Canadian singer Kathleen Edwards tells Tony Clayton-lea about the perils of writing about relationships, and the long journey to releasing her fine new album,
“Well, it feels a lot better that it’s out in the world, instead of having finished it and then a long period of time without anyone really hearing it. I was in Dublin last fall opening for Bon Iver [Justin Vernon is Edwards’s current partner], and while the album was finished it was almost like having my hands tied in that I was more than ready to be playing the new songs, but because the album wasn’t actually out I was almost prohibited. Years of my life have been wrapped up in Voyageur – creatively, I felt like I’d crossed over into new territory for myself that was really fun, rewarding and challenging.
“For the record to sit on a shelf for a while kind of took the wind out of my sails. It was as if all that hard work hadn’t really added up to anything.” release music. It’s validating that it’s out now, of course, and the truth is that I feel like I’m being heard for the first time. The record isn’t really in the same genre of music that I existed in before, so I feel hopeful in that the next few years are going to be interesting. I don’t feel like I’m going to be tied to a certain type of music anymore, that’s for sure.”
“This record is all of those, and in retrospect I realise I did put a lot of my own information out there. And it’s not like it’s just my details – it’s my ex-husband, who is also involved in this story. It’s almost like it feels unfair that I’ve told everybody things that maybe I didn’t want to be out there. Of course, I’m probably not the only person who goes through this stuff, but I’m the only one telling people about it, and so I feel the opportunity to be judged is far greater, and maybe that is something I wish I had not done.” “Ha! Oh, I think that’s probably just my own insecurity coming out when I say stuff like that. If I could say one thing: every record has a story and sometimes you feel like your life or your artistic work, cumulatively, is larger than the person you broke up with – or even the story itself. Sometimes there is more to the picture than the boy that was in it, you know? Some interviews to date have focused on the album being a divorce or break-up album or a new love album, but it’s just a snapshot of life. Maybe the album is relationship-heavy, but I have far more interesting things happening in my heart and in my head than just who I’m currently in love with. That stuff is important if one-dimensional.”