Thursday, November 02, 2017

Happy Birthday to Singer, Songwriter k.d. lang

Kathryn Dawn Lang was born today, November 2, in 1961. She is known by her stage name k.d. lang, a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress.

Lang has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances; hits include "Constant Craving" and "Miss Chatelaine." She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has collaborated with musicians including Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Elton John, and Anne Murray. Lang is also known for being an animal rights, gay rights, and Tibetan human rights activist. She is a tantric practitioner of the old school of Tibetan Buddhism. She is also known for performing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" live at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Early in her career, singing at country and western venues in Canada, Lang began to establish an appearance and style referred to as "cowboy punk." 

Lang made several recordings that received very positive reviews and earned a 1985 Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist. She has won a total of eight Juno Awards.

In 1986, Lang signed a contract with an American record producer in Nashville, Tennessee, and received critical acclaim for her 1987 album, Angel with a Lariat, which was produced by Dave Edmunds.

Lang first earned international recognition in 1988 when she performed as "The Alberta Rose" at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Lang's career received a huge boost when Roy Orbison chose her to record a duet of his standard, "Crying," a collaboration that won them the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1989. Due to the success of the song, Lang received the Entertainer of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association. Lang would win the same award for the next three years, in addition to two Female Vocalist of the Year awards in 1988 and 1989.

1988 marked the release of Shadowland, an album of torch country. In late 1988, Shadowland was named Album of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association. That year she also performed "Turn Me Round" at the closing ceremonies of the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.

Lang won the American Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her 1989 album, Absolute Torch and Twang. The single "Full Moon Full of Love" that stemmed from that album became a modest hit in the United States in the middle of 1989 and a Number 1 hit on the RPM Country chart in Canada.

In 1989, she sang a duet, "Sin City," with Dwight Yoakam on his album Just Lookin' for a Hit.

The 1992 album, Ingénue, a set of adult-oriented pop songs that showed comparatively little country influence, contained her most popular song, "Constant Craving." That song brought her multi-million sales, much critical acclaim, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Another top 10 single from the record was "Miss Chatelaine."

She contributed much of the music toward Gus Van Sant's soundtrack of the film Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and also did a cover of "Skylark" for the 1997 film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

In 2003, she won her fourth Grammy Award, this time for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her collaboration with Tony Bennett on A Wonderful World.

On February 5, 2008, she released an album of new material entitled Watershed. It was her first collection of original material since the release of her 2000 album, Invincible Summer.

Lang played the lead in the 1991 drama film, Salmonberries, and also co-starred with Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd in Eye of the Beholder in 1999. She had an uncredited role as a lounge singer in 2006's The Black Dahlia. She was on the famous coming out episode of Ellen. She appeared on the Christmas special of Pee Wee's Playhouse, where she performed the song "Jingle Bell Rock."

In 2014, she appeared in the Season 4 finale of Portlandia as an exaggerated version of herself.

Lang made her Broadway debut as the "Special Guest Star" in Broadway's After Midnight, replacing Fantasia Barrino and to be succeeded by Toni Braxton and Babyface. She appeared from February 11 to March 9, 2014.

Lang, who came out as a lesbian in a June 1992 article of the LGBT news magazinThe Advocate, has championed gay rights causes.

On November 11, 2009, she entered into a domestic partnership with Jamie Price whom she had met in 2003. After separating on September 6, 2011, Lang filed for a dissolution of the partnership.

In 2012, she moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon.

1 comment:

Raybeard said...

I'm not quite sure when I first became aware of this lovely person, but it must have been before her 1991 film 'Salmonberries' as I'd made the special effort to search it out especially because she was in it.
Ever since I first heard her singing I've just loved her voice, the antidote to all these horrific warblings and whoops ("Oh, so sophisticated!") which have been staple fayre with most singers (and ALL budding wannabees) ever since that ugly manner was popularised by the late Whitney (who herself managed to do it at least acceptably). KDL's voice is as straight as a needle, as all voices ought to be, to my mind. Ask one of today's 'popular young things' to sing a song just as it was written, with no 'embellishments' at all, and I bet that the vast majority of them couldn't do it, always feeling that there's something 'wrong' if they don't decorate or deviate from the written line. Not our KDL. She can sing precisely as the composer intended it - as should everyone be able to.

I did have a paperback biography of her life (it may well have been her autob. - written back in the 90s or early 00s?) which I picked up in a second-hand bookshop but which, to my regret, I never got round to reading because, I must admit, I kept postponing for fear that it might reveal something about her which I'd rather not have known. Pity, 'cos I now think that the book was a casualty of a clear-out in anticipation of an imminent hoped-for move of mine, so it's probably on a shelf of one of the dozen or so charity shops I donated to - or it's been snapped up.

Anyway, we still don't hear nearly enough of that divine voice as it deserves.