Kathryn Calder is an unlikely indie pop star
The more one considers her decidedly un–rock ’n’ roll childhood, the stranger it seems that Kathryn Calder has ended up where she is today.
Her often charmed life has her positioned as a potent double threat. Indie-pop addicts know Calder as a member of the New Pornographers, which she joined as a singer and keyboard player in 2005. Not content to ride shotgun with one of the most critically adored bands in North America, she branched out last year with the gorgeous solo debut Are You My Mother?. On the heels of that record comes an as-yet-untitled second solo album that Calder has already recorded and plans to release this fall.
Hanging out with the Georgia Straight in a tranquil community garden in the shadow of the Biltmore Cabaret, the almost insanely nice 29-year-old admits that she’s learned something about herself as she’s gotten older.
“I’m a big workaholic,” she says with a laugh. “I didn’t know that about myself, but apparently I like to bite off more than I can chew. We started the new record last winter. Basically, I was on tour with the New Pornographers, and when I was home we did the recording. So on my time off, I was recording, and on my non–time off, I was touring.”
Factor in the solo swings that she’s done since the release of Are You My Mother? plus her previous life as a member of Mint Recording artists Immaculate Machine, and the easygoing brunette has spent much of her adult life on-stage as an indie rocker with plenty of cool cachet. What makes that odd is that no one predicted her being in the pop-music spotlight, including Calder, and not just because she was raised in a house where classical music dominated the stereo.
Looking back, she remembers being one of those quiet kids who excelled at school. “I was always flying a bit by the seat of my pants,” she admits. “But I did worry about upsetting my teachers, so I would always make sure that I got my homework done. I think a lot of it was that I was really shy at school, so I didn’t want any attention brought to myself that wasn’t necessary. So I would show up, do the work, and not make a fuss. I was never an attention seeker.”
How strange, then, that she’s getting plenty of attention today, the best thing about that being that it couldn’t be more deserved.