Kathleen Edwards

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Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep Inn.jpg
Kathleen Edwards at Wakefield, Quebec's Black Sheep Inn, September 1, 2011
Background information
Born (1978-07-11) July 11, 1978 (age 41)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, violin, vocals, bass guitar
Years active1999–present
LabelsZoë, MapleMusic Recordings, Rounder
Website kathleenedwards.com

Kathleen Edwards (born July 11, 1978 [1] ) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. Her 2003 debut album, Failer, contained the singles "Six O'Clock News" and "Hockey Skates". [2] Her next two albums – Back to Me and Asking for Flowers – both made the Billboard 200 list and reached the top 10 of Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. In 2012, Edwards' fourth studio album, Voyageur , became Edwards' first album to crack the top 100 and top 40 in the U.S., peaking at #39 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #2 in Canada. In 2012, Edward's song "A Soft Place To Land" won the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, an annual competition that honours the best song written and released by 'emerging' songwriters over the past year, as voted by the public. [3] Her musical sound has been compared to Suzanne Vega meets Neil Young. [4]


Early life

Edwards, the daughter of a diplomat, [5] spent portions of her youth in Korea [6] and Switzerland. Her father is Leonard Edwards, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. At age 5, Edwards began classical violin studies that continued for the next 12 years. [7] As a teenager she lived overseas, where she spent much of her time listening to her brother's records of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. [8] Her brother also bought her first record, a Tom Petty album. After high school she decided not to attend post-secondary education, instead opting to play local clubs to pay the bills.


In 1999, Edwards recorded a six-song EP entitled Building 55 and pressed 500 copies. By the fall of 2000, she was on tour across Canada managing her own gigs. In 2001, she wrote seven of the ten songs for her 2003 debut release Failer.

Edwards played at SXSW in 2002 and was signed to Rounder Records and MapleMusic shortly after. Failer was released in Canada in the fall of 2002 on MapleMusic Recordings. [9] In January 2003 Failer was released by Rounder Records in the US and internationally. Rolling Stone declared her one of year's most promising new acts and Blender said that Failer's songs possessed "an indefinable pull that makes you love the characters they describe, no matter how fucked up they are." The New York Times praised Edwards as a writer whose songs can "pare situations down to a few dozen words while they push country-rock towards its primal impulses of thump and twang." She made her television network debut on the Late Show with David Letterman where she performed "Six O'Clock News."

In 2005, Edwards released Back to Me , which also garnered considerable critical acclaim, and led to the release of the singles "Back to Me" and "In State". The track "Summerlong" was also featured on the soundtrack of the movie Elizabethtown starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst.

Edwards performing at the 2007 NXNE festival Kathleen Edwards at NXNE 2007.JPG
Edwards performing at the 2007 NXNE festival

In 2008, Edwards released her third studio album, Asking for Flowers . It was described by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as "her finest album to date", [10] and was a shortlisted nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. [11] In contrast with 2005's Back to Me, on which Edwards relied on her working band, Asking for Flowers predominantly features session musicians.

In fall 2010, Edwards began working on her fourth studio album in Wisconsin. Voyageur was released in January 2012. It includes the single "Change the Sheets," and was co-produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. [12]

She appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on January 17, 2012, singing "Change the Sheets" from her new album Voyageur.

In November 2019, Edwards released "It's Christmastime (Let's Just Survive)", her first new single since Voyageur, on the Dualtone Records compilation album A Dualtone Christmas. [13]

Musical collaborations

In 2005, Edwards lent her vocals to the duet "The Plan", recorded with Matt Mays and El Torpedo for their self-titled album. [14] In 2006, she was nominated for Juno Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for Back to Me. [15] In 2007, Edwards worked with John Doe, of the punk rock band X, on his solo album A Year in the Wilderness . She sings on three tracks. [16] She opened for Willie Nelson in Saskatoon

In 2008 Edwards sang backup vocals on Bryan Adams' album 11 , and supported one of his tours. In 2009, she joined Adams on stage to sing one of Adams' songs, "Walk on By". [17] In 2011 Edwards contributed vocals on Arkells' song "Agent Zero", off their second album Michigan Left . "Soft Place to Land", one of two songs on Edwards' Voyageur album co-written with The Long Winters frontman John Roderick, won the 2012 SOCAN Echo Songwriting Prize. [18]

She cowrote the song "Good Woman", from Maren Morris's 2019 album Girl . [19] In May 2020, she announced the release of Total Freedom, her first new album in eight years. [19]

Personal life

In 2004 Edwards married guitarist and collaborator Colin Cripps. They divorced in 2011. Edwards was later in a relationship with Justin Vernon, Wisconsin-born singer/songwriter and front-man of the band Bon Iver. [20] Edwards and Vernon separated in 2012. [21] [22]

Edwards stepped back from the music scene in 2014, launching a coffee house in Stittsville called Quitters along with Rick Tremblay (who was her manager when she worked in a downtown Starbucks in the 1990s). [23] She insists that she is not leaving music but just taking a break, and that the name Quitters is "kind of tongue-in-cheek".

As of 2018, Edwards has continued to perform sporadically, including a number of new songs. [24] In August 2019, following the suicide of American singer-songwriter Neal Casal, Edwards opened up on Twitter about the struggle with depression that led her to take time away from her music career. [25]


Studio albums

TitleDetailsPeak chart positions



Back to Me
  • Release date: March 1, 2005
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
Asking for Flowers
  • Release date: March 4, 2008
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
  • Release date: January 17, 2012
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
Total Freedom
  • Release date: August 14, 2020
  • Label: Dualtone Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays


YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum

2003"Six O'Clock News"15Failer
"One More Song the Radio Won't Like"
2004"Hockey Skates"
2005"Back to Me"15Back to Me
"In State"
2008"The Cheapest Key"Asking for Flowers
"I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory"
2011"Change the Sheets"22Voyageur
2013"It Must Have Been Love"
2019"It's Christmastime (Let's Just Survive)"A Dualtone Christmas
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles

2006"Married Again" Jim Cuddy The Light That Guides You Home

Music videos

2003"Six O'Clock News"
"One More Song The Radio Won't Like"
2005"Back To Me"
"In State"
2008"The Cheapest Key"
"I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory"
2011"Change The Sheets

Contributed as primary artist

Appears on


As composer


Awards and nominations

2003 Juno Awards of 2003 Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – SoloFailerNominated
Canadian Country Music Association Roots Artist or Group of the YearNominated
2004 Juno Awards of 2004 Songwriter of the Year Nominated
Canadian Country Music AssociationRoots Artist or Group of the YearNominated
2005Roots Artist or Group of the YearNominated
2006 Juno Awards of 2006 Songwriter of the YearNominated
Adult Alternative Album of the YearBack to MeNominated
Canadian Country Music AssociationRoots Artist or Group of the YearNominated
2008 Polaris Music Prize 2008 Polaris Music Prize - Asking for FlowersNominated
2009 Juno Awards of 2009 Adult Alternative Album of the Year – Asking for FlowersNominated
2012 SOCAN Songwriting Prize Winning Song – A Soft Place to LandWon
Polaris Music Prize 2012 Polaris Music Prize - VoyageurNominated
2013 Juno Awards of 2013 Songwriter of the YearNominated
Adult Alternative Album of the Year – VoyageurNominated

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  14. allmusic ((( Matt Mays + El Torpedo > Overview )))
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