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 38)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country, folk
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, violin, vocals, bass guitar
Years active 1999–present
Labels Zoë, 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]

Personal life[edit]

Edwards, the daughter of a diplomat,[4] spent portions of her youth in Korea[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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. Her musical sound has been compared[by whom?] to Suzanne Vega meets Neil Young.

In 2011, she divorced longtime collaborator Colin Cripps and began a relationship with Justin Vernon, Wisconsin-born singer/songwriter and front-man of the band Bon Iver.[8] Edwards and Vernon separated in 2012.[9][10]

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 Starbuck's in the 1990s).[11] She insists that she is not leaving music but just taking a break, and that the name Quitters is "kind of tongue-in-cheek".


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. 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 "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

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",[12] and was a shortlisted nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize.[13] 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.[14]

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

Other work[edit]

In June 2014, the Canadian press reported that Edwards would be taking a break from music to open a coffee shop on the main street of Stittsville, an Ottawa suburb.[15] Quitters opened in September 2014.

Musical collaborations[edit]

In 2005, Edwards lent her vocals to the duet "The Plan", recorded with Matt Mays and El Torpedo for their self-titled album.[16] In 2006, she was nominated for Juno Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for Back to Me.[17] 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.[18]

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".[19] 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.[20]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions



Back to Me
  • Release date: March 1, 2005
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
173 6
Asking for Flowers
  • Release date: March 4, 2008
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
15 102 1
  • Release date: January 17, 2012
  • Label: MapleMusic Recordings
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
2 39 3 11
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]


Year Single Album
2003 "Six O'Clock News" Failer
"One More Song the Radio Won't Like"
2004 "Hockey Skates"
2005 "Back to Me" Back to Me
"In State"
2008 "The Cheapest Key" Asking for Flowers
"I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory"
2011 "Change the Sheets" Voyageur

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Album
2006 "Married Again" Jim Cuddy The Light That Guides You Home

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2003 Juno Awards of 2003 Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – SoloFailer Nominated
Canadian Country Music Association Roots Artist or Group of the Year Nominated
2004 Juno Awards of 2004 Songwriter of the Year Nominated
Canadian Country Music Association Roots Artist or Group of the Year Nominated
2005 Roots Artist or Group of the Year Nominated
2006 Juno Awards of 2006 Songwriter of the Year Nominated
Adult Alternative Album of the YearBack to Me Nominated
Canadian Country Music Association Roots Artist or Group of the Year Nominated
2009 Juno Awards of 2009 Adult Alternative Album of the Year – Asking for Flowers Nominated
2012 SOCAN Songwriting Prize Winning Song – A Soft Place To Land Won
2013 Juno Awards of 2013 Songwriter of the Year Nominated
Adult Alternative Album of the Year – Voyageur Nominated


  1. ^ [1] Archived September 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Whibbs, Chris (2008-04-26). "Kathleen Edwards Method Acting". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  3. ^ http://www.socansongwritingprize.ca/past-nominees-and-winners/
  4. ^ (March 4, 2008). "Kathleen Edwards gets politically charged", Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  5. ^ Langness, David (March 1, 2008). "Kathleen Edwards: A Songwriter's Progress", Paste. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  6. ^ Deziel, Shanda (February 17, 2003). "Alt-country's New "It" Girl: Kathleen Edwards", The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  7. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Kathleen Edwards: Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  8. ^ Dearmore, Kelly (2011-09-12). "Kathleen Edwards: "Justin [Vernon] Helped Me Construct Something That's a 180 For Me." | Dallas Observer". Blogs.dallasobserver.com. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  9. ^ Downing, Andy (September 25, 2012). "Kathleen Edwards gets personal on new album". 77 Square. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Kathleen Edwards gives Madison its money's worth in fearless show : Arts-madisondotcom". Host.madison.com. 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  11. ^ "No quitter: Kathleen Edwards finds a new path in Stittsville coffee shop". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  12. ^ http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=6365&catid=107&volume_id=317&issue_id=378&volume_num=42&issue_num=33][dead link]
  13. ^ "2008 – Winners and Nominees". Polaris Music Prize. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  14. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Unveils 'Voyageur'". Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ Kaplan, Ben (June 24, 2014). "Bean there, done with that: Kathleen Edwards takes her show off the road to open Quitters coffee shop". National Press. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ allmusic ((( Matt Mays + El Torpedo > Overview )))
  17. ^ kathleenedwards.org
  18. ^ [2] Archived January 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Paolozzi, John (March 30, 2009). "Watch Kathleen Edwards Juno Performance with Bryan Adams". CBC Radio 3. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  20. ^ Wheeler, Brad (October 19, 2012). "Kathleen Edwards, John Roderick". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]