Singer Feist not so feisty when it comes to using social media like Twitter

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MONTREAL - Feist has a little tip for people looking to know if she's actually written a tweet on her Twitter account.

"There's a code," she said Friday in advance of her show opening the Montreal International Jazz Festival that evening.

"If it says LF after, I wrote them. Otherwise someone smarter and more tech savvy than me wrote them."

The hint came in reply to a question about a tweet she'd supposedly written earlier in the day and which was quoted by a reporter. It wasn't anything controversial — just something about the weather. Feist looked a little puzzled and then said she didn't write it, crediting her manager with the somewhat poetic message.

Feist allowed she's not that feisty when it comes to social media.

"Normally in everyday life, I don't find a lot of occasion (where) I need to say a lot of things like that to many people at once," said the musician who goes by her last name professionally but whose full name is Leslie Feist.

She acknowledged that unlike some entertainers who use social media massively, she picks and chooses her spots.

"I do it on occasion," she said, citing her last appearance in New York when an outdoor concert got cut short by bad weather.

She was soaked and her gear was ruined but her heart went out to the crowd.

"They had been standing there for six hours and they were really wet and really psyched. To have to leave them, I felt terrible. I just wanted them to know it wasn't my decision to leave."

She struggled with how to communicate with the crowd and then had the brainwave to send them something on social media, "to beam into the palm of their hands that the conditions did this and not me and I hope they all get hot showers and that stuff."

Coincidentally, Montreal weathered steady rain in the hours leading up to her show on Friday, a free outdoor affair.

Feist said she was aware of many conversations percolating on social media but didn't see how that would play into any kind of collaboration when she crafts her songs.

"It's a little bit intimidating for me. I prefer to think about what I'm doing from inside of it because the outside, it's a bit of a peanut gallery.

"I appreciate things like when I feel the wave of response from a group of people but each individual one's individual opinion might be a bit much for me to take in. I'm kind of a cautious observer of social media."

Feist, who performs both as a solo artist and as a member of the indie rock collective Broken Social Scene, launched her career in 1999 with the release of the now-scarce "Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down)," which was followed up by "Let It Die" in 2004 and "The Reminder" in 2007.

The critically acclaimed albums sold more that 2.5 million copies.

She called her appearance in Montreal a kind of debut of a new version of her band, stripped down to a trio after four other members went on to other projects. Those that left included three who were members of Mountain Men and Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene.

"The pressure is greater," she said of the new ensemble. "That makes it more exciting. Really, that velocity of 'gotta pull this off' is a lot more visible for all three of us."

The Toronto-based Feist comes to the festival on the heels of her win last September of the prestigious $30,000 Polaris Music Prize for her fourth album "Metals."

The singer-songwriter had been an under-the-radar prospect for the prize, which was given to the best Canadian album of the previous year and determined by a 10-person jury of music journalists, bloggers and broadcasters.

The previous year's winners were Montreal's own Arcade Fire. This year, Feist said she's rooting for friend Chilly Gonzales, who's nominated on the award's long list for "Solo Piano II." The short list will be announced July 16.

"He's my one and only vote, for sure," she said. "He's my best friend, my cohort."

She said there are a lot of deserving nominees but "it's a rare year I can hold up without any doubt and it's Chilly Gonzalez."

Despite her surprise at winning her own Polaris — she hid under a table after her win was announced before picking it up — Feist is no stranger to awards.

The Nova Scotia-born, Calgary-raised entertainer has won 11 Junos since 2005, received four Grammy nominations and previously made the Polaris short list in 2007 for her breakthrough album, "The Reminder."

Geographic location: MONTREAL, New York, Nova Scotia Calgary

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