BC-born singer-songwriter, Kandle Osborne, is catharsis personified. Embodying equal parts cabaret chanteuse and ambitious rock singer, she’s covered everything in her inky blues-influenced songs from heartbreak, sexual assault, chronic illness and a loss of power, providing an immense release for her listeners with her treacle-dipped voice. Kandle discovered a true love for music in Nancy Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Shirley Bassey to name just a few. Strong influences from the fierce female greats of a gone era, Kandle writes, and sings exclusively with her heart; something so often void in the modern era of overproduced perfection. Kandle sings honest and raw, vulnerable yet empowered, never afraid to pen, even life’s heaviest moments.
After years battling through the infamously cold and stark music industry and finally escaping the shackles of sour recording contracts, Kandle broke free from her label ties in March of 2020, and suddenly found herself in full control of her music. “Having total creative control and freedom to run my business the way I want to… No more lies, no more corruption, no more sexism,” reflects Kandle on her newfound creative independence. “I struggle with the workload for sure, and with finding the money to keep going and do all the things a label would do! Having said that, I feel so much happier and more powerful since I’ve stopped being a puppet and trying to do whatever I’m told I should. I only follow my own instincts now and if I make a mistake, it will be my own and I will learn from it.”
In the summer of 2020, Kandle dropped a brand new EP titled, Stick Around and Find Out – her first release as an independent artist.
“Stick Around and Find Out came on the heels of a year roaming around as I searched to solve all of my difficulties, figure out who I am and what I’m capable of independently and where I felt I should be,” she says. “I never stayed in one place long enough to anchor myself, and I was thinking at the time that whatever ‘answers’ I was searching for could be found somewhere other than within me. The EP is the product of my reclamation of artistic independence while adrift across the world. The songs are a chronicle of the journey I took, leading to where I’ve arrived now, Vancouver – my new home. Each song shares a commonality – each was recorded in a different city by a different producer, with the exception of one tune, and each was written in a day.”
Produced with Martin “Youth” Glover(Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, The Verve), Liam O’Neil( Kings of Leon), and Warne Livesey (Midnight Oil, Matthew Goode), Stick Around And Find Out earned her wide critical praise from national and international publications, and landed her in over 100 press features, including Ladygunn, Vice, Exclaim! and American Songwriter. The EP has racked up over 100k streams to date, and received national airplay on CBC radio, with album-track, How Can You Hurt Me, hitting #1 on CBC Radio 3’s Top 30, where the song charted in the top 10 for three weeks.
Now, Kandle is setting her sights on her next project – her upcoming fourth album. While the new album – which is currently untitled – may have been recorded under extraordinary circumstances (while under lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic), Kandle streamlined her focus and vision. She steps into her self-worth with the confidence of a true veteran who is capable of taking any situation and finding an opportunity for a deeper emotional connection. If her past has provided catharsis, her future is all about empowerment.
The album’s lead single, Lock & Load – set to drop on November 12 – showcases a seriously fresh sound with an undeniably classic tone. Inspired by the desire to write a bond theme, Kandle’s Shirley Bassey-like vocal commands the orchestra with a heart-wrenching vibrato, while the band evokes a timeless feel and touch. The track is unapologetically daring and grandiose, but also beautifully intimate at the same time. A raw sound that people are so desperate for, in a world of perfection.
The beginnings of the recording took place long before the days of social distancing and self-isolation, but how it began was not too different. “Kandle already had most of the songs written and roughly demoed well before we got in the studio,” says London-based producer Michael Rendall. “We had been working back and forth on [songs] vía iMessage towards the end of 2019.”
The recording process then began in March of 2020, only a few short days before the JUNO Awards in Saskatoon were cancelled and the music industry was turned on its head.
“It became very serious very quickly,” Kandle remembers. “As the days went by, recording music wasn’t enough to keep the talk of pandemic from seeping into every conversation, obviously. We definitely had a few moments of panic and fear and trying to figure out safe places to stay, who was willing to let us quarantine on their couch, where to get food. But the record became our small beacon of light in the chaos of uncertainty. By the second week there were just four of us left and we just basically self-isolated together. We were referring to ourselves as a quaranteam; we were there every day and night and eventually the studio owner called us and told us to stay and said we could bring a mattress in there if we needed to. We didn’t end up doing that, but that’s how into it we got. We’d go into work mode for 14 or 15 hours straight and just sleep and repeat.”
Produced by Rendall and created with some of Kandle’s closest collaborators (Devon Portielje, Louise Burns, Kendel Carson Debra Jean, Creelman, Dave Genn, Nik Pesut), the record exudes confidence, sensuality and maturity only gained by spending an entire life in music. After a few short days of pre-production, “we cut each track and watched the magic of the players unfold.” says Rendall. “We recorded everything with an old-school mentality: as few microphones as possible and plenty of room tone. Each song gained its own personality, warts and all.”
The ever-present cinematic quality to her music comes as no surprise, having both a JUNO nomination for best music video and the Prism Prize under her belt for her song Not Up To Me, off 2014’s critically acclaimed album, In Flames. She also appears in Jack White’s 2018 music video for Corporation.
Growing up in the music industry as the daughter of Neil Osborne (5440) has provided Kandle’s artistry with a unique insight. She brings a seasoned performance to every line and every word, channeling over a decade of touring the globe – including France, China, and North America – and has collaborated with some of Canada’s finest songwriters, such as Sam Roberts, Coeur de pirate, Peter Dremanis (July Talk) and Devon Portielje (Half Moon Run). There are no gimmicks here, no trite attempts at making playlist-friendly and disposable ear-candy. Instead, this is an artist at her most empowered and authentic. An artist who by sharing her own story of healing, can help us all do the same.
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