Alberta’s Kate Stevens adds sweetness to your life through her angelic voice and soulful music. She is an individual that radiates joy and good vibes. Her music showcases her personality and captures her essence wonderfully, and has been very present in her province’s music scene over the past few years, always looking to getting more involved with each opportunity.
I discovered Stevens a couple of years ago and instantly fell in love with her voice. It’s bright, sweet, and powerful. She has an incredible range that soars up above and has a sultry tone down low, making it quite diverse. She writes her lyrics straight from the heart and creates melody lines that will forever stay in your head.
‘I’ve always loved the technique behind singing, our instrument is our vocal cords and there’s something so powerful about having a muscle you can train and that can emote so much. I study with a vocal coach out in [British Columbia] right now and she is everything. Combining data and soul we’re able to play with my voice safely and train it like any other athlete.’
Her voice is at the forefront of her music and leads it well. The instrumentals behind her voice support her perfectly and create a sound that is warm, passionate, and sincere.
My favourite song of hers is definitely “It’s Real”, which encompasses everything I mentioned regarding her vocals and instrumentals. The way she sings about a past love of hers makes you reflect on your own relationships with nostalgia. I’ve noticed that this is not necessarily unique to this tune, for she writes with so much emotion, you often find yourself connecting to her music. “It’s Real” has minimal instrumentation, which allows for Stevens’ voice to carry the song. She lets the sweet tone shine through and sings affectionately, managing to touch the core of your heart.
Her sound takes influence from many genres and artists, and covers a wide range. She touches on this, saying,
‘My sound is a fix between soul and R&B and the ’70s songstresses that I grew up listening to. When I was growing up my mom would always have Joni Mitchell, Etta James, Carole King and so many other amazing female musicians’ records playing in our house. Cooking dinner with her would be when she’d show me her favorite songs. The ones she’d cry to, the ones we’d dance to. I like to describe my sound as genre-fluid because I’ve had so many influences.’
It surprises me how much soul and R&B is evident in her music considering the music scene she is immersed in. Coming from Alberta, Canada, she is surrounded by lots of country and blues music. Although she takes influence from these genres, her sound is quite her own and differs from many Albertan musicians.
‘We are so lucky to have some of the best Roots, Folk and Country musicians here. I’ve written with some of them and its always a storytelling process. The songs will always have substance and try to get a point across effortlessly. Alberta has a wide variety of artists who are in endangered genres like jazz and classical, I love showcasing these artists; either through collaboration or buying their albums.’
Stevens is an artist that is very involved in her surrounding music scene, whether that be supporting artists, performing, collaborating, or sharing music on the radio through broadcasting. She is currently going to school for radio broadcast at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), which has been broadening her musical experience.
‘It’s pushed me to produce my own demos and become familiar with certain recording software. The on-air side is where I thrive. I love writing funny breaks and talking about my favorite music. It’s been hard balancing radio and music, sometimes it feels very Hannah Montana-esque. I’m passionate about both and excited for my creative and career journey.’
Stevens released her debut single “Sugarcane” in 2017, which was quickly followed by her EP Handmade Rumours. Since then she has put out a handful of singles that have resulted in her receiving many YYC Music Awards. These include the 2018 Female Artist of the Year, 2019 and 2020 R&B Artist of the Year and 2020 Solo Artists of the Year. Since releasing music in 2017, she has gained a lot of attention and is quickly becoming quite well known in Canada.
She frequently performs in Calgary, Alberta, and the surrounding area. Making appearances at the Calgary Stampede, Canada’s Music Incubator event: Play The Parks: Calgary, and numerous festivals, she has had the opportunity to present her voice and music to many. I asked her if she has a favourite festival to play at, and she responded saying, ‘BIG winter Classic in Calgary is by far the best time I’ve had anywhere. I love the team and every year it’s where all my memories are made.’ The festival takes place over four days at the end of January and includes multiple venues, art, music, and local beer.
Stevens has been working on an EP that is to be released in February of 2021. ‘I’ve worked closely with my band mates and some other phenomenal songwriters in Calgary. This EP will be the best representation of my sound to date. It’s soul, funk and R&B based and pays homage to Minnie Ripperton, Joni Mitchell and YEBBA.’
Her bandmates include ‘phenomenal bass player and mentor’ Kyle Tenove and ‘the best keyboard player in Alberta’ Cam Buie. She says, ‘They’re my boys and I love them with my whole heart. They bring my songs to life and I can’t imagine playing live shows without them.’
She is not slowing down and has lots on the horizon. Connecting with those following her musical journey is really important to her. She has a very active social media presence where she is able to showcase her creativity and fun personality. ‘You’re a real person, showcase that. Your followers are there to see the behind the scenes, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and advocate for what you believe in.’