Kathleen Edwards

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Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards at Wakefield, Quebec's Black Sheep Inn, September 1, 2011
Kathleen Edwards at Wakefield, Quebec's Black Sheep Inn, September 1, 2011
Background information
Born (1978-07-11) July 11, 1978 (age 43)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
GenresAlternative country, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, violin, vocals, bass guitar
Years active1999–present
LabelsZoë, MapleMusic Recordings, Rounder, Dualtone

Kathleen Edwards (born July 11, 1978[1]) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. Her 2002 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, Edwards' 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[edit]

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 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.

Music career[edit]

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 2002 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

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]

In May 2020, Edwards released the single "Options Open" and announced Total Freedom, her first new album in eight years.[14] The album was released on August 14, 2020.[15]

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] 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".[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]

She co-wrote the song "Good Woman", from Maren Morris's 2019 album Girl.[14]

Personal life[edit]

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.[21] Edwards and Vernon separated in 2012.[22][23]

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).[24] She insisted 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 continued to perform sporadically, including a number of new songs.[25] 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.[26]


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
Total Freedom
  • Release date: August 14, 2020
  • Label: Dualtone Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
24 183
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]


Year Single Peak positions Album

2003 "Six O'Clock News" 15 Failer
"One More Song the Radio Won't Like"
2004 "Hockey Skates"
2005 "Back to Me" 15 Back to Me
"In State"
2008 "The Cheapest Key" Asking for Flowers
"I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory"
2011 "Change the Sheets" 22 Voyageur
2012 "Wapusk" Non-album single
2013 "It Must Have Been Love"
2019 "It's Christmastime (Let's Just Survive)" A Dualtone Christmas
2020 "Options Open" 30 Total Freedom
"Hard On Everyone" 21
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles[edit]

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

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
2003 "Six O'Clock News"
"One More Song The Radio Won't Like"
2005 "Back To Me" Deaton-Flanigen Productions
"In State" Steven Goldmann
2008 "The Cheapest Key" Peter Zavadil
"I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory" Trey Fanjoy
2011 "Change The Sheets
2013 "Chameleon/Comedian"

Contributed as primary artist[edit]

  • 2003: VA - Cities 97 Sampler: Live from the Cities 97's Studio C - 15th Anniversary (KTCZ) [track 3 - "Six O'Clock News" (live)]
  • 2003: VA - City Folk Live VI: More Exclusive, Live Performances from the Studios of WFUV in New York City. (WFUV) [track 7 - "6 O'Clock News" (sic) (live)]
  • 2003: VA - Greetings from Area Code: Maine 207 Volume 4 - 98.9 WCLZ (WCLZ) [disc 2, track 8 - "Hockey Skates" (live)]
  • 2003: VA - Madison's Progressive Radio: 105.5 Triple M - Live from Studio M Volume 3 (WMMM) [track 12 - "Six O'Clock News" (live)]
  • 2003: VA - 92.9 WBOS: Live from the Archives Volume 1 - Studio 7 (WBOS) [track 14 - "Six O'Clock News" (live)]
  • 2003: VA - 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin: Broadcasts Vol. 11 (KGSR) [disc 2, track - 6 "Six O'Clock News" (live)]
  • 2004: VA - Sweetheart: Love Songs - Our Favorite Artists Cover Their Favorite Love Songs. [track 4 - "A Face in the Crowd" (Tom Petty cover)]
  • 2005: VA - Live At The World Cafe XX: V. Twenty - WXPN 88.5 (WXPN) [track 4 - "Back To Me" (live)]
  • 2005: VA - 92.9 WBOS: Studio 7 - Live from the Archives 3 (WBOS) [track 14 - "Back to Me" (live)]
  • 2005: VA - 102.1 KPRI: Rock Without Rules! - Live Tracks Volume 3 (KPRI) [track 2 - "Back to Me" (live)]
  • 2005: VA - 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin: Broadcasts Vol. 13 (KGSR) [disc 2, track 1 - "Back To Me" (live)]
  • 2006: VA - 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin: Broadcasts Vol. 14 (KGSR) [disc 1, track 9 - "Unknown Legend" (live) (Neil Young cover)]
  • 2007: VA - 91.3 FM KXCI Presents: Live from Studio 2A Volume VII (KXCI) [track 7 - "Back to Me" (live)]
  • 2009: VA - FUV Live 12: More Exclusive, Live Performances from the Studios of WFUV in New York City - 90.7 wfuv.org (WFUV) [track 10 - "The Golden State" (live) (with John Doe)]
  • 2009: VA - Live & Direct 11: 91.3 FM - WYEP (WYEP) [track 1 - "Asking for Flowers" (live)]
  • 2011: VA - National Parks Project: Gwaii Haanas / Wapusk (EP) (FilmCan / Last Gang) [track D2 - "Wapusk - MB" (with Matt Mays & Sam Roberts) & track D5 - "On the Tundra - MB" (with Matt Mays & Sam Roberts)]
  • 2012: VA - KINK Live 15 (KINK) [track 3 - "Change the Sheets" (live)]
  • 2012: VA - Live at the World Cafe Volume 34: WXPN (WXPN) [track 16 - "Change the Sheets" (live)]
  • 2013: VA - The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver (ATO) [track 3 - "All Of My Memories"]

Appears on[edit]


  • 2004: Return To Sin City: A Tribute To Gram Parsons (Image Entertainment) ["We'll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning" (with John Doe) (live)]
  • 2004: Toronto Rocks {2 DVD / Canadian Edition} (TGA DVD) ["One More Song the Radio Won't Like" (live), "Mercury" (live) & "6 O'Clock News" (sic) (live)]
  • 2004: A Zoe / Rounder Video Compilation: Watch This! (Zoe Vision) ["Six O'Clock News" (music video)]
  • 2005: Farm Aid: 20th Anniversary Concert (Image Entertainment) ["Independent Thief" (live)]
  • 2010: NPP: National Parks Project (VSC)

As composer[edit]

  • 2016: Jack and Amanda Palmer - You Got Me Singing (8 ft. Records) [track 9 - "Pink Emerson Radio"]

In TV[edit]

  • 2019: The Order (episode 10) - Netflix

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result[citation needed]
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
2008 Polaris Music Prize 2008 Polaris Music Prize - Asking for Flowers 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
Polaris Music Prize 2012 Polaris Music Prize - Voyageur Nominated
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 (April 26, 2008). "Kathleen Edwards Method Acting". Exclaim.ca. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  3. ^ "Past Nominees and Winners". SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "Album: Kathleen Edwards, Voyageur (Rounder)". The Independent. January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  5. ^ (March 4, 2008). "Kathleen Edwards gets politically charged Archived July 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine", Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Langness, David (March 1, 2008). "Kathleen Edwards: A Songwriter's Progress", Paste. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  7. ^ Deziel, Shanda (February 17, 2003). "Alt-country's New "It" Girl: Kathleen Edwards Archived August 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  8. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Kathleen Edwards: Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  9. ^ "25 best Canadian debut albums ever". CBC Music, June 16, 2017.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "2008 – Winners and Nominees". Polaris Music Prize. Archived from the original on August 13, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  12. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Unveils 'Voyageur'". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  13. ^ Brock Thiessen, "Kathleen Edwards Emerges with Her First New Song Since 2012". Exclaim!, November 6, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Jonathan Bernstein, "Kathleen Edwards Left Behind Roots-Music Stardom to Sell Coffee. Now She’s Back". Rolling Stone, May 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Kathleen Edwards On Taking A Break From Music And Finding 'Total Freedom'". NPR.org. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  16. ^ allmusic ((( Matt Mays + El Torpedo > Overview )))
  17. ^ kathleenedwards.org Archived September 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  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 May 4, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Wheeler, Brad (October 19, 2012). "Kathleen Edwards, John Roderick". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  21. ^ Dearmore, Kelly (September 12, 2011). "Kathleen Edwards: "Justin [Vernon] Helped Me Construct Something That's a 180 For Me." | Dallas Observer". Blogs.dallasobserver.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  22. ^ Downing, Andy (September 25, 2012). "Kathleen Edwards gets personal on new album". 77 Square. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  23. ^ "Kathleen Edwards gives Madison its money's worth in fearless show : Arts-madisondotcom". Host.madison.com. September 28, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  24. ^ "No quitter: Kathleen Edwards finds a new path in Stittsville coffee shop". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  25. ^ "Kathleen Edwards and Matt Mays to headline final day of Peterborough Folk Festival". Kawartha Now, June 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Corey Atad, "Canadian Singer Kathleen Edwards Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles Following Death Of Neal Casal". ET Canada, August 28, 2019.
  27. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  28. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  29. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  30. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  31. ^ "Kathleen Edwards Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  32. ^ "Kathleen Edwards - Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.

External links[edit]