Leith-based singer songwriter Kim Edgar is busy recording her new album at the moment. She took time out from recording for an interview with The Edinburgh Reporter about her forthcoming Fringe show on 5 August 2011.
” I’m really enjoying recording,” said Kim,” because there’s a beautiful Bosendorfer to play on, and the piano is really central to most of the songs. This album has quite a few stormy, angry songs, with me bashing away at the keys! It’s being produced by Mattie Foulds, who worked with me on my last album. We`re doing some recording at the Castlesound studio in Pencaitland and the rest at Mattie`s studio, Mobile With A Home. A lot of fantastic musicians are involved, including an amazing string quartet, Mr McFall’s Chamber.
I enjoy performing solo because you have a really direct relationship with the audience. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy playing in a group as it’s a completely different vibe – lots of fun and interaction on the stage and a chance to make a really loud noise!
I’m in a group called The Burns Unit, which is loads of fun as we’re made up of songwriters from a whole range of musical genres. We came about through a “Songhouse”, a residential writing week devised by Burnsong, so mixing that all up together is really creatively exciting. We only have a limited amount of time together because everyone has solo music careers and some members live in Canada and Germany. We’re always writing new songs on the go which is a great challenge. I’m thoroughly looking forward to our next tour in August, which takes in the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.
It`s great working in music and getting to be creative, working with like minded folk, getting to travel and meet people. I love having a whole range of different jobs like conductor, arranger, writer, performer, session musician that keep my day to day life varied. Also music’s a sprawling thing – once you’ve written a song it begins to make its own way in the world and it’s very exciting when that starts to happen.
Some of the good things about working in music though can also be the difficult things, like getting to decide what to do every day, and managing my own time.
I love Edinburgh for its architecture, history, green spaces, art galleries, its compact city centre, and especially for the people here. I’ve grown up here and many of my friends and family are here. I really love the proximity to water. Growing up I was lucky to have the beach at the bottom of my street, and now, staying in Leith, I enjoy being near to the shore and the sea air; it’s invigorating. But I don’t love the pot-holes, the lengthy roadworks or the disruptions caused by the delays and disputes over the trams project.”
Kim grew up in South Queensferry, with her older brother, Paul, and her parents. “As a child, I remember listening to Bread, The Carpenters and Tchaikovsky on Sunday afternoons on the record player, while my granny and grandpa Jones kept us entertained with folk songs from Ireland. There was a piano in our house and I was always desperate to play it – my mum played the piano, so I think I wanted to be like her. Also, there was a theory in the seventies about playing music to children in the womb, and I heard a lot of Mozart before I was born, which was probably influential!
Her 2008 album ‘Butterflies and Broken Glass’ got some 5 star reviews. The song ‘Red’ was inspired by the stories my mum told me about growing up in Bathgate – colourful, vibrant stories where she painted a real picture of family and community. It’s an ode to community spirit, which has perhaps been a little lost now we’ve all got our own televisions and telephones.
I listen quite obsessively to a limited number of albums that I think are outstanding, although I do enjoy a wide range of music. If I had to pick three songwriters to listen to for the rest of my life, they would be Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos and Karine Polwart.”
Kim is performing solo as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. “I’ve played at St Mark`s many times before as it’s a venue with a fantastic acoustic and a gorgeous grand piano,” she says. ” In this show, I’ll be performing a sneak preview of some of the songs from the album I’m recording just now, which will be released in early 2012, as well as playing some songs from my debut, ‘Butterflies and Broken Glass’. I’ve been really well supported by Edinburgh audiences, so I wanted to play them my new songs before anyone else.”
Kim Edgar, Friday 5th August, 8pm,St. Mark’s ArtSpace, Castle Terr.
Tickets £10/8 from Usher Hall, 0131 228 1155
[googleMap name=”St Mark’s Art Space” width=”300″ height=”300″ directions_to=”false”]7 Castle Terrace. Edinburgh, EH1 2DP[/googleMap]