Jun 02 2014

Classical Guitarist Liona Boyd on Reinventing Herself

I grew up watching classical guitarist Liona Boyd’s television performances and being in awe of her talent and beauty. So when the opportunity to interview one of the finest guitar players in the world, I felt I already knew her. But of course, there was much to learn.

When Boyd first set out to create a career as a guitar player, she was met with many obstacles. In fact, she was told she would never make it as a woman in the guitar world, one that was a male-dominated industry.

Did she ever prove the naysayers wrong.

Over the course of her glamorous career, Boyd has performed for world leaders, and kings and queens. She has recorded 23 albums — many have gone “Gold” and “Platinum” — and has received numerous awards, including five Junos.

She has also worked with symphony orchestras such as The Boston Pops, and recorded with Sir Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, Yo Yo Ma, Georges Zamfir and Michael Kamen. Breaking with classical tradition, she toured with Gordon Lightfoot and Tracy Chapman, and recorded with Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, David Gilmore and Roger Whittaker.

In my interview with Boyd, we chat about her glamorous life and her latest album entitled Return to Canada With Love, an ambitious project that features guest performances by many celebrities such as Olivia Newton-John, Jann Arden, Dan Hill, Serena Ryder and even Chris Hadfield.

But at the heart of it, this is a story about reinvention.

Boyd was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neurological condition that causes involuntary muscular contractions and abnormal postures. She was told she would never play guitar again. On that note, Boyd began the journey of reinventing herself.

“It was the biggest blessing in my life, says Boyd. “Sometimes you think it’s a tragedy when something bad happens to you. But I was able to turn it around, and open up a whole new chapter called singing and songwriting, which I would never have done.”

I invite you to watch my full interview with “The First Lady of the Guitar,” Liona Boyd, who speaks with passion about her success, love and how learning the art of singing and songwriting is changing her life.

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