February 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 77  

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Kinnie’s lyrics star tampons, body image

By Ash Wittig
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
KINNIE HAS STARR QUALITY. Kinnie is ready to entertain London tomorrow night, offering some “head-nodding pop with a fresh sexy hop.”

Vancouver-born Kinnie Starr, known for her rad rhyming abilities, describes her new album as “head-nodding pop with a fresh sexy hop.”

Sun Again, Starr’s third album, dabbles in genres including hip-hop, trip-hop, punk and R&B; however, Sun Again is her first album entirely in English.

In the past, Starr has been known to include in her lyrics anything that rubs her the wrong way. She’s spoken out about issues from body image and racial prejudice to the unhealthy side effects of tampons. Somewhat of a nouveau Nelly Furtado, Starr could freestyle her way out of anything.

Recently, however, she has recreated her sound to be a more mellowed- out groove with looser-sounding rhythms. “I’m deeply in love right now and I think you can really tell by listening to this album,” she says. “I think I also came into my own sound and I really learned how to write songs.”

This past year, Starr was in Las Vegas for six months practicing with Cirque de Soleil’s sexy Vegas show, Zumanity. However, she left due to creative differences; the show had taken on a gospel-esque, traditional “cirque” style that failed to feature Starr’s talents.

Starr says she was able to get out of her contract without a problem. “It wasn’t a very good fit,” she notes. “As a result, I learned some skills that I didn’t know before and I learned how much I would prefer to be in Canada.”

In addition to music, Starr creates visual art. She takes inspiration from almost anything, but explains why it’s better to be a rural artist.

“Being rural or at least ‘small urban’ creates more sparks of creativity for me. I’ll see a bird’s nest unprotected in the winter time and it will just create this pop of inspiration for me. I think, too, that artists will get an idea at really weird times — sometimes I’ll wake up at four in the morning with all these ideas running through my head.”

Starr has her share of influences as well, both musically and personally. “History really affects the way I see the world,” she says. “I’m really aware of how little we’ve been taught. The personal by-product of this is that I feel the sting of that in my family. They are unaware of how it is to have Native roots. I look at the work I produce and it’s often drawn from those roots.”

Starr is one quarter Aboriginal, and you can often hear her lyrics alluding to this fact in her albums.

If you’ve seen any episodes of the new series The L Word, chances are you’ve heard Starr’s music as well. “The music editor was and is a fan of my work; she placed some of my songs in the series and I’m really grateful,” she says, adding she also has some songs appearing in the film Thirteen.

Not only does Starr’s music appear in television shows and movies, she also co-stars in an indie film directed by Kurt Voss titled Down and Out With the Paper Dolls, a film about the rise and fall of an all-girl rock band.

Starr’s music is quite varied, so it’s difficult to say where she stands in today’s music industry. “It’s not about the music I play but more about whether or not I have the perseverance. I think what I’m doing is truly valid. I just know that the work that I and a lot of my peers do is very culturally significant.”

Although Starr has many things to say on a number of different topics, the message in her music is pure and simple: “Positivity and respect for yourself. I want to inspire inquisition.”

Kinnie Starr hits London’s Elements Lounge tomorrow, Feb. 19.



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