Kaeley Jade is no stranger to performing in front of crowds, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t nervous when her debut album, Turpentine’, dropped in September.
Jade, a Métis singer/songwriter, actor, and multidisciplinary artist based in Edmonton, focus on stripping away the amour and being vulnerable with ‘Turpentine’, an experience that left her feeling excited, but nervous.
“I wanted to throw up,” Jade says with a laugh. “Honestly, it was so nerve-wracking. I feel like every time I put out music I’m always way more nervous than I ought to be, and I think that’s just because it’s your baby. It’s something I was very vulnerable with.”
Jade is a fixture at music festivals and concerts across B.C. and Alberta, but with a new debut album, she’s expanding her presence east towards Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She’ll perform Saturday night at the Rock Trout Café, where she hopes audiences will enjoy songs which are based on very personal events in her life.
“All of the (songs) are things and experiences that I’ve lived and I’ve had,” she said. “To lay it all out on the table for someone to listen to and … have an opinion about is very scary, but so rewarding too.
“For me, a lot of my personal relationships are things that I treasure so much,” she added. “I put a lot of value into my relationships, so the ability to write about them and share my experiences, I think, is really important.”
Jade’s new album hasn’t gone unnoticed. She’s up for two awards at the 2023 Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards in Ottawa. Her single, ‘A Broken Heart (Remembers the Breaking)’ was nominated for the Music in the Arts category, while Jade herself is up for Métis Artist of the Year.
It’s not as nerve-wracking as releasing her first album, but Jade said it’s still surreal to see her name on the nominee list.
“Honestly, I’m so honoured,” she said. “It seems like such an understatement, but to see my name among so many powerhouse Indigenous musicians is just so incredible.”
Although she’s performed live in both the music and theatre scenes, Jade didn’t get her start as a recording artist until January 2020 when she released her first single, ‘Years Ago’. At the time, Jade intended to jump right into the recording artist world, but COVID put those dreams on hold.
“It was a very strange release into the world,” she remembered. “Professionally, I feel like I had a very different start than a lot of other artists. I feel like me figuring out the industry happened a lot online and during the pandemic, so it’s cool to finally have that opportunity to be touring for the first time.”
Kaeley Jade performs at the Rock Trout Café on Saturday, May 27 with Jake Diehl opening. The doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the music starting at 8:30. Tickets are $18 in advance from eventbrite.ca, or $20 at the door.