Katelyn Lehner is hurdling into a music career.
Lehner, who grew up in Prince Albert, has been in the news more recently because of her track and field career. She’s competed nationally and internationally, joining Team Canada in 2013 as a heptathlete at the Pan American Junior Games. She competed at both the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan in track and field, bringing home multiple conference and national medals.
But Lehner has another passion.
“Music has been a really big part of my life ever since I was young,” Lehner said. “I did lots of shows and competitions in Prince Albert and throughout Saskatchewan.”
Lehner made her first appearance on stage at age 3. She received Royal Conservatory of Music vocal training, twice achieving the highest mark in the province.
She frequently took home awards from talent searches and festivals, deemed a triple threat with her gymnastics, dance and vocals.
In 2010, she won first place at Yorkton’s GX94 Jr. Star Search.
But once she graduated from Grade 12, Lehner chose track and field over singing, receiving scholarships to complete her studies in kinesiology.
“I knew I would have a little too much on my plate if I wanted to try to do music on top of that,” Lehner said.
Still, Lehner couldn’t run away from music.
She took music electives in university and performed the national anthem at varsity football and basketball games. She created social media videos and kept writing music.
One of her videos caught the attention of a talent scout for Nashville producer, Shannon McArthur.
Lehner was tempted, but she declined to focus on her studies.
Now, though, her degree completed Lehner is returning to the mic.
She released her debut single, Red, Friday. The song was recorded in Saskatoon by former Pursuit of Happiness members Johnny Sinclair and Leslie Stanwuck.
A lyric video for the song is set to release on social media on October 23.
“I’m excited. It’s been an exciting time,” Lehner said.
“It’s been really fun. I’m so excited for Red to be my first single I wanted it to be a fun song that is upbeat and that people could dance to.”
Lehner wrote the song while attending university in 2018. Stanwuck helped her to update the song for 2020.
“They had approached me and asked if I had some songs and if I was willing, wanted to record,” Lehner said.
“They listed to Red and they really liked it, and were drawn to it, which was super cool.”
Lehner, whose sound has been described as a mix between Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood, said Red is about the ups and downs of relationships.
“You can get caught up in small things, and sometimes, you’ve got to kiss and make up and get over it.”
She describes herself as a country-pop artist, with the new, pop-country sound.
“The genre is growing and lots of stuff on country radio has a pop sound to things now, which is really cool.”
Nothing like that talent scout has come along since, but Lehner has had a conversation with a Nashville-based artist manager.
“It’s cool to get some recognition and perk the ears and eye of people especially in Nashville, the country music capital of the world. It’s cool people are excited to see what I have to offer.”
Red was released to all streaming services and Canadian country radio Friday. Lehner will be celebrating with a full band performance in Saskatoon at the Capitol Music Club on Oct. 16. Tickets will be available online and at the door. Information can be found on Lehner’s social media.