Born in Alberta
k.d. lang was always controversial
within the traditional close-knit back-biting world of country music
. Like Dwight Yoakam
and Lyle Lovett
, kd was considered a Nashville outsider
. Her first major label album in was released 1987, her campy
appearance, and torch infused music put her at odds with the rest of the country community which was undergoing a pop music revival under the auspices
of successful radio-friendly artists like Garth Brooks
and Randy Travis
. Very few people knew what to make of her even though her hauntingly beautiful voice was hard to ignore.
lang discovered the music of Patsy Cline while studying theater in college. She was so influenced by the legendary singer that she formed her own band with Ben Mink, named the re-clines in tribute to Patsy. In 1983 and they recorded an album called "Friday Dance Promenade." The following year they recorded "A Truly Western Experience." People took notice and lang was named "Most Promising Female Vocalist" by the Juno Awards in 1985.
Soon US lables took notice and lang signed with Sire and released "Angel with a Lariat" in 1986. lang was a critical success and was popular on college radio and progressive country stations but was still largely ignored by the Nashville Machine. It wasn't until her duet with Roy Orbison on his hit "Crying" that lang hit the country charts. With the release of "Shadowland," lang would score her second country Top 40 hit with "I'm Down to My Last Cigarette." The album was a critical and commercial success, it was certified gold--a first for lang.
lang's next album (and arguably her finest to date) increased her mainstream country audience by leap and bounds. She won a Grammy for "Best Country Performance-Female" and enjoyed a Top 25 hit with the single "Full Moon of Love."
The new found attention had it's drawbacks. In 1990 lang, a vegetarian took a public stand against eating meat. The media hyped the sotry and some people destroyed lang's recordings and threatened to boycott the singer entirely. When lang admitted in an interview with The Advocate that she was a lesbian, she was further alienated from the country mainstream.
lang effectively abandoned country music with the release of her fourth album "Ingenue". The album was a hit, going platinum in several countries. She scored a Top 40 hit with "Constant Craving" and won another Grammy, this time for "Pop Female Performance."
lang took some time off and instead of recording another album to capitalize on her new fame, she worked on the largely instrumental soundtrack for the Gus Van Zant directed "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues." Her next full length album was "All You Can Eat" was a modest success. lang continues to record and performs. Recent albums include 1997's "Drag" , 2000's "Invincible Summer" and 2001's "Live By Request".
Sources: Wall of Sound, All Music Guide