Kathleen Edwards Talks Her ECHO Songwriting Prize Win: "We're at the Mercy of Our Fans to Help Us These Days"

Kathleen Edwards Talks Her ECHO Songwriting Prize Win: "We're at the Mercy of Our Fans to Help Us These Days"
This morning (October 19), we reported that singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards had snagged herself SOCAN's ECHO Songwriting Prize for her track "A Soft Place to Land." From a van headed to Massachusetts, the singer spoke with Exclaim! about what she plans to do with her winnings, as well as what awards like the ECHO and Polaris mean for Canadian music.

First off, she says, "I'm going to elaborately recreate the Demi Moore scene in Indecent Proposal and get paid in $5 bills and do a fuckin' Canadian parody of it."

Then, more seriously: "No, I don't know. There are lame answers to that, which are: Some of the money is going to John [Roderick], my co-writer, right? I'm going to take my manager out for a fuckin' amazing dinner, cause he always buys me dinner, and I'm a charity case on his roster. Then, I think I might put the rest on my very-distended Visa bill. But I might just do the Demi Moore idea."

Speaking of the prize, she says, "I didn't think I was going to win it. There are probably people who liked my song, but none of the other songs, and there were probably people who looked at the list and thought, 'Well, Japandroids are the only legitimate act on this thing.' There people who have been Sloan fans for 15 years, and who cherish the earth they walk on, so it's just a matter of taste. I didn't think I'd be the person with the most votes.

"It's nice, though. I think music fans sometimes feel disempowered about supporting the artists they love. They support an artist by buying their records and going to their shows, but diehard fans are like, 'Why isn't this person a household name yet, why isn't Kathleen — or anyone that someone loves — a huge international act, why don't people know who this person is?' I think fans who really do love an artist sometimes feel that way, so this might be a nice vehicle for them. People might like the idea of promoting an act themselves that way, because it's something they have the power to do. They can help get the artist out there and be heard."

New Canadian artists, she maintains, "don't get played, other than on the CBC and the occasional college radio spin. We don't have access to Canadian radio. That's what I meant by 'the shit parade.' What you hear on commercial radio is not representative of what's happening creatively or artistically in this country, in our music scene. We leave Canada, and other artists talk about how incredible the community that we're a part of is. Maybe it's a blessing that we're not exposed to all the horse shit of Canadian mainstream music, like 'On Entertainment Tonight, I'm going for dinner with John Mayer.' Who gives a fuck? It's not important. That's what I mean.

"Polaris and this prize, the best part about them is that, like I said before, it makes people feel like they have a say. If you're a music fan, you have vehicles to talk about the music you like and why you like it. That's important, because you aren't hearing it in mainstream venues. We're at the mercy of our fans to help us these days."