Rising From The Great White North: Award-Winning Métis Singer-Songwriter & Actor Kaeley Jade
By Stevie Connor.
I write a lot of articles about Canadian artists, and also about artists from many countries around the world for The Sound Café . Mainly these artists are established and have large followings in their home country and also internationally. With The Sound Café HQ being based in Ontario, Canada, I get sent many e-mails from performers that I am not that familiar with from across this vast country, in an array of genres, and I wanted space to shine a light on some of these very talented artists.
To define 'emerging' can be a little tricky, some singer-songwriters, bands, musicians can spend a few years playing locally before they are recognized regionally, and may take a number of years of hard work and touring to be acknowledged nationally, so, to clarify this column, I am going to feature artists who I think are beginning to 'emerge', or already have 'emerged ' from their local or regional scenes.
I decided to create a column exclusively for The Sound Café called 'Rising from The Great White North', where I'll showcase 'emerging' talent from across Canada. I hope you enjoy the features and come back and visit again.
Kaeley Jade is an award-winning Métis singer/songwriter, actor, and multidisciplinary artist based in Edmonton, Alberta (amiskwaciwâskahikan).
Blending lush imagery and hooky melodic lines to create her own brand of pop-forward indie folk music, Kaeley Jade has performed at venues and festivals across Canada. Past performances include the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, JUNOfest, BreakOut West, Coldsnap, NXNE, The Canmore Folk Music Festival, and the Tkaronto Music Festival, and she has shared the stage with Feist, Digging Roots, Preston Pablo, Billy Joe Green, Anders, Delhi 2 Dublin, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Grammy-winner Bill “Birdsong” Miller.
Kaeley moves between ballads and bops with ease, and she brings an electricity to the stage whether she is playing an intimate acoustic set or playing alongside her full five-piece band (Gabriel Gagnon on guitar/vocals, Katie Demuynck on piano/vocals, Kelsey Wood on electric bass/vocals, and Jordan Poirier on drums/vocals).
Since dropping her debut EP, Years Ago, in 2020, Kaeley has been making waves in the Canadian music scene — her music has received radio play across the globe, has been reviewed by publications worldwide, and has been featured in several film and television productions, including Hockey Night in Canada (Sportsnet). Kaeley’s artistry has also been recognized on a national level as a 3x Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee, Western Canadian Music Award Nominee, Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award Winner and 3x Nominee, SOCAN Indigenous Songwriter Awards Finalist, and the 2023 Henry Armstrong Award Recipient.
Alongside her career as a singer/songwriter, Kaeley also works as a professional actor for theatre and film; she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the University of Alberta and is the current Festival Director of the Ukrainian Village Music Fest.
An artist keen on expanding her knowledge across disciplines, Kaeley is a current member of the 2022/2023 cohorts of the Citadel Theatre RBC Horizon Emerging Artist Program, where she is specializing in sound design and composition. She is also enrolled in the N’we Jinan ArtWorks Young Professional Artists Program, and she is an alumnus of the RBCxMusic First Up Program and Manitoba Music’s Indigenous Music Residency.
Kaeley’s involvement in the music, theatre and film ecosystems have sparked a desire to seek opportunities to weave her disciplines together, allowing her to compose original music for several theatre and film projects, design the concepts behind her albums and music videos, and design her merchandise. Kaeley recently joined forces with award-winning playwright Trevor Schmidt to create the critically-acclaimed musical Two-Headed/Half-Hearted, a country-folk musical described as a “prairie-gothic song cycle about mythology and mermaids for conjoined twins.” An eighteen-song musical featuring themes of sisterhood, identity, and family, Two-Headed/Half-Hearted saw its worldwide premiere at Northern Light Theatre in April 2022, featuring Kaeley in the role of Venus.
Her innate talent for working in multiple disciplines demonstrates a depth and fullness in her debut full-length album, Turpentine.
Produced by the JUNO-nominated team at Velveteen Music, Turpentine explores the multifaceted experience of falling in love. Taking inspiration from a roster of artists that include The Lumineers, Fleetwood Mac, and Maggie Rogers, the album travels through raucous, danceable tracks like “Painless” (which hit #1 on the international charts of the Indigenous Music Countdown), intimate and conversational ballads like “The Letter” and “Turpentine,” and raw and emotional albums like “Just Like You” (which features a performance from award-winning folk artist Julian Taylor). Turpentine invites us to love fiercely, to strip away the armour we wear, and to find strength in our vulnerability.
Outside of her artistic endeavours, Kaeley spends her free time enjoying the great outdoors — she loves yoga, hiking, volleyball, and camping—painting, drawing, and spending time with her family, her friends, and her pets.
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This article is a regular monthly contribution, published exclusively in The Sound Café with the intention of providing you with information on artists that you might not have heard of, but I think are truly worthy of exploring further.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Stevie has been moving in music circles since he could walk and has played all over the world.
He moved to Canada in 2009 and gave up a playing career, he formed a company with his wife and commenced putting on shows in soft seater venues which saw them being nominated for a national cultural award. Ten years ago Blues & Roots Radio was formed, winning four business awards in five years, and he found himself working with amazing artists from many countries around the world, which led to the creation of The Sound Café in June 2020. He is a selfless supporter of artists in Canada, in various ways, through his podcast, his internet radio station, PR company, website design, and most recently through his online music magazine, The Sound Café . Over the last decade Stevie has been honoured to sit as a juror on national music awards panels, including The JUNO's, The Canadian Folk Music Awards and The Maple Blues Awards. He is also writing a book about his journey in music, which he is hoping will be finished in 2024.
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