There is a contour to Erin Kay’s voice that has been likened to "honey and tabasco, swirled in a cloud of smoke". Soft melodies unfold with a delicate breath akin to Joni Mitchell, and then escalate with a learned boldness. The Edmonton, Alberta singer-songwriter is at once piercing and fragile, and empathetic and independent. Kay carves new paths with unparalleled courage.
Kay grew up in Edmonton and started with a decade of piano lessons from age six into her teens. She taught herself guitar around 12 and was always writing songs, inspired by everything from heavy metal to Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. Her first public performance came at 16 and she laughs to remember that she “found my voice singing karaoke” before graduating to playing and singing original songs at open mic nights. She eventually left Edmonton to explore a quieter way of life in Northern BC, where her daughter was born. Erin returned to the prairies of Alberta in 2013, bringing with her immaculately crafted songs speaking to love, loss, motherhood, and ultimately hope, which she expressed in her debut, six song EP “Into the Light” (2014). The EP gained her airplay on CBC radio, CKUA and charted on other local and college radio stations across Canada.
For her sophomore record "Silver and Gold", Kay, worked with grammy nominated producer Miles Wilkinson (Guy Clark), and the two built arrangements that grew and flourished into a wild and rich full length album. Slowly put together over two years, the record was an expansive release, tender and affectionate, with moments of honest self-reflection, big melodies and big heart.
The album debuted Nationally at #5 on ear shots folk/roots/blues chart and received three EMA nominations in 2019 including, singer/songwriter of the year, people's choice, and adult alternative recording of the year.
Kay has made high profile appearances including the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Canmore Folk Music Festival, sharing stages across Canada with the likes of Foy Vance, Sarah McLachlan, Dar Williams. Kay also works passionately with the Sarah McLachlan School of music (a non-profit music program for students in Edmonton's inner city, established in 2015.)
After spending most of 2019 writing and releasing a 5 song EP, a collaboration with artist Leo Martinez called "Kay and Martinez", Kay decided to take a small break from touring and embarked with her daughter on a backpacking trip across South East Asia. Now, back in Canada, she has returned to the studio, pushing her music into untapped places while redefining her folk sound. She is eagerly anticipating her third album release entitled "Borderline" in the fall of 2020 entitled.
“In fishnets and feathers, Erin Kay emulates Janis Joplin.”
— Roots Music Canada
“A songstress in touch with life and love - finding voice and lyric somewhere between Adele and Joni. ”
— Tom Coxworth - CKUA Radio Host, Folk Routes
“Erin Kay writes piercing, empathetic songs designed to inspire listeners to see what’s precious in our own lives.”
— Beatroute Magazine