WEST COAST ROCK WON­DER­FULLY WEIRD

Meet Bri­tish Columbia’s an­swer to Bon­nie Raitt.

Elle (Canada) - - Radar -

rock,folk, swamp—what­ever you want to call Kan­dle Os­borne’s take on singer-with-a-gui­tar, it’s crazy good. She has a voice like fine-gauge sand­pa­per, a cool-girl way with knee socks and a talent for raw-lyric an­thems you can stomp your feet to.

“If I ever write a happy song, it’s usu­ally a joke,” says the 23-year-old B.C. na­tive. “But when some­thing is wrong, I wake up in the night and I’m like ‘Holy shit! Grab the gui­tar!’”

Os­borne’s de­but al­bum, In Flames, pro­duced with Bro­ken So­cial Scene’s Sam Gold­berg Jr., has got­ten her in­die-scene at­ten­tion at home and a Euro­pean tour. But like many tal­ented Cana­dian mu­si­cians, she’s still strug­gling. “To sur­vive as a mu­si­cian in Canada is hard. You play sold-out shows and sign au­to­graphs, and then you’ve got to wake up early and go clean some­one’s house as a day job.”

Those highs and lows are re­flected on the al­bum, which melds catchy hooks with gutwrench­ingly-raw emo­tion. “I can’t even lis­ten to the ti­tle track, ‘In Flames,’ with­out want­ing to cry, it’s so dark,” ad­mits the singer, who cred­its the sound­track from The Good, the Bad & the Ugly as be­ing her ear­li­est mu­si­cal in­flu­ence. “I didn’t want to per­form it at all, but then we did it at the al­bum launch and it was so spooky and we re­ally got into it.”

And, yes, Kan­dle is her real name. “If I’d made up a stage name, it would be way cooler than ‘Kan­dle,’” she says, laugh­ing. “Last time I went to Star­bucks, they ac­tu­ally called out ‘Cra­dle,’ and I was like, re­ally?”

El­iza Robertson won the 2013 Com­mon­wealth Short Story Prize, so you’d ex­pect her de­but collection, Wall­flow­ers, to be beau­ti­fully writ­ten. (And it is.) What’s sur­pris­ing is the de­light­ful wack­i­ness of a vol­ume filled with tales of slugs and camels that is sud­denly punc­tu­ated by a story about some­thing as in­cred­i­bly ba­nal as set­ting up a bird feeder. “Those are just the things I was in­ter­ested in,” says the 26-year-old Robertson. “I’m fine with be­ing la­belled quirky!” Al­though she has been liv­ing in the U.K. since com­plet­ing her mas­ter’s there (for which she re­ceived a schol­ar­ship from the Booker Prize Foun­da­tion, no bigs), Robertson cred­its her Van­cou­ver Is­land child­hood, com­plete with roam­ing black bears, with mak­ing her writ­ing a lit­tle “wild.” “I love where I come from; I can’t not write about it,” she says. “It’s al­most an in­evitabil­ity: Your sur­round­ings seep into your work.” ■

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