The spotlight will shine on an emerging singer-songwriter next week, when Get It On Vinyl Records artist Emma Kade releases her first album, Transparent, on CD and vinyl with a concert at Prince Charles Theatre.
The free concert runs 7 p.m. Feb. 6, featuring Kade (perhaps better known by her non-stage name, Emma Boutet) performing her album’s first single, “Echo”, with a few covers and other songs from the album — including the title song, which she first sang in that theatre in the first edition of the Creston’s Best Singer contest (part of the now defunct Kootenays’ Best Singer series).
“That was my first time ever performing in my entire life,” the 18-year-old said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
She didn’t place in the 2010 or 2011 contests, but continued writing songs. It’s little surprise that Kade loves to sing and compose — she comes from two musical families, especially her dad’s side.
“They all sing and play instruments,” she said. “Even when I was really little, before I could walk, my dad would play guitar and I’d sing with him.”
Her dad introduced her to songs by John Denver and Carpenters, and Kade grew to like a bit of everything, including Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, who have influenced her style.
“I definitely want to be a pop artist, not so much obnoxious pop, but with folky influences,” said Kade.
After her mom posted a clip of Kade singing on Facebook, her style piqued the interest of Get It On Vinyl and Get It On Vinyl Records owners T.J. Goodwin and Andy Brown. They requested a few demo tracks — which Kade recorded at the Creston Valley Public Library — then met with Kade, signed her and brought her to their Bozeman, Mont., studio for a nine-day recording session in June and July.
The duo’s company is dedicated to preserving physical music and the independent record store.
“Our passion is vinyl, so our releases will always include vinyl in addition to CD and digital editions,” says their website, getitonvinyl.com. “All of our vinyl releases include additional music, extra artwork and limited edition coloured first pressings.”
Signing with Get It On Vinyl Records changed Kade’s listening habits — she started listening to records about six months ago.
“The hipsters, I tell you, are bringing them back,” she said.
Kade sings and plays guitar on the album, joined by a bass player and drummer, who impressed her on the first day of the recording session.
“I got there and they knew my songs and all the words, and when to break and when to stop,” she said. “It was so crazy to listen to what bass and drums can do for an album. It just brings it all together.”
There are 10 songs on Transparent, plus an acoustic bonus track on the vinyl version, whittled down from dozens written by Kade over the last few years.
“I always knew I was going to make a record — even when I didn’t know I was going to make a record,” she said with a laugh.
The album, she said, is about unrequited love, and selecting the best of the best made it a sure bet that listeners will enjoy what they hear.
“You need to make sure that every song is perfect, every song is catchy, every song is going to sell,” Kade said. “You can’t just get a new name and start over.”
That said, Kade is planning to simply enjoy the ride, although she’s not sure where it’s taking her — and “making it big” is just a small part of the equation.
“It’s not something I’m striving for because I think I’ll always do music. … I’d be doing this even if I was in college studying to be something I don’t want to be.”