Kaya Fraser

Kaya Fraser

 Victoria, British Columbia, CAN
SoloPopSinger/Songwriter

"Elements of country, soul, and sultry acoustic pop are combined with sophistication and polish ... Fraser's moving songs don't really need anything more, except to be discovered." - The Montreal Gazette

Biography

Powerful songs. A sweet, soulful voice. Strong arrangements.

Kaya Fraser's music is not about gimmicks, it's about quality--that know-it-when-you-hear-it thing that makes you listen, listen again, and go tell your friends. She writes about people and circumstances, about love gone awry, about places that haunt you. And she does it right.

Kaya has a songwriting pedigree: her father is Allan Fraser of the critically acclaimed 70's folk duo Fraser & DeBolt, who were known for their intense performances and brilliant songcraft. Her clever, well-constructed lyrics also bear the mark of years studying poetry. She was on her way to getting a PhD in literature when she started writing songs in the mid-2000's. As it became clear to her that this, not the ivory tower, was where she belonged, she quit her degree and started writing music that sounded like she'd been at it all her life.

Her debut EP, Tremor and Slip (2007), made reviewers sit up and take notice. It peaked at #3 on the iTunes charts in its genre in France, and received healthy airplay on CBC and on college radio. Exclaim! said this about her first full-length release, Open Horizon (2010): "the album flirts with soul and blues, jazz and country, but ultimately, hangs together as a beautifully cohesive and promising debut." Kaya played live in venues across Canada, making appearances at festivals, and creating a buzz with her intimate, compelling solo shows. Ron Sexsmith, one of Canada's best songwriters, recognized the promise in Kaya's "lovely voice and natural songwriting."

But then, in a bitter case of life-imitating-art, Kaya's personal life was shaken by one of the metaphorical earthquakes she had been writing about. In the space of six months, her mother died suddenly of an undetected cancer, and then her marriage of seven years fell apart. Living on Canada's west coast, thousands of miles from her home in Montreal, she found she had to take some time off performing to get her bearings.

After this hiatus, still based in Victoria BC, Kaya is returning to her craft with renewed energy, and with the maturity that loss can lend to an artist's vision. She is writing songs and starting to perform again--sometimes solo, but often with a new backup band that gives her songs a fuller, more Americana sound. She is at work on material for a third album, built on the cautious optimism of spiritual recovery. The lyrics of one of the new songs, "Evidence of Life", sum it up well: "Take another look around: evidence of life abounds / Proof is growing from the ground beneath your feet / Even if you close your eyes, the world still testifies / Of everything the dark will not defeat."

Undefeated, a little older and wiser, Kaya Fraser is poised to take her place among Canada's best new singer-songwriters.

CONTACT: kaya@kayafraser.com

EXCLAIM! review of OPEN HORIZON (2010):

By Rachel Sanders
With jazzy interludes and melt-in-her-mouth vocals, Kaya Fraser's first full-length release is a journey of considerable emotional range. Daughter to Canadian songwriter Allan Fraser (of '70s psych folk duo Fraser and DeBolt), the Victoria, BC-based musician has built upon the foundations she laid with her 2007 EP, the elegant Tremor and Slip. With Open Horizon, she offers a diverse collection of songs that explore passion of every variety, from the blissfully upbeat "Good To Be Home" to the achingly brief and emotionally wrenching "A Hundred Days." Other highlights include the banjo-licked "Made To Mend" and the brooding, Al Purdy-inspired "Cariboo Horses," which highlights Fraser's rich voice and her ability to create vivid moods within her songs. Produced by one-time Blue Rodeo guitarist Kim Deschamps (who also contributes pedal steel, dobro and banjo), the album flirts with soul and blues, jazz and country, but ultimately, hangs together as a beautifully cohesive and promising debut.

ABOUT "TREMOR AND SLIP" (2007):

[Listed as one of the best folk/roots albums of 2008] - The Ottawa Citizen

"Tremor and Slip is Kaya Fraser's debut recording. Return to that sentence after you've listened to the CD (and you must listen to the CD) and read it again until it sinks in." -Bess Hamilton, ARTSCAPE MAGAZINE

"Fraser's voice is warm and engaging, displaying the sexiness of Carlene Carter with a bit of the world weariness of Lucinda Williams in her delivery. The songs are killer ... Fraser is an exciting new voice that deserves a listen." -Dave Clarke, SCENE

"This London, Ont., based artist distinguishes herself from the school of singer-songwriters matriculated by Joni Mitchell with jazz-inflected phrasing that allows her to navigate this waltz-time rumination with admirable agility." -John Sakamoto, THE TORONTO STAR

"Tremor and Slip stops at seven songs so she calls it an EP. Maybe that is one reason it sounds

Lyrics

The Stars

Written By: Kaya Fraser

Darling play that song for me again
I can’t bear to let it fade just yet
I know that this all will have to end soon
So I’m taking every moment I can get

Darling if I could you know I would
Stay right here until the daylight breaks
Forgetting everything I know I should do
But I don’t have the kind of nerve that takes

But the stars tonight
Are just unbelievably bright
Well now what am I to do
To keep from falling, falling in love with you

Cause it’s just no use, I know too well
Apart from the apologies I make
I am just the type that tends to dwell
And dwelling here would be a mistake

So I guess I’ll get my coat and take my leave
And put this to an end before it starts
But everything you said to me this evening
Tomorrow I will know it all by heart

But the stars tonight
Were just unbelievably bright
Well now what was I to do
To keep from falling, falling in love with you

Tremor and Slip

Written By: Kaya Fraser

It was on the news today
The fault is failing they say
The big one’s
Bound to come
One of these days

Centuries of shifting stone
Colliding will swallow your home
It will happen
Don’t know when
But it’s something that you’ve always known

Tremor and slip
The ground is losing its grip on itself
I can’t help but sympathize
Cause try as I might
To fight it I’m losing my grip on myself
I hope you can sympathize

But everyone just keeps right on
Building their buildings upon
This unsteady
Ground that someday
Will be gone

So I'm thinking if I don’t complain
And forget this language of pain
I’ll be okay
And I can just stay
Just stay the same

Tremor and slip
The ground is losing its grip on itself
I can’t help but sympathize
Cause try as I might
To fight it I’m losing my grip on myself
I hope you can sympathize




The Only Exception

Written By: Kaya Fraser

The Only Exception

Baby I dunno, baby I dunno,
I just don’t know what’s going on
Maybe I’m a fool listening to you,
Maybe I’ve got this all wrong
But we just keep on talking
Even though there’s nothing left to say
And you know there’s nothing left to say
Anymore

Everybody sees what you do to me,
What you do me, baby, what you do
You’re never going to be everything to me,
I won’t be everything to you
So we just keep on going
Until there’s nowhere left to go
But when there’s nowhere left to go
What then?

Tell me a lie
Tell me that I
Could be the only exception
Take it from me
I’ll never be
Above a little deception
If it means more, more of you
(Cause I) Cannot get enough, cannot get enough Baby, of your touch
Even though I know I already know
It’s costing me too much
So I’ll keep coming back
Because there’s nothing left I can do
It’s the only thing that I can do
Right now

Tell me a lie
Tell me that I
Could be the only exception
Take it from me
I’ll never be
Above a little deception
If it means more, more of you
If it means more, more of you
If it means more, more of you

Good to be Home

Written By: Kaya Fraser

Step inside and close my front door
Put my bags down on the floor
It feels so good to be home again
Hello baby, you're looking fine
You got some dinner cooking and a bottle of wine
It feels so good to be home again

After some time goes by I’ll get the itch to hit the road again
Well I couldn’t tell you why, but my baby understands
That once the day is done and it’s taken out its toll on me
I’ll come running right back home; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be
It feels so good to be home
It feels so good to be home
It feels so good to be home again

Doesn’t matter how long I've been gone
If it’s a plane or a train ride that I've been on
It always feels so good to get home again
Needless to say, it’s my favourite part
When I can throw my arms 'round my sweetheart
It feels so good to be home again

After some time goes by I’ll get the itch to hit the road again
Well I couldn’t tell you why, but my baby understands
That once the day is done and it’s taken out its toll on me
I’ll come running right back home; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be
It feels so good to be home
It feels so good to be home
It feels so good to be home again
To be home again
To be home again

Another Heartache Song

Written By: Kaya Fraser

I guess you know it's bad when you're wearing waterproof makeup
Just in case you'll be crying tonight
I guess you know it's bad when the morning arrives and you wake up
Already tensed for the fight

It just goes on and on and on
And I write another heartache song

It was a stupid thing to do
It was a selfish thing to do
It was a cruel thing to do, to do me wrong

I guess it's only fair what you're asking of me and I don't have
A reason to resent the refrain
I guess it's only fair and I did see it coming
But somehow I wonder how it happened again

It just goes on and on and on
And you write another heartache song

It was a stupid thing to do
It was a selfish thing to do
It was a cruel thing to do, to do you wrong

Oh yes, it's a mess
It's a tangled web we weave
With which we try to capture love
Oh no, you don't know
Well you never would believe what you're capable of
The things you're capable of...

It just goes on and on and on
The world gets another heartache song

These are the stupid things we do
These are the selfish things we do
These are the cruel things we do in the name of love

Cariboo Horses

Written By: Kaya Fraser

Quiet my mind
Still my hands
Heal my weary, wounded heart
Open my eyes
Close my mouth
Take me to a place apart

Cariboo horses in my dreams running
Wild and dark
On the Cariboo hillsides that once seemed so
Wide and stark
O Cariboo horses, lead me home
I’m lost again
In the Cariboo hills I will make my home
'Til I’m whole again
'Til I’m whole again

The damage is done
The moment is passed
All the beautiful, barbed-wire words are said
Left in its wake
With nothing to hide
Not one alkali tear left to shed

Cariboo horses in my dreams running
Wild and dark
On the Cariboo hillsides that once seemed so
Wide and stark
O Cariboo horses, lead me home
I’m lost again
In the Cariboo hills I will make my home
'Til I’m whole again
'Til I’m whole again
'Til I’m whole again

Discography

July 17, 2010: "Open Horizon." Produced by Kim Deschamps. Featuring Al Cross and Paul Intson. Recorded by Sean Gugula, Jukasa Studios, Ohsweken ON
Funded by FACTOR Independent Artist Loan

November 23, 2007: "Tremor and Slip" (EP). Produced by Jason Hakin, recorded by Will Haas, Willyboy Recordings, London ON