Xtra’s arts and entertainment editor Gordon Bowness caught up with author and recording artist Kinnie Star at this year’s Writing Outside the Margins Queer Literary Festival. Bowness asked Star about how music and literature intersect in her work.
Kinnie Starr is one of Canada’s most adored and critically acclaimed underground musicians. Widely known in hip hop circles as an artist with a strikingly authentic voice, Starr has been blazing trails since 1996 with her beat-slamming recordings, outspoken race and gender politics, edgy visual art and stunning good looks.
The New Yorker described Starr as “edgy and enchanting.” Japan Times wrote, “never didactic, always intelligent.” Canada’s own Globe and Mail described Starr as a “raw and feral talent.”
Having sidestepped the machinery of “fame” by squeezing out of a record deal with Mercury/Island/DefJam in 1999, Starr chose instead to forge a slow burning, multi faceted career. Since 1999, she has worked for Lakeshore Records (USA), Maple Music Canada, and is currently signed to the illustrious Ole Music Publishing as a songwriter.
In 2003 Starr sung and cat walked in Las Vegas for Cirque Du Soleils’s naughty X-rated show, Zumanity. That same year she was nominated for a Juno as Best New Artist (she lost to crooner Michael Buble). Starr played the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in 2004 and 2006, and has had her music featured prominently in The L Word, Zellers, and Catherine Hardwicke’s feature film, Thirteen.
Kinnie Starr’s latest artistic ventures are alongside the fabulous Chin Injeti and Parlange Jesus out of The Hastings Set, Vancouver, BC.
This new EP, A Different Day, is a tight collection of raw, sexy, ‘chanteuse’ songs exclusively about love. For the first time in her career, Starr leaves the bravado of hip hop/rock for the intimacy of songs so naked and tender they stop traffic. The album will be available in 2009 following closely on the heels of Starr’s first book through House Of Parlance, entitled How I Learned To Run.
After four albums and a decade of international touring, this is her long-awaited book of poetry, photos and drawings; a contemplative look at sexuality, love, hisory and the complexities of being part Mohawk in a Canadian family that has yet to come to terms with its indigenous roots.