Kinnie Starr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kinnie Starr
Kinnie Starr at Westfest 2008 - 3.jpg
Starr performing in Ottawa, Ontario at Westfest 2008
Background information
Birth nameAlida Kinnie Starr
Born1970 (age 48–49)
OriginCalgary, Alberta, Canada
GenresCanadian hip hop, alternative rock
Years active1995–present
LabelsAporia Records (current), Mercury/Def Jam

Alida Kinnie Starr (born 1970) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Her music, which blends hip hop and alternative rock, has been described as "hip hop aggro groove". Her songs have been included on the soundtracks for the TV series The L Word and the movie Thirteen. She was nominated for the Juno Award for New Artist of the Year in 2004.


Starr is vocal about her Aboriginal heritage (her father, Michael Starr, is mixed-blood Mohawk) both in her music and her life. In 2006 she mentored aspiring Aboriginal musicians at the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association's Aboriginal Music Program (AMP) Camp. Starr has also been open about her bisexuality, making her popular in the queer community.[1]


Starr attended Western Canada High School and Queen's University. After finishing school, she moved to Vancouver to pursue her music career. In 1992 she formed her first band there, but it was a trip to New York City that revealed the true extent of her talent, when a friend pushed her onstage at an East Village club's open-mic night. Her impromptu spoken-word poetry received three encores from the enthusiastic crowd.

Following a self-released demo called Learning 2 Cook in 1995, she released her debut album Tidy in 1996, mixing rock, punk, pop, and hip-hop, along with her trademark spoken-word poetry. On that album, she rapped in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.

Starr signed to major label group Island/Def Jam in 1997, following a massive bidding war during which Clive Davis personally flew out to dine the young artist to try and sign her to his roster of pop stars.[2] The next year, Seagram bought Polygram, the parent company of Island Def Jam, and merged it into Universal Music Group. In the resulting upheaval, Starr felt she was lost in the shuffle and she asked to be released from her contract. The material she recorded for her first album with Island Def Jam, 1998's Mending was never released, though some record labels have talked of releasing the lost album.

Cirque du Soleil had pursued Starr to sing in their productions, and in 2003 she contracted with them to perform in Zumanity for two years. After releasing her 2003 album Sun Again, she moved to Las Vegas. However, she was back home in Canada by the following year.

In 1997, Starr appeared on the Lilith Fair tour. In the late '90s and in 2004, she toured Canada with Veda Hille and Oh Susanna as part of the "Scrappy Bitch Tour". She performed in November 2000 at Lee's Palace in Toronto.[3]

In 2001, she played Reggie in Down and Out with the Dolls, a Kurt Voss movie about a fictional all-girl rock band.

Starr creates the visual artwork that appears on her album covers and liner notes.

Starr has enlisted other Canadian musicians to appear on her albums over the years, including Swollen Members' Moka Only, Coco Love Alcorn, former Dream Warrior Spek and Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara. Nelly Furtado credits Starr as an influence. Starr also produced the album We Are... by Digging Roots, which won the Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2010.

Starr appeared as a guest on The Rachel Maddow Show on August 11, 2006. On August 31, her single "Anything" was the first-ever #1 single on CBC Radio 3's new countdown show The R3-30.

In 2011, she was honoured as a Pioneer in Canadian Hip Hop Culture by the ManifesTO festival.[4]

Starr also took a hard political stand for the issues surrounding water, both in her home country of Canada and worldwide, during a performance at Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 2013.[5]

Starr conceptualized, hosted and co-produced the 2016 documentary Play Your Gender, which explores the gender gap in the music industry whereby only 5% of producers are female. Produced by Sahar Yousefi and directed by Stephanie Clattenburg, the documentary premiered at the Canberra Film Festival in Australia.[6]

She has also been featured in BC Musician Magazine for her role in "Play Your Gender." [7]

The documentary has been screened at multiple festivals with Starr speaking about the women in music at panels as well. In 2018, the film was screened at Reeperbahn Festival as part of the "Key Change Festival Initiative.[8]

Recently, Starr has contributed to Edge of the Knife as a composer [9]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2004 Sun Again Juno Awards, New Artist of the Year Nominated
2010 Digging Roots' album We Are (Producer) Juno Awards, Aboriginal Album of the Year Won[10]
2014 Haida Raid 3: Save Our Waters — Kinnie Starr (Musician) & Amanda Strong (Director) imagiNative Film & Media Arts Festival, Best Music Video Won[11]


  • "Play Your Gender" (host, curator & co-producer). Director: Stephanie Clattenburg. Producer: Sahar Yousefi

Music videos[edit]

  • "Ophelia" Director: Marsha Herle
  • "Month of Trickery" Director: Marsha Herle
  • "Nearer" Director: Marsha Herle
  • "Home is Everywhere" Director: Hannah C
  • "Go Go See It" Director: Hannah C
  • "High Heels" Director: Hannah C

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kinnie Star Home everwhere". Vancouver Sun
  2. ^ "Manifesto Festival Magazine Vol.5 by Manifesto Community Projects". Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  3. ^ "LIVE: Kinnie Starr w/ Sook-Yin Lee & Tara Chase Tuesday November 07, 2000 @ 10:30 AM Nov. 3, 2000 Lee's Palace Toronto, ON". ChartAttack, Review By: Darrin Keene
  4. ^ [1] Archived June 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Thorkelson, Erika (Aug 9, 2013). "Electro Artist Kinnie Starr Sings Out for Water". The Narwhal. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  6. ^ "Film about gender gap in music industry screens at Reel 2 Real festival". CBC News, Apr 03, 2017
  7. ^ "Playing her gender: Kinnie Starr" . BC Musician Magazine • May 19, 2017
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Kinnie Starr - Kiss It Review | New Canadian Music Mobile". 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  11. ^ "2014 Award Winners". imagiNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. Archived from the original on 2015-07-31.

External links[edit]