A catch-up with Kim Stockwood

An Indy Q&A session with Stockwood, from her home in Toronto yesterday

What’s your daily routine like right now?

It’s very interesting right now, actually, ’cause I have two boys and am basically full-time mom in addition to the career. My oldest is in grade two so he goes to school. I walk him or my husband does. And my youngest is five so he only goes to school in the afternoons. So, between these past couple weeks, trying to do interviews, trying to get ready for a couple of things that are coming up and taking care of him…it’s full. It’s pretty full.

How do you think having a family has affected your music?

Well, it definitely affected the making of this record. When my kids were born, it’s amazing how you look at the world differently and you look at, I guess, what kind of people you want to raise and what you want them to know about their heritage, their roots — and it’s definitely affected my song-writing over the years, but it’s definitely affected this record more than anything. Because, I felt a sense of time, I wanted to do a record of Newfoundland songs and partly because of my kids, that I want them to know where I’m from and where their blood is, so it definitely influenced it.

What inspired you to make this record now?

A lot of it is time, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and I think that everything just kind of came together right now. It’s taken me kinda eight months to choose these songs and finish recording, and everything was kind of done in Newfoundland so I was back and forth quite a bit, but it was exactly the way it should be. Some of the songs were chosen the day before we would record in the studio, and that’s exactly how it should’ve been, too. You know, I think that if I was to record in two weeks — like the norm that you would do, is record in two weeks to a month — if it wasn’t stretched out as much, I don’t think I would have the songs that I do have. Some of them kind of just showed up at the last minute.

You mentioned travelling back and forth, how often and how was it?

Probably about eight times in six months. It was fantastic, it was fantastic. But, ah, my husband was home with the kids a fair amount of that, and he was like, ‘Again?’ And I was like, ‘Yup — making a record.’ So, it was one of the bonuses, for sure, of making a record at home.

How did you select the specific songs on the album?

You know, I think mostly it was what felt right to me. Some of them are songs that I loved when I was young, and some of them are songs that kind of inspired me, I guess, as an artist when I first started out. I mean, The St. John’s Waltz and Atlantic Blue, two of the most stunning songs ever, you know, really affected me. The St. John’s Waltz is one of the first songs I ever demoed, and at the end of the day it was what felt right. And it was pretty scary — it was a scary thing, covering some of these endemic songs, but I was like, ‘OK — I’ll have to be ready for it.’ There’s probably going to be people that don’t like my versions of some of these songs, but at the end of the day, I have to be happy with what I did.

Even though I don’t live home full time anymore, you know, I am a Newfoundlander. I’m very proud of that. And I guess I feel more defined by that than I ever have.

Has living away for so long affected your music?

Yeah, for sure, but I think it has to do with age as well and I think the longer you’re away from a place you love, the more you yearn for it. We’re all trying to figure out who we are in life and I think I hold on to my core — being a Newfoundlander — even more than I ever did. And, it’s who I am, and even though I don’t live home full time anymore, you know, I am a Newfoundlander. I’m very proud of that. And I guess I feel more defined by that than I ever have.

And how do you feel your music has changed since recording Bonavista in 1996?

It’s really bizarre because, in a way, I feel I’ve come really full circle. Because, you know, The St. John’s Waltz is one of the first songs I ever sang. I kind of moved away from that — I moved to Toronto and got a record deal, and got a publishing deal, and was going back and forth to Nashville writing and, you know, in the beginning I thought I was going to be a country artist, and I love a lot of old country music and it kind of…the universe had another plan. I got signed and then I wrote some pop songs and, you know, then I wrote Jerk and that kind of changed the whole trajectory of where my career was headed. It’s weird. You know, its not exactly where I thought or projected it to be, to go musically, but, you know, everything happens the way it’s supposed to and I’m thankful.

You mentioned Jerk, how do you feel about the song these days?

I feel thankful for it. I think the message in that song is still one of my main beliefs which is, you know, treat people nice. Just try to be good to people. And, it was very kitschy and everything, but it was a very fun song. It still is a fun song. I still sing it and I have crowds and crowds of girls, anthems, you know, singing it at the top of their lungs. But it could be about a girl too. There are girl jerks.

Tell us a little bit about the special you have on CMT this weekend, how it came about.

The CMT special and my record went hand in hand, they kind of pushed each other on. My manager and I pitched to CMT. The Shaye show had been on CMT and they kept playing it over and over, and they told us it was one of their most popular shows. And I said, ‘Wow, that’s bizarre.’ So, I had this idea for a show and asked if we could get a meeting with the head, Ted Ellis. So, myself and Sherry went in and pitched the show and we walked out and were like, ‘Wow, we got a TV show!’ So my manager was like, ‘You better finish the album’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I better start it.’

Anything you’d like to add?

Just that on the record my dad guests, he plays a little bit of accordion. And that Damhnait and I sing the Ode to Newfoundland together.

Kim Stockwood’s CMT special airs Saturday, March 12. Her new album Back to the Water is available on iTunes and will be available at record stores March 15.

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