Kaia Kater Embraces Her Identity on New Album ‘Grenades’

Kaia Kater (Photo via Rolling Stones)
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Songwriter explores her Canadian and Grenadian heritage on bold concept album

(RollingStones) Kaia Kater has always considered herself a storyteller. “It’s a huge aspect of how I process the world around me,” she says. After growing up in Canada, Kater moved to West Virginia as a college student. The idea, she told her parents at the time, was to study Appalachian folk music, but what Kater really wanted to do was soak in other people’s stories, to learn about how they narrated and vocalized their own histories.

“When I went to Appalachia I was really fascinated with hearing people’s stories, stories about their songs, the history behind the songs,” she says.

But after spending the last seven or so years of her young adulthood immersed in the folk tradition of narrative storytelling as a banjo-playing singer-songwriter, the 25-year-old realized that there was one story she needed to tell: her family’s.

As a teenager, Kater had always resisted indulging in her autobiography, the Canadian daughter of a Quebec-born mother and Grenadian father who immigrated to Canada as a teenager.

“A lot of first-generation Canadians never feel like their family’s history is that interesting,” she says. “I found that in Appalachia too: you grow up there and then you want to leave and find success elsewhere. I kind of did that same thing where I didn’t really find my family’s history that interesting or that compelling or that worthwhile.”

But after a transformative 2017, a year in which, as Kater puts it, “a lot of the ground that I thought was sure, began to quake underneath my feet,” she began exploring her own identity and roots via the tale of her father’s difficult journey from Grenada to Canada as a teenager.

Read more at: RollingStone

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