Queer singer/songwriter Kate Reid has become known for her humorous, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Her last album, 2011’s Doing It for the Chicks, is peppered with sidesplitting sexual themes while touching on more serious topics.
Yet Reid is more mindful than her latest album title would have some fans believe. Her next project is an album geared toward children from queer families.
The currently untitled effort will be released in January 2013. She says the album was inspired by her history as an educator as well as by the fact that there are virtually no songs that specifically address the reality of coming from a queer household.
Reid interviewed queer parents and their children to assist her in the writing process. The album will also include a kit of lessons and activities designed for teachers to use in conjunction with the songs found on the album.
“My partner has children, so I’m a co-parent now,” she explains. “I’ve gotten to see what it’s like for kids and families that are ‘different or alternative.’ I wanted to give a voice to that because it’s a struggle for our kids. They choose whether to out themselves as kids of queer parents or whether they don’t. They get bullied. I wanted to make an album in their honour, to give them a voice because they don’t have songs about them.”
She has also used her trademark blend of folk and country to address the topic of queer bullying, in her song “Ain’t No Drama Queen.” She says she feels it was important to write the track because when she hears about gay and lesbian youth committing suicide, she becomes infuriated.
“It’s tragic and terrible,” she says. “Some people have said to me before, ‘Why do you sing about being a lesbian? Like, what’s the deal with that? Why do you have to do that all the time?’ I tell them that is why. We don’t live in a society where homophobia is no longer present. It’s still very prevalent. Even though we have our civil rights and we have gay marriage, we still have a lot of homophobia.”
Whether she’s being serious or silly, Reid is a masterful songwriter. Her songs are generally tinged with country twang, effortlessly folky and frequently catchy. Yet it’s her wit that many fans respond to. She says she thinks her use of humour makes it easier for straight audiences to connect with her music.
“It has become a tool for me to get my message across, to sort of grease the wheels of the gay message. The funny songs get people engaged in a different way than the more sombre or poignant songs. They are fun to inject into a set because of the levity that they bring.”
Reid will bring her insightful and jocular set to Toronto’s Flying Beaver Pubaret and the Blue Skies Music Festival this month. The festival takes place in Clarendon, 90 kilometres west of Ottawa, August 3rd to 5th.