Pain and Beauty

Inside Kellie Loder’s Raw and Real Album Transitions
By: Dillon Collins

Of the many things that can be said to describe NL’s own Kellie Loder, nobody can dispute the raw authenticity of the Juno award-nominated singer-songwriter. 

That realness shines on Kellie’s long-awaited fourth studio album Transitions, the Badger native’s first full-length release since 2018’s lauded Benefit of the Doubt. 

“I mean, for me, it feels like yesterday. I feel like I’ve been playing these songs on the new record for a long time. I just feel like these songs must be already out, you know? So when the record came out, it felt like a record release for sure, but it felt like, oh, this is just too long coming,” Kellie says of their much-anticipated release six years in the making.

“It’s about time these were out in the world. I’m really gonna try to not have another six years in between this one and the next one (laughs). It’s not for lack of having songs. I got enough songs for ten records, it’s just the time and the money. It really takes an emotional toll, for sure, when you’re making a record. And you’re not always ready to do it. You’re not always ready to say the things you want to say. I’m happy that I did this time.”

Kellie’s heart has always sat proudly displayed on their sleeve. It’s a character trait that has come to define one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s preeminent poets, of giving their all – mind body and soul – in both the live performance and creative process.

Take the weighty single “When It Comes to You,” a love letter to an old flame renewed, which Kellie penned during the heights of the pandemic. 

“I had reconnected with this old flame and I sound like I’m 80 years old when I say that (laughs). I reconnected with an old lover and I felt the exact same way I had before. It was like nothing seemed to change when it came to her. So it was an easy song to write.

“Very rarely will I perform something that still hits a nerve. I will have healed substantially before I perform it regularly.”

Tapping into the everyday is part of what has endeared Kellie to a legion of followers from this corner of the nation and beyond, earning the ECMA, SOCAN and MusicNL winner a runner-up slot on the sophomore season of Canada’s Got Talent. 

“A lot of the time people will say, how do you find it so easy to be that raw and that vulnerable and I just say I don’t know, I always have. Even in conversation, I tend to tell too many people, too many things about my life because I want to find relationships with people and how you find a relationship is to share,” Kellie explains. 

“It’s never been difficult for me to tap into the deepest parts of me, ever. It’s sort of like the default. Sometimes I feel very misunderstood in life because of that, because I just can’t stand small talk with people. I just want to dive right in. I’m like why play in the kiddie pool when you can swim in the deep end right away?”

Co-writing with household names such as Alan Doyle, Steven Page, The Good Lovelies, and Grammy award-winning musician and producer, Greg Wells, Kellie’s songs and fresh and honest live performances – which include their biggest run of home-province showcases to date in 2024 – have earned widespread acclaim, though Kellie admits some nerves still persist. 

“I still get nervous. I still have thoughts of not measuring up. I think it’s all normal and human to have those thoughts and sort of like that self-critique that just doesn’t shut up. But the self-critique has definitely gotten quieter as I’ve proved it wrong over and over again. It’s there, but it’s not screaming at me anymore or as bothersome. And I do trust my abilities. I wouldn’t have nearly a thousand people show up to see my show if I wasn’t doing anything good. 

“You kind of have to look at those things, those facts and the proof is in the pudding. Well, they wouldn’t show up for me because they felt bad for me. They’re going to buy a ticket because they enjoy what I do and they enjoy being entertained. And you have to believe that.”

Raw, real and refreshingly vulnerable, authenticity is the hallmark of the Kellie Loder experience. 

“I’ve definitely had some eye-roll moments,” Kellie jokes of their journey to hone in on a definitive sound and vision. 

“I think a lot of the stuff that doesn’t feel authentic, it’s not massaged and maybe it’s a lack of maturity. A lot of people said this is the most mature-sounding album. There are songs on the last record that I can’t even listen to.

“I can’t pretend to be an artist that’s just going to sing for the sake of singing. I just don’t want to do it.”

Coming full circle to the relevant nature of Transitions, an album released following immense periods of growth and change in the world of Kellie Loder, we probe the architect of soon-to-be classic cuts “The Month of May” and “Can’t Go Back” as to the overwhelming feeling surrounding their most emotionally resonate offering to date.

“Pain. Pain, it’s necessary, but it sucks. I don’t know, I don’t think we can actually be the same person all of our lives. It doesn’t work like that. We’re always changing. There are growing pains and there are relationships that end and new ones that begin. And it’s all painful, but also can be beautiful. It’s both. It’s pain and beauty.”

Kellie Loder’s Transitions is available now in physical and digital formats. Visit kellieloder.com for a complete list of tour dates, including NL stops at the Food, Fibs & Fiddles Fest in Gunners Cove

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