Story by Annie Da Silva
Photos by JSLVR Photography
Award-winning Calgarian Kate Stevens’ vocal talents are diverse with a mix of emotive folk and soulful pop with major influences from timeless voices such as Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Her vocals combine uniquely with the sound of her chosen instruments, the ukulele, the piano and the guitar. She creates distinctive melodies and meaningful lyrics. Kate is a community builder, collaborator and supporter for youth musicians.
Kate Stevens seems to bring the sunshine with her into every room; her warm grassroots vibe emits a comfortability that creates space for constant giggles over casual coffee. The iconic Lukes Drug Mart was the perfect scene to catch up and chat about her upcoming single “Meant For Me.” After a sneak peek of the track days prior, Kate’s new song had been stuck in my head on repeat, offering a summery soundtrack to the change in season!
When did you begin writing music and performing?
For me, music was never Plan B. This is always just what I want to do and I don’t see myself doing anything other than music. I found a ukulele at a garage sale when I was about 11 or 12 and that was my catalyst for songwriting and performing around Calgary.
Was there a moment that made you decide to pursue this career?
I started taking music seriously as a career when I was about 15. The connection I felt with the audiences while playing my original tunes made me feel something I hadn’t felt before; it just locked and felt right.
What three ice cream flavours best describe your music?
The three ice cream flavors that best describe my music would have to either be Strawberry, Pistachio or Birthday Cake. All flavours are tasty and are generally enjoyed by everyone/easily accessible… (I hope).
Who are some of your favourite songwriters?
I draw most of my inspiration from the female songstresses of the 70s; Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon were very present growing up in my household. I remember my mom turning on “Tapestry” for the 34th time while cooking dinner. The lyrics and tonal structures of their songs resonate with me and my writing style.
What is your favourite shower singing song?
I have so many! My go-to would have to be Evergreen by YEBBA. I’m a huge vocal nerd and the way the harmonies move throughout the song just hit me a certain way. That or any Joni Mitchell tune ever.
What is the inspiration behind the new release “Meant for Me”?
I wanted “Meant for Me” to highlight all the sweet and sultry aspects of a budding summer fling. I’m so excited to share the track because of the visual imagery highlighted by the push and pull of the melodic lines.
“Meant for Me” comes as a dual release with the A side featuring the full single recorded and produced by Juno award-winning musician and producer Russell Broom at OCL studios in Alberta. The acoustic version was recorded and produced in Toronto at the Coalition for Music Chapel; this version is as pure as it gets, mesmerizing the listener with the raw and clean sound.
What’s next for you and your music? Any big releases or shows coming up?
I’m so thrilled to be singing with the Calgary Stampede Showband for their field show and every day of Stampede. It has been a phenomenal experience bonding with the members and being a part of the Show Band family!
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I’m so excited to share these two tunes with everyone; I think they show a sweeter more intimate side to my music and my growth as an artist. I wanted to do a dual release with both tracks to show the first draft and the finished product – to really give a behind the scenes of my movement in this recording process.
“Meant for Me” comes as a collaboration with an amazing organization Prophets Of Music; all the members and everyone at OCL studios brought this vision to life and i can’t wait for listeners to hear it!
“I’ll close my eyes and pretend you’re here with me, just like your sweet melody; stuck in my head, tell me how do I forget the words only you meant for me?”