Kate Bollinger on how her song Candy influenced Kanye West

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Richmond, Virginia artist Kate Bollinger brings her jazz-tinged folk songs to l’Esco in Montreal on June 11 and is excited to be bringing a talented group of musicians along with her.

“I’m bringing this artist named Lael Neale to open. She is this songwriter from Virginia and I found her in a kind of serendipitous way or I’d already been listening to her and then I found out when I was in my hometown, Charlottesville, Virginia, that she is cousins with my best friend from high school and I never knew so it’s a crazy, small world thing. But yeah, I’m bringing her, I’m really excited. And then I’m bringing just like a four-piece band for this run.”

Bollinger grew up in Charlottesville, surrounded by music.

“My mom’s a musician and both my brothers are, so it was always around. My mom loved James Taylor, so she would put that on a lot around the house. My dad loved the Beach Boys and then my older brothers would kind of just play different things that they were listening to. My oldest brother is 10 years older than me, so he would drive me around a good amount and when he was in high school, he was listening to a bunch of different stuff like David Bowie and then also I remember hearing Operation Ivy and just like a bunch of different stuff from them. He gave me a No Doubt CD for one of my birthdays and elementary school. So it was a pretty wide range of stuff and I feel like my taste is kind of just a result of being exposed to a lot of stuff early on.”

On the EPs that have been released so far, Bollinger manages to combine unusual elements, including jazz, folk and rock to create a sound that feels completely fresh.

“My middle brother got really into jazz at one point and was playing it a lot around the house. I remember he gave me a Thelonious Monk CD for one of my birthdays one year, so it was always kind of around but I never really got into it. Like I knew some of the classics and stuff, but I never really had a jazz phase. And then when I was putting a band together, I had this idea to have a jazz band backing me. I thought that would be cool because I wasn’t really making jazz-leaning stuff, but I just thought it would be cool to have a jazz band. And I feel like that playing with jazz musicians has sort of helped me find my sound.”

And that sound was then discovered by an unlikely music superstar, who asked to sample Bollinger’s song, Candy.

“It was last summer. I just out of the blue, got a call from my manager and he said that there had been this kind of weird, vague email that they had gotten from a lawyer saying one of my clients wants to sample one of your clients. Can we get this worked out? And then they did a little bit of digging and it was revealed that it was Kanye. I mean, I just don’t even really know what to think of it still, it’s kind of unbelievable. He sent a version of the song that actually had Candy sampled in it and then I guess because he makes so many different versions, the one that he ended up releasing didn’t actually have a sample of Candy, but because of song interpolation, that sample inspired the song that he ended up releasing, John and I who co-wrote the song Candy still a credit on it. But yeah, it’s just kind of a crazy situation that I never expected.”

Kate Bollinger plays Montreal on Saturday 11 June. BUY TICKETS HERE

Listen to the full interview below:


Look at it in the Light, the latest EP by Kate Bollinger is out now.

Photo credit – CJ Harvey

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