Kathleen Edwards (born July 11, 1978 in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. Her 2003 debut album, Failer, contained the singles "Six O'Clock News" and "Hockey Skates". 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.
Edwards, the daughter of a diplomat, spent portions of her youth in Korea 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. 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. Her brother also bought her first record, a Tom Petty album. After high school she decided not to attend college, instead opting to play local clubs to pay the bills. Her musical sound has been compared to Suzanne Vega meets Neil Young.
In 2011, she divorced longtime collaborator Colin Cripps and began a relationship with Justin Vernon, American singer/songwriter and front man of the band Bon Iver. Edwards and Vernon separated in 2012.
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 releaseFailer.
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" also featured on the soundtrack of the movie Elizabethtown starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst.
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", and was a shortlisted nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. 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.
She appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on January 17, 2012, singing "Change the Sheets" from her new album Voyageur.
In 2005, Edwards lent her vocals to the duet "The Plan", recorded with Matt Mays and El Torpedo for their self-titled album. In 2006, she was nominated for Juno Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for Back to Me. In 2007, Edwards worked with John Doe, of the punk rock band X, on his solo album A Year in the Wilderness. She sings vocals on three tracks.
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". 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.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Back to Me||
|Asking for Flowers||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2003||"Six O'Clock News"||Failer|
|"One More Song the Radio Won't Like"|
|2005||"Back to Me"||Back to Me|
|2008||"The Cheapest Key"||Asking for Flowers|
|"I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory"|
|2011||"Change the Sheets"||Voyageur|
|2006||"Married Again"||Jim Cuddy||The Light That Guides You Home|