“I no longer have impostor syndrome,” sings Fransaskois singer-songwriter Alexis Normand in the opening lines of “Mauvais sort,” the first single off of her eponymous sophomore album, launched in November 2016.

Those words are fitting, even though she didn’t write them. The lyrics to this song, and others on her surprising album, were penned by Daniel Beaumont (Louis-Jean Cormier, Tricot Machine). It’s a creative avenue Normand hadn’t yet explored: “I wanted to experience songwriting differently, so I asked [album producer] Marc Pérusse to suggest a few names,” says Normand.

“The first name on his list was Daniel Beaumont,” she adds. “We met in a Montréal café to get acquainted and see if we would jive before we started working together. I met someone with incredible sensitivity, an openness, and a love for collaborating that’s simply, and totally, based on the joy of creation. Since I live in Saskatoon and he in Montréal, the rest of our collaboration happened over the internet.

“When he sent his first text written specifically for my music, it felt like Daniel had stolen words straight from my heart and soul, especially on the song ‘Johnny Cash,’ which is one of my favourites on this album,” says the artist, who also tapped Mélanie Noël and Mathieu Lippé on two other collaborations.

“It takes a village” are the first words in the album’s thank-yous. Normand, of course, means that she got help from a few good Samaritans she met on the path to creating her album. “The Fransaskois community saw me come of age on stage… even before I was ready to think of myself as an artist,” she says. “As a matter of fact, it’s the Conseil culturel fransaskois that got me into my first songwriting, stage-scripting, and studio recording workshops. That’s what made me want to sing in French, and what led me to realize that a career in Western Canada is possible.”

Onstage, those beautiful collaborations are fleshed out alongside one-man band Marc Ferland-Papillon. The stage direction was provided by songwriter and multi-talented artist Gaële, and the show will be presented to Normand’s fans in the West starting this coming winter, and then elsewhere on the summer festival circuit in 2017. “Gaële is an artist who understands that it’s possible to feel like an outsider in Québec,” says Normand. “She helped me get over that. I asked her to help me create an intimate show, I wanted it to feel authentic, like I was inviting the audience in my living room in Saskatchewan.”