By Amber McLinden
CALGARY — Kimberley MacGregor was about to reach her 30th birthday when she realized that collaboration wasn’t enough for her and her career in music. She knew she had to start releasing music independently, or she never would. “I was thinking about the role that music plays in my life, particularly songwriting and putting myself out there in that way.” MacGregor tells BeatRoute, “I always told myself I’d do it later and I always had it in my mind that I will do it later, but then when I was getting close to 30 I kind of felt like I was kidding myself and if I don’t really do it now then I’m not going to do it later. I knew that was something I would regret.”
Kimberley MacGregor first started putting out music solo about two years ago, but this doesn’t mean she’s new on the scene. MacGregor has formal training, including 12 years as an opera singer. Her vocal skills certainly inform the music she makes now, but it’s hardly operatic. MacGregor describes her music as “blues, folk, rock, and lots of soul,” with a thematic emphasis on the juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability.
While she strayed briefly from her path in music to focus on her career in banking, MacGregor always involved herself in music in some way, playing in other people’s bands or singing back-up. “I always convinced myself that I was not a songwriter, and that I did not have that ability, and I almost separated myself from people who were songwriters thinking that they had some magical thing that I don’t have, and feeling very, very miserable about not having it.” MacGregor eventually realized that the she did, in fact, have the ability to write songs, but that the process was deeply personal.
MacGregor relates songwriting to writing a journal, but one that you let others peer into. It can be both an introspective and vulnerable activity. “Music is sort of the way that I put my inner life out there,” Kimberley explains, but this was not an easy process. “I certainly didn’t feel confident, putting it out there. If I had waited until I was confident, then I never would have done it.”
Next on the agenda is to begin recording new music, due out sometime this year. MacGregor is currently deciding between an EP and a full-length, leaning towards the EP. She hopes to have new music out by the time she hits the road.
MacGregor is headed on tour in January with Ryan Phillips, front person of The Silkstones, as well as duo Steven Foord and Megan Brown. After Phillips reached out to MacGregor, she knew she had to accept. Describing Phillips’s band as “the Lethbridge darlings,” and Foord and Brown as having “sizzling chemistry.”
Kimberley MacGregor performs acoustic with Ryan Phillips. Steven Foord, and Megan Brown at The Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton on January 12th, The Root Community Emporium in Lloydminster on the 13th, Tracks Pub in Olds on the 18th, The Owl Acoustic Lounge in Lethbridge on the 21st, and several house shows in between.AB, Alberta, Kimberley MacGregor, Needle Vinyl Tavern, Owl Acoustic Lounge, Root Community Emporium, Tracks Pub