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 40)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, violin, vocals, bass guitar
Years active1999–present
LabelsZoë, MapleMusic Recordings
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]

<i>Back to Me</i> (Kathleen Edwards album) 2005 studio album by Kathleen Edwards

Back to Me is the second studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards. It was released March 1, 2005 on the independent labels MapleMusic in Canada and Zoë Records in the United States.

<i>Asking for Flowers</i> 2008 studio album by Kathleen Edwards

Asking for Flowers is the third studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards. The album was released March 4, 2008, and was well received by critics, similarly to her first two albums released under Zoë Records, Failer and Back to Me. The Canadian Press said of the album's track list, "unlike your average floral arrangement, there's not a dud in the bunch." The Boston Globe reported that the album had similarities to Edwards' 2005 album Back to Me, but showed maturity as a singer and songwriter.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.


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.

Neil Young Canadian singer-songwriter

Neil Percival Young, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Young had released two solo albums and three as a member of Buffalo Springfield by the time he joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. From his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, sometimes warring with his recording company along the way.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

Tom Petty American musician

Thomas Earl Petty was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.


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."

MapleMusic Recordings

MapleMusic is a Canadian independent record label founded by Andy Maize, Jeff Maize, Mike Alkier, Evan Hu, Lorique Mindel and Grant Dexter in 1999 and based in Toronto, Ontario. Other investors include Gary Slaight, Michael Burke and Universal Music. In 2016, MapleMusic changed its name to Cadence Music Group.

Rounder Records American record label

Rounder Records is an American record label specializing in folk, bluegrass, blues, and other forms of American roots music. Its roster includes Alison Krauss and Union Station, Béla Fleck, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Steep Canyon Rangers. Rounder's musicians have won over 40 Grammy Awards since the label's inception in 1970. The company also maintains book and video divisions.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

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.

<i>Elizabethtown</i> (film) 2005 film by Cameron Crowe

Elizabethtown is a 2005 American romantic tragicomedy film written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. Alec Baldwin has a small role as a CEO of an athletic shoe company and Susan Sarandon appears as a grieving widow.

Orlando Bloom British actor

Orlando Jonathan Blanchard Bloom is an English actor. After making his breakthrough as Legolas in The Lord of the Rings film series, he rose to fame by further appearing in epic fantasy, historical epic, and fantasy adventure films. He later reprised his role as Legolas in The Hobbit film series. His other roles include Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and Paris in Troy (2004).

Kirsten Dunst American actress

Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress who holds both American and German citizenship.

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.

<i>San Francisco Bay Guardian</i>

The San Francisco Bay Guardian was a free alternative newspaper published weekly in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1966 by Bruce B. Brugmann and his wife, Jean Dibble. The paper was shut down on October 14, 2014. It was relaunched in February 2016 as an online publication.

2008 Polaris Music Prize

The 2008 edition of the Canadian Polaris Music Prize was presented on September 30, 2008 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. The prize was won by Caribou for his album Andorra.

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]

<i>Voyageur</i> (Kathleen Edwards album) 2012 studio album by Kathleen Edwards

Voyageur is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards, released on January 17, 2012. The album was produced by Edwards and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Voyageur reached the 39th position on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming Edwards' first top 100 and top 40 album in the US, and her first top ten album in Canada, peaking at number two.

Justin Vernon American singer-songwriter

Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon is an American singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the primary songwriter and frontman of indie folk band Bon Iver. Vernon is also a member of the bands Volcano Choir, Big Red Machine, The Shouting Matches, and Gayngs. He was previously a member of the now-defunct band DeYarmond Edison.

Bon Iver American indie folk band

Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The name "Bon Iver" derives from the French phrase bon hiver, taken from a greeting on Northern Exposure.

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

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. [13] In 2006, she was nominated for Juno Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for Back to Me. [14] 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. [15]

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". [16] 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. [17]

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. [18] Edwards and Vernon separated in 2012. [19] [20]

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). [21] 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.


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
"—" 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"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles

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

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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  13. allmusic ((( Matt Mays + El Torpedo > Overview )))
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  15. Archived January 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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