Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Doing It for the Chicks

Kate Reid's new CD an intuitive blend of sassy and sweet

"I was doing a tour of house concerts, and one of the guys on the predetermined circuit was this very conservative minister. I had to quell some fears of what he thought might happen if I sang in his living room," says singer/songwriter Kate Reid. Credit: Courtesy of Heather Kitching Publicity and Artist Services

Some of the best shit disturbers out there are the ones who know how to mix the right amount of honey in with their medicine, and BC singer/songwriter Kate Reid has the intuitive ability to meld the sassy and sweet just perfectly.

Reid’s new CD, Doing It for the Chicks, is her third disc, and it is far and away her strongest offering yet. The sardonic cover picture (featuring her in gangsta wear, surrounded by fawning women in little black dresses) is a perfect pairing to the title track. Surprisingly enough, a Yukon church minister was the inspiration for that track.

“I was doing a tour of house concerts,” Reid recalls, “and one of the guys on the predetermined circuit was this very conservative minister. I had to quell some fears of what he thought might happen if I sang in his living room,” she says with a laugh. “He was just a homophobic guy. That’s where the song came from — the weird phobias people have about lesbians and queer people.”

The night of the Whitehorse show, the crowd loved her, and CD sales were fantastic, but perhaps the evening’s biggest success was the tongue-in-cheek song born out of it. “I’m merely on a divine plan to convert you all to the dark side of the bedroom / So why don’t you come and pray at my church for a change / and I’ll prey on you ’cause that’s what my kind of people do.”

True to form, Chicks has its fair share of humour; Reid’s songs and shows traditionally contain as much comedy as musicality. Included on the disc is a coming out of her own, a surprising detail from Reid’s secret life.  In it, you’ll hear the faux-hawked, soft butch sing: “Underneath the semi-tough exterior, I’ve got a high-gloss interior / In the privacy of my own home, I like to put on women’s clothes / Yes it’s true, I’m one of them, I am a closet femme.”

Reid says the track is going to surprise a lot of people. “There’s some preconceptions about me based on how I look. If we enter into a different kind of relationship than we’re expected to, or dress differently, some people get judgmental about that,” she observes. “Sometimes our fears are just our own projections.”

Reid’s devoted fan base already knows she’s capable of contemplation and depth in her music, but on Doing It for the Chicks, she reaches a new level of intensity and solemn self-reflection. In “When I Was a Little Boy,” filled with heart and ache, Reid sings about her conflicted childhood: “I played the husband or the hero in every single make-believe scene / When I was a little boy, when I was a little girl.” And she worries in “Ain’t No Drama Queen” about her ability to be a successful artist: “I’m too out to be in,” she sings. “I’m too out to make it someday.”

In the disc’s toughest song, “Revolution,” Reid addresses being molested as a young child by her grandfather. “I had to ask myself the question, ‘Do I wanna put that out there?’ Yeah, I’m afraid, but fuck it. As a songwriter, my goal is to change people’s lives, to move them into action, to touch something inside of them that they can’t even explain,” she muses. “Good lyrics speak for other people; they say things that we can’t even unearth until we hear it. That to me is good music, it is important music.”

Reid is on tour throughout Canada until Christmas. She plans to release an album for children of queer parents next year.