Behind the Music: Interview with Kandle

‘Young women in the industry have to be so careful – it’s way too easy to fall into a trap and give up your power.’

Ahead of her phenomenal 4th album ‘Set The Fire’ arriving Friday 28th May, we chatted with Vancouver-based singer-songwriter, producer, manager, and label owner Kandle Osborne. With the journey to this album being different from any other, and Kandle opening up about her experiences as a young woman in the music industry, there really was a lot to discover.

Hi Kandle, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. When did you first realise music would be such a part of your life?
I really loved growing up in recording studios and being at concerts with my dad. I was always inspired in that environment and in awe of the way he could captivate an audience and make people feel as though his lyrics were written just for them. That led me to begin poetry and songwriting in my teens, but I never really thought I could do it professionally until I got my first record deal at 20. Then the wild ride began!

Which artists and music genres are you most inspired by?
I am inspired by a mix of timeless classic legends like Billie Holiday, Shirley Bassey, and Nancy Sinatra, mixed with a deep love of alternative rock like Brian Jonestown Massacre, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead, topped off with classic rock like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Neil Young. 

What do you bring to the sound and who else is involved in the music you create?
I always have a pretty clear vision of how I want my songs to sound and I just follow my instincts in the studio! Each record I’ve made has been with different people and collaborators, and I always love hearing their ideas and think any idea is at least worth a try. On ‘Set The Fire’, I was lucky to have one of my best friends, Michael Rendall, produce it and all my closest girlfriends – Louise Burns, Debra-Jean Creelman, and Kendel Carson – sing backing vocals around 1 mic like the Shangri-Las. Rounding off the gang, a couple of great friends and family members are playing parts too. It may have been done in the early days of scary quarantine, but it was made with a lot of love. 

So what is the story behind the album title ‘Set The Fire’?
Perhaps I’m a pyromaniac in the making or simply because my name is Kandle, but I’ve always named my records after the theme of fire: ‘In Flames’, ‘Holy Smoke’ etc. I wanted to come up with a title that represented where I’m at in my life and what I’m trying to convey in these songs. I have been thrown every sexist, horrific curveball imaginable in this industry, but once I became a free and independent artist, I realised I wanted to be the one to ‘set the fire’ and no longer be burned by it. Also, fun fact; it was also the name of my Dad’s first record and we thought it was cool to pass it down ; ). I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

‘When I’m in the studio, I just listen to my gut and hop on the thrilling ride of bringing the madness to life!’

With this being your first fully independent album, how different has the journey to this release been?
VERRRY different! So much work and so much stress, but a small price to pay for complete creative freedom! I had to endure quite the learning curve to step into the role of label, manager, producer, and artist all at once, and there were many days I just wanted to cry and hide under my bed! I miss the feeling of a ‘team effort’ but over the last year I have assembled a team of my own that has been so great and helped me overcome each obstacle and get my business to become a well-oiled machine that is actually working!

Given the new album will be your fourth in 7 years, how do you ensure that the quality of tracks remains so high when releasing so regularly?
I just truly and deeply love making music! I’m not in it for the performing or the attention; I could live in the studio forever and be happy. That’s where I thrive and where I can be in my truest flow state. I just listen to my gut and hop on the thrilling ride of bringing my ideas and madness to life! 

Reflecting on your career to date, how do you feel your approach has developed since your debut?
I have learned a lot over the past decade and it is definitely challenging not to feel bitter and resentful. Young women in the industry have to be so so so careful and it is way too easy to fall into a trap and give up your power for an empty promise of stardom. I now know never to enter a business arrangement out of desperation and never sign anything unless it is very obviously in my favour. I try to run my company now by trusting myself and constantly reminding myself that I choose to continue for no other reason than my love of creating. 

There’s no getting away from how at home you seem regardless of the atmosphere within a track. How do you prepare for performing and recording in such contrasting styles?
I suppose I see songs as stories and each one is easy for me to fall into and get swept away in. I definitely dabble a bit across genres but to me, a song is a song and I love music that has diversity, dynamics, and drama!

On the topic of musical drama, the first taster we had of ‘Set The Fire’ was your James Bond-esque single ‘Lock and Load’. What led to you taking this sonic direction?
It’s been my life-long dream to write a Bond-themed song hehe. I have been infatuated with Bond songs since I was a little girl and at a certain point I realised I probably wasn’t going to be asked so why not try and write one myself for fun!

Your most recent singles – including that one – have a sense of no-expense-spared on the visuals. How important is it to you that this remains the case?
Haha if only that were true! I was a visual artist before a musician and so the two are very much intertwined with me as an artist. I feel the strong visuals bring my songs to life on a whole other level. Luckily I DM’d a director here in Vancouver last summer asking if he wanted to make some cool videos with me and we hit it off instantly! Brandon William Fletcher and I don’t see limitations, have little money to work with, but we always know we can make something incredible together! We have now shot one full video in his living room and one in mine but you’d never know! 

And finally, when live music returns, which track do you think you will open your set with?
I think it would be really powerful to open with ‘Lock and Load’ but I’ve only ever sung it the one time in the studio so I’d better start practicing! 

Thanks Kandle for chatting with Listen to Discover
Photography Credits: Tess Ananda (top image), Jeffery Mitchell (featured image)

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