“An amazing voice, like feathers or warm breezes;–Singer Rique Franks, on KR
floating wisps of tragedy, glamour, whiskey and smoke,
belying her actual, remarkable life as a single mom
trying to make mortgage payments like the rest of us“
Thirty + years into her diverse career, Canadian recording artist Kathryn Rose, or KR as she is affectionately known, has done a lot of everything.
Acting in film, television, and theatre, backup vocals to the stars, five solo albums, voiceover, jingle singing, single parenthood, world tours, performing with symphony orchestras, film soundtracks, collabs with many of her talented friends, vocal coaching, and so much more.
Well-versed in the art of reinvention, Kathryn is always telling her kids, “you may not always get it right, but everyone appreciates a hard-tryer.” That, and also, “good things happen when you keep it loose.”
KR is known for her artful brand of sexy/sad/funny original, cinematic pop over the course of five solo albums. As a voice in demand she’s worked with many, many (so many!) other artists, including Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan (world tour), Kevin Breit, Melanie Doane, Patti Labelle, Sir Tom Jones, Anne Murray, Martin Fry (ABC), and Ian Thomas.
Kathryn started in the clubs in the late ’80s at age 17 as part of folk pop band Lazy Grace (with bandmates Jason Collett and Kersti MacLeod), at the invitation of Andrew Cash in his Monday nights at Toronto’s Spadina Hotel, alongside what would soon become the Skydiggers.
Kathryn was then also a teen actor in film, television, and stage with lead roles in many major TV series’, commercials, feature films, and stage. She got an acting agent and landed all of the first number of roles she auditioned for, including a 1987 Max Headroom Coke commercial, feature film Love At Stake starring Kelly Preston, and guest lead roles in TV shows Check It Out, starring Don Adams and Dinah Christie, and My Secret Identity, starring Jerry O’Connell, including an onscreen kiss!
She joined performers’ union ACTRA in short order. Dinah Christie introduced her to New Zealand ex-pat/stage legend Tom Kneebone who put her in many of his stage productions, and she quickly also became a member of CAEA, the stage actors’ union.
Kathryn spent some time at University of Toronto as a Women’s Studies undergrad, but left her degree behind in pursuit of music. With bandmates Andres Castillo Smith and Jane Miller, Kathryn spent the next five years building a following with popular ’90s Toronto band Wind May Do Damage, and also establishing their indie label Footlodgedindoor Music. They performed at festivals, guested on Murray McLachlan’s Swinging on a Star at CBC Radio, and opened for artists such as Ani DeFranco and Jeff Buckley. Darlings of the Toronto theatre scene, they performed at Tarragon Theatre’s Spring Arts Fairs, Nightwood Theatre’s Five-Minute Feminist Cabarets, Theatre Passe Muraille, and the Theatre Centre commissioned them to write and perform an original theatre piece with music, which they called Broken Trees and Mended Highways. Most of the songs from their second album came from this piece. Together, they conquered the ’90s Toronto club scene, making two albums: WIND MAY DO DAMAGE (1992 Footlodgedindoor, self produced), and THE BINDS OF BLOOD (1994 Footlodgedindoor), produced by Douglas Romanow.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, renegade Edmonton country rock act Jr. Gone Wild asked KR to join them as backup vocalist for a cross Canada tour. She had sung backups on their 1992 Pull The Goalie album. Hungry for more cross-country touring experience, Kathryn took them up on their offer. Off she went, the only girl with six chain smoking guys in a van with license plates reading: ANTHRAX, crisscrossing Canada in the dead of winter. They called her Axl. She loved it. Thus began her now 30+ years of touring life.
Kathryn was still working as an actor, landing decent roles from time to time. To her then-acting agent’s consternation, she quit the business right after wrapping a lead role in feature film National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995) starring Matt Frewer, Tommy Chong, and a young Jeremy Renner.
solo launch and session singer
Wind May Do Damage decided to call it quits after their second album, and Kathryn embarked on a solo music career. Her first solo album EVERY LURID DETAIL (1997 Footlodgedindoor) was recorded in Vancouver, produced by Sarah McLachlan keyboardist David Kershaw and featuring much of Sarah M’s band at that time. Kathryn toured that album across Canada.
Kathryn then accepted another touring offer over 1998/’99 throughout North America and Europe as backup singer with trip hop act Esthero, performing at KCRW, Coachella, and the Chris Rock Show in NYC.
Soon after that, country artist Thomas Wade fortuitously hired KR to sing backups with him for a concert of his music scored for symphony with Peter Brennan’s Jeans ‘n Classics. She made an impression on Peter Brennan, who soon enlisted Kathryn as a feature performer in this touring company, with whom she is still performing rock shows with symphonies across North America to this day.
KR was always just as interested in singing on other artists’ music as much as her own. By this point she was deep into her session singer life, and had made it her mission to add the more exclusive and competitive arenas of jingles and voiceover into the mix. Although she was proud of the climb, she noticed the press couldn’t always resist spotlighting her jingle singing as a preamble to most media coverage for her albums. KR eventually wrote a few songs about that phenomenon, including “Come and Get Me”, and “Jingle Queen”.
My Little Flame
Kathryn’s second solo album MY LITTLE FLAME was released in 2001, produced by Thomas Ryder Payne. The most enduring song of that album and arguably her career to date was “I Married Myself”, a poignant, hilarious battlecry of self love to single or lonely people everywhere.
Even now, “I Married Myself” continues to make waves, starting discussions and appearing in many unlikely places – played at a Taiwanese woman’s wedding who made the international news for marrying herself), named as the theme song for the International Day of Self Love by an outfit out of San Francisco, and incorporated into actress Christel Bartelse’s one-woman Fringe Festival hit play, “Oneymoon: A Honeymoon for One.” KR even recorded a whole separate EDM dance pop version of the song for the curtain call! An EP/playlist of the various versions of “I Married Myself” is newly available.
Kathryn and her MY LITTLE FLAME album nabbed her the cover story in Toronto’s famed NOW Magazine, the week that the album was released.
KR was packing her days and nights with music. At the very same time that Kathryn was making MY LITTLE FLAME, she was running from the studio with Thomas to another studio across town to make another album: SUPER CASUAL FUTURISTIC, a super fun high octane bubblegum-pop side project called Blume, with Creighton Doane and Danny LeBlanc. The projects were like night and day, and she was having the time of her life.
MY LITTLE FLAME attracted management and indie label deals with Matrix Entertainment and Kindling Music with distribution through Warner Music Canada, then EMI Canada. Kindling re-released MY LITTLE FLAME in 2003 with new artwork, bonus tracks and remixes. The MY LITTLE FLAME re-release was nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the 2003 Canadian Indie Awards, at which she performed.
AFTERGLOW WORLD TOUR
Kathryn then joined Sarah McLachlan’s band as her backing vocalist for the Afterglow World Tour in 2004. KR found herself performing in arenas around the globe, as well as the Grammys, the Junos, Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and many others. She appears on the Afterglow Live CD and DVD.
Kathryn Rose (self-titled)
While touring with Sarah, KR was preparing her third solo album for release. The self titled KATHRYN ROSE was released in 2005 (produced by Thomas Ryder Payne), to some lovely response and acclaim. The song “One Person” made the International Songwriting Competition semi-finals, and her music video charted for 23 straight weeks on Bravo! Television’s Top 30 chart. Soon after, Kathryn started her family. Her first child was born in 2006.
Kathryn joined the cast of Canadian Idol for the final two seasons of that TV show (2007 and ’08 as a backup singer in the house band, singing BGs for both the competitors and the guest stars, notably Carly Rae Jepsen, Anne Murray, and Sir Tom Jones. She was secretly pregnant during that last season of the show, and had her second baby in 2009. That same year, Kathryn sang on some episodes of TV show Battle of the Blades, even doing a duet of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with NHL star/BOTB competitor Claude Lemieux.
A RETURN TO HER INDIE ROOTS
Kathryn eventually left her deals with Matrix/Kindling, returning to her DIY roots. In 2010 Kathryn released SOMETHING I CAN USE, a compilation of all of her solo albums to date plus a few previously unreleased tracks.
In 2011 Kathryn’s personal life took a turn; with the end of her marriage and the demands of “solo momhood” as she calls it, KR put her solo career on the back burner to attend to the needs of her kids and rebuilding of her world. By that point, KR had already been touring as a feature vocalist with touring act Jeans ‘n Classics for the better part of a decade, performing with symphony orchestras across North America, and had just taken on the role of acting as that company’s tour coordinator behind the scenes, a demanding job in and of itself.
KR then spent the next number of years applying the same dedication she puts into everything into the touring company while looking after the homefront, and maintaining her busy studio/guest vocal career. This period also included a long stint sitting on the Board of CIRAA (Canadian Independent Record Artists Association).
After a fantastic concert with Richmond (Virginia) Symphony in February 2020, KR flew home, unaware that it would be her last show before the world adjusted to new realities.
COVID AND BEYOND
On the one hand, Kathryn was grateful to press pause and pay attention to her kids and home in ways she wasn’t always previously able, as a busy touring artist and single mom.
On the other hand, fears for the future with all concerts canceled, and isolating as the only adult in the house with two kids was not so easy. Tragedy struck in 2021 with the sudden passing of her ex-husband, creating a tsunami that she and her kids are still learning to live within.
Like it always does, music saved her sanity. Weirdly and wonderfully, artists found a miraculous ways to keep making art. KR noticed she was as busy as ever, upping her recording game at home, collaborating with many other artists, and feeling her already strong network of talented friends become even more interlaced. Multiple new projects emerged. She recorded vocals in her home studio on songs and albums for Kevin Breit, Chris Bottomley, Dave Wall/AGO, Dan Bryk, Change of Heart, Chris Warren and more. She dove into vocal coaching, over Zoom.
Kathryn’s longtime collaborator producer/drummer (and friend and neighbour) Creighton Doane coaxed KR back into his studio. They started with some delicious, beloved covers (Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’”, and “You Belong To Me”, Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”, (with a few more still up their sleeves).
They then found themselves working on a special piece written by Kathryn during the pandemic, “Getting Along”, a pandemic duet featuring Julian Taylor. Some projects take on a life of their own. Kathryn enlisted the talented team of celebrated filmmaker Scott Dobson and Juno winner / producer and cinematographer Michael Phillip Wojewoda to create a video for the song. With the clever and artful use of a miniature of Toronto provided by Old City Hall, and projections of Kathryn and Julian in “conversation” on the city model, with iPhones, and actual footage, Scott and Michael (best friends since high school) found a brilliant way to capture the isolation and strangeness of it all. This video has gone on to win many awards and laurels at international Film Festivals, and has been submitted for consideration to the 2024 Junos for Music Video of The Year.
Also during the pandemic, Kathryn has re-released her sizeable back catalogue through Urban Myth Recordings/The Orchard, and her newest music is with Empress Music Group, distributed by Believe.
“Hope you’ll be glad to know / you’ve been nice to me in my dreams”
• OFFICIAL SELECTION, Indie Short Fest, Los Angeles, Nov 2023
• WINNER X2, BEST ORIGINAL SONG, & BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, Rome Music Video Awards, Rome Italy, Nov 2023
• FINALIST, BEST MUSIC VIDEO, New York International Film Awards, Manhattan, Oct 2023
• WINNER, BEST ORIGINAL SONG, International Music Video Awards, Budapest Hungary, Nov 2023
• WINNER X2, BEST ORIGINAL SONG, & BEST DIRECTOR, Prague International Music Video Awards, Nov 2023
• LONG LIST, UK Film Festival, London England, Nov 2023
• WINNER (SILVER), BEST MUSIC VIDEO, Independent Shorts Awards, Los Angeles California, Oct 2023
• WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, Sweden Film Awards, Oct 2023
• SEMI-FINALIST, BEST MUSIC VIDEO, Berlin Shorts Award, Berlin Germany, Oct 2023
• SEMI-FINALIST, Stockholm City Film Festival, Stockholm Sweden, Oct 2023
• SEMI-FINALIST, BEST MUSIC VIDEO, European Cinematography Awards, Amsterdam Netherlands, Sep 2023
• WINNER, SPECIAL PRIZE, Europe Music Video Awards, Slovakia, Sep 2023
• WINNER, BEST MUSIC VIDEO, DIAMOND GLOBE AWARDS, International New York Film Festival, Jamestown NY, Sep 2023
The words: “A Pandemic Duet” may not officially be in the song title, but there’s no way around it — that’s what this song is. A conversation between two artists, rooted in that strange expanse when all of us, individually and together were grappling with the changing of seasons and the marching of time while life as we knew it stood seemingly still. Two artists checking in on each other. “How are you getting along?“ Asking even though they know the answer. City Mouse, Country Mouse, different views, same reality. Shipwrecked, landlocked. Exercising resourcefulness and industriousness in states of secret silent panic and creeping depression. “What to do when it’s time that kills?” Looking for beauty in the most and least familiar location for touring musicians: Home.
Kathryn asked her friend, singer songwriter Julian Taylor to hold up one side of the conversation in Getting Along, and he brought his signature unaffected, genuine sensitivity to the song. Filmmaker/director Scott Dobson and producer/cinematographer Michael Phillip Wojewoda conspired to create a compelling video starring Kathryn and Julian, and some inventive pandemic sets. Song producer Creighton Doane helped KR capture the iso-vibe, using her home demo ukulele performance as the starting point for the track.
Getting Along is a return to the collision of Kathryn Rose’s unique voice and world view. It’s nice to hear that voice again.
Kathryn says: “After everything we’ve all been through it’s a sweet relief to create something new, like you used to do, even though it can be harder than ever to find the well.”
Borrowing from both Michael McDonald and Carly Simon’s versions, with a whole lotta KR.
A powerful pop-rock cover of Depeche Mode’s enduring standard featuring Emilie-Claire Barlow and Melanie Doane.
KR’s version garnered 11.7K Spotify streams in its first week of release.
An intricate, exciting pop-funk re-imagining of Michael McDonald’s slow-burn classic.
NOTABLE COVERS OF KR’S SONGS
KATHRYN’S ORIGINAL SONG PLACEMENTS IN FILM & TV
- The Overlookers
- Degrassi: The Next Generation
- Cold Squad
- Drop The Beat
- Liberty Street
- and many more
GRANTS & AWARDS
|2005||FACTOR||Recording Loan and DBA Marketing Grant (album: Kathryn Rose)|
|2005||FACTOR||Video Grant (“One Person”, Dir. Christopher Warre Smets, Syndicate Films)|
|2003||Canadian Indie Awards||Nomination, Pop Album of the Year (album: My Little Flame)|
|2003||FACTOR||Recording Loan and DBA Marketing Grant (album: My Little Flame Enhanced)|
|2003||FACTOR||Video Grant (“Life’s Luxurious”, Dir. Marc Rosing, Stratospheric Prods)|
|2001||Ontario Arts Council||Popular Music Program, Audio Recording (album: My Little Flame)|
|1997||Canada Council||Cross-Canada Touring Grant, (album: Every Lurid Detail)|
|1997||FACTOR||Recording Loan, (album: Every Lurid Detail)|
|1994||Ontario Arts Council||Popular Music Program, Audio Recording (album: The Binds of Blood, by Wind May Do Damage)|
|1993||VideoFACT||(“The Lord’s Bounty” by Wind May Do Damage, Dir by David O’Brien, Firefly Films)|
NOTABLE CONCERT EVENTS… YEARS OF FUN!
- Canada’s Rock of Fame, Massey Hall, singing backups for Lorraine Segato/Parachute Club induction
- Canada’s Walk of Fame, singing backups for Donovan Woods/Tragically Hip induction, and Melanie Fiona/Deborah Cox induction
- El Seven Cabaret with Big Sugar, Host The Katherine at The Rivoli
- Scream Painting with George Koller, Great Bob Scott, Stich Winston, Graeme Kirkland
- Bubbalicious Lounge in Outer Space/Martian Awareness with Host Melleny Melody at the Bamboo
- Annual Patsy Cline Birthday Celebration at the Lula Lounge
- Michael Wrycraft Presents, Various, Live at Hugh’s Room
- Tory Cassis’ Tom Waits nights
- Kensington Market Jazz Fest
- Special Music Guest for the 2008 ACTRA Awards
- Jazz FM Jewish Composer Series
- Luminato, Neil Young Live at Massey Hall (2009)
- Closer To The Heart: Regent Park School of Music Benefits
- Riverdale Share
- Mia Sheard’s Joni Mitchell nights
- Luke Jackson’s Songs of Nick Drake
- Brainfudge, The Bamboo
- Kumbaya, Ontario Place Forum
- Music of James Taylor at the Orbit Room
- Tarragon Spring Arts Fair
- Nathan Phillips Square Wish You Were Here
- Music West
- Coachella with Esthero
- Royal Albert Hall with Sarah McLachlan
- Johnny Goldtooth
- The Commodore Ballroom with Jr Gone Wild
- Sharron’s Party w/Sharron Matthews at the Gladstone
- Monday nights with Andrew Cash at the Spadina Hotel
- White Ribbon Campaign at the Phoenix Concert Theatre
- Ultrasound Showbar
For booking inquiries: