When she wraps up her performance Saturday on the first night of Ottawa's inaugural Snowbowl, Keshia Chante might just take a turn on the Rideau Canal for old time's sake.
As "old times" as it can be, for a 16-year-old.
"I know I'm going to see all my friends when I come back," she said. "I have a couple of hours after, we're going to put on our hoodies and go skate."
Chante, who moved to Toronto last year to pursue a promising career in urban music, says she learned to skate a long time ago from her hockey-loving father.
"I'm capable of going from one end to the other," she said. "I'm not horrible."
The bubbly teen is excited about being asked to perform on the Snowbowl stage's inaugural night, paving the way for other performers including Buffy Sainte-Marie and Kalan Porter. The outdoor amphitheatre will present a variety of free shows during Winterlude on the Rideau Canal Skateway behind the National Arts Centre.
"It's going to be fun. Hopefully it won't be too cold," she said. "Back to my hometown. You can't go wrong."
Chante picked up three Urban Music Awards in October; sang the national anthem at Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium before the Grey Cup game, performed with Alicia Keyes in Toronto at the first Urban Aids concert in November and wrapped up 2004 with a New Year's Eve performance in Nathan Phillips Square.
With a fourth single and video, Let the Music Take You, off her self-titled debut album with Sony-BMG Canada now in rotation, she just laughs when told it seems like she's everywhere these days.
"I'm just so busy," she said. "I don't get to see all that stuff."
Chante says she could make things a whole lot easier for herself if she would follow in the footsteps of other teen singers and get homeschooled from a tutor. But she doesn't want to.
"I think it was just the way I was raised. Get a normal schooling with normal people," she says. "These are the prime years."
So for now this teen diva is staying on stage, not hanging around at after-parties or hitting the party scene. The work of building a music career and staying a full-time student heading into exams would make that impossible.
"It only gets boring when it's 3 a.m. and I know I have to get up at 7 a.m. to go to school," she said.
Chante will perform Saturday night on the Snowbowl stage behind the National Arts Centre. Festivities begin at 7 p.m.