Back in the day, I was a huge figure skating fan. I still watch, but the golden era seems to be over, at least for now (for the past few Olympics, in fact). Michelle Kwan was one of my more recent favorites. She always managed to find the most beautiful music to skate to, and, of course, her skating was amazing. During one performance, she skated to a song I had never heard before. I loved it, but I had missed the name of it. Later, she skated to the same song again and I heard the name of the artist. This was before iPods and Internet searches, so soon after, when the name escaped me once again, I had no way to find it.

One night, after remembering how haunting and beautiful the song was, I went to bed asking myself to remember the name of the artist so I could find it in the store. When the sun came up several hours later, I sat straight up in bed.

“Loreena McKennitt,” I said out loud to the empty room.

And this was the song.

Through the years, I heard and enjoyed her songs, on CDs I bought and as skaters continued to use her music as background for their twirling, spinning, and jumping.

Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt
Photo: Ann E. Cutting

Fast forward to yesterday: the woman I had only heard through my speakers, in my car, and on TV was now speaking in my ear as we talked about her latest U.S. tour, her 30 years in the business, and music in general. (The article I wrote from our conversation is here.)

But it still strikes me — as it did when I met S.E. Hinton in person, years after reading and re-reading The Outsiders, and when I’ve talked with other well-known artists of all types that I admire or whose work I’ve enjoyed — how cool freelancing can be, and how you just never know what’s coming around the bend, where you’ll end up, who you’ll meet, what you’ll do.

That morning when I awoke with Loreena’s name on the tip of my tongue, I never imagined that I would be interviewing her years later, that the voice I’d only heard in a one-way conversation — from her lips to my ears through recordings — would become a most pleasant two-way chat, one artist to another.

It’s so funny and amazing how the road unfurls, isn’t it?


p.s. Here’s Michelle skating to Dante’s Prayer.