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Interview with Newfoundland's Kim Stockwood

Photo courtesy of EMI Music Canada

Kim Stockwood, the Newfoundland-raised, Toronto-based singer/songwriter burst onto the Canadian music scene back in 1995, with the acclaimed debut "Bonavista." Reaching a gold sales level, it produced four highly charting singles, including the irresistible smash "Jerk." That song went on to become an international hit in places as far afield as, New Zealand, Malaysia, Poland and Sweden. On her second release "12 Years Old" such musical legends as Randy Bachman and pop genius Glen Tillbrook (Squeeze) collaborated with Stockwood. That album further confirms her ability to attract perfectly-matched songwriting partners. I conducted this interview in the spring of 1999, while Stockwood was on a promo tour in support of the album.

GB - You have a great new album out in which you co-wrote a lot of the songs, tell me about that?

KS - I got chosen to go on a song writing camp thing. They choose fifteen writers from around the world and I got chosen from Canada which was bazaar. I went and everyday you write with two different people and this one day I got together with this guy from Scotland and this girl from New York and in 25 minutes we had 12 years old'. My record has already been finished by then so it was like an extra but I ended up pushing back the record by six months to get this song on and it became the title track.

GB - You co-write with a number of people like Paul Hyde and Randy Bachman. how do you choose the people you write with?

KS - I don't know. It's just from a above I guess. A lot of times it's from people that I work with who recommend people. Randy I met a few years ago, so that was an easy one. Paul Hyde, my management company knew in Vancouver so I just tried it. That is that thing about co-writing, if you don't try it you never know.

GB - Tell me about the hidden celtic song on the album?

KS - I wrote that with Randy and its called "Will I Ever" and it's basically about moving away from home. My father plays accordion and my 85 year old grandmother plays mouth-organ, not harmonica (laughs) got to be called mouth-organ. It's very cool, I've heard it on the radio a couple of times and it always moves me. I'm very proud of it!

GB - Being from Newfoundland is your roots in Celtic music?

KS - No I wouldn't say not obviously. My parents listen to it but I think im more of a pop artist. I can't help but be influenced by it somewhat but I think im more influenced by the people and the culture. That would definitely have something to do with my outlook and my vibe of this and what the topics are on the record for sure.

GB - The first single from the album "12 years old" tell me about that song? also the picture on the sleeve of you as a child is cute!

KS - That was the only good picture of me as a kid, everything else is grouse. 12 years old' happened in the summer at the (songwriters) camp. We basically started writing a song about being hurt and being venerable and we started to think, when are you the most venerable in you life. Probably when your a kid especially when you dog dies and your bikes been stolen you drop you ice cream, all that suff that really just sucks when you a kid. It's a very simple idea. I think that is why a lot of people connect to it. Even guys can remember what it's like.

GB - Because of the success of your first album did you feel pressured going in to do this one, to repeat that?

KS - I didn't because basically I ignored all of that. Because if I had been conscious of that I probably wouldn't have been able to sit down and write a song, without worrying about how great there were going to be. I think when you just try to write good music you jot hot to block everything else out. To me I got a lot I want to do. In my books I haven't made it yet. I got to keep going.

GB - A while back I understand you got to meet Van Morrison what was that like?

KS - He's an interesting man. I'm a huge fan and it's always like this curse, as you don't know if you want to meet someone that you respect that much. When I met him I basically sat down and tried to forget who he was and just hang out. Sometimes that's very hard but we had a good time. We ended up drinking a lot of champagne. I don't really drink champagne but when Van Morrison gives you a glass of champagne you drink it.

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