone has ever given you?
My dad told me from a very young age to treat everyone you meet with the utmost respect, no matter who they are, even if you don’t know them’. Being nice to people is a hell of a lot easier than being mean. Life is better lived that way. It doesn’t kill you to smile. Also, someone once told me, 'As you travel on through life, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut, and not upon the hole'. I think both pieces of advice complement one another quite well.
What’s one thing that always makes you happy?
Just being around the people I love. I am not home a lot and I cherish the time I get to spend with my family and friends. If I could mention a second thing that makes me happy it is talking parrots...they just say the darndest things!
What can we expect next from Guinevere?!
I’m very excited to release more songs. I’m shooting a video at the end of the month and working on some crazy concepts for my live show! Can’t wait for you to come to a show!