Kim Edgar
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Kim Edgar

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Five Star Review"

Edgar’s intensity of performance and songwriting skills have long been noticed (she was one of the recent Burnsong composers) and this polished production sets her piano and guitar skills in textures that move from delicate, quiet confessional with strings to semi-classical rock anthem underscored by resonant horns.

Edgar’s original songs are often very moving, literate, allusive and expressively sung - and destined to travel far beyond their Scottish genesis. * * * * *
Norman Chalmers, Scotland On Sunday - Scotland On Sunday

"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Review"

The cutting "Scissors, Paper, Stone" is a haunting tale of hurt and lost identity[...] but this raw emotion is tempered by the album's debut track, "Red" [...]

Kim Edgar seamlessly fuses poetry with the sound of tinkling ivories, in an album that never drifts far from a rich Scottish heritage. - Linlithgow Journal And Gazette

"Burnsong SongHouse Live Five Star Review"

Intense creative synergy […] emanated from the group throughout a stunning two-hour show. Mostly featuring all of them onstage together, the songs made for an amazingly diverse and accomplished set, from intimate piano ballads to glorious massed vocal tapestries.
* * * * * The Scotsman - The Scotsman

"Wee Dote EP Review"

Some music instantly reaches you and then leaves. Some takes a few listens, hangs around your head and then you become dependent upon it. Kim Edgar’s music does exactly this. After several listens I found it was my morning elixir.

A mild tristesse lingers throughout without drowning in self-pity. Ironically her tunes are strangely uplifting despite the well-phrased, sombre lyrics. Screaming with potential, Edgar’s music is a comfort blanket for the disillusioned soul.
- The Big Issue (Scottish Weekly Magazine)

"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Feature"

Kim Edgar is a young, unassuming singer-songwriter who I shall make some assumptions for. Wherever she chooses to go with her music, she will get there on her own terms. She will remain true to herself - which is not the same thing. Everything she touches will be heartfelt and sprinkled with that infectious enthusiasm for lives lived and lives yet to be lived that is evident when you meet her.

We meet over drinks, which is only proper, to chat about the imminent release of her debut album 'butterflies and broken glass'. The use of lower case in the title is pertinent, for this is an understated and charming collection. It's also very apt that it is released on Quietly Fantastic Records, for it is a quietly fantastic record. Like the butterflies of the title, listening to it makes you feel weightless. - The Leither (Edinburgh Magazine)

"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Feature"

LIKE LIONS in the Serengeti, coffee houses are the natural habitat for singer-songwriters. Here comes one now, clutching an acoustic guitar, on the hunt for a cup of breakfast tea. Actually, Kim Edgar has never played Beanscene on Commercial Quay in Leith, where she is today, although she is no stranger to some of the chain's other venues across Edinburgh. In fact, the 29-year-old, South Queensferry-born musician has gigged tirelessly around the city for years. Now she is about to receive her dues.

By the end of 2008, there is every chance that Kim Edgar will have joined KT Tunstall, Amy Macdonald, Emma Pollock and Karine Polwart on that respected list of Scottish female singer-songwriters. But hold on. If you also throw in the retro-chicks - Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy - and the dinner-party backdrop girls - Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, Katie Melua - isn't this an overcrowded market?

"I've always been an optimist," she says, "so I look at it as a good thing that people are interested in a lot of music that I like and am influenced by. Hopefully what I'm doing is sufficiently different and I can find my space there. However, I am a bit confused about the whole genre thing and where you're meant to fit in because I tend to think about the songs as little short stories."

It shouldn't come as a surprise that she makes a literary comparison. Edgar studied English language and literature at Edinburgh University before swithering between a teaching qualification and diving into the musical career that was closest to her heart. The head ruled, however, and she took the safer option first, applying for a postgraduate course in primary teaching before heading off to study at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (Lipa), from which she graduated in 2002. But a favour for a friend dragged her back into teaching for another two-and-a-half years.

"At the beginning of 2005 I decided to do music full-time instead of teaching primary and nursery," she continues. "I was really lucky that, when I decided to stop, there was a big demand for background music in hotels, restaurants and pubs. So I did loads of work, maybe gigging six nights a week for a couple of years. Over the last year, though, a lot of venues are pulling out of having so much live music at that level. But I was lucky to get work when I needed it."

After this long apprenticeship, the planets have aligned to make 2008 her breakthrough year. January began with a high-profile slot among the assembled stars at the opening concert of Celtic Connections. Her debut album, Butterflies And Broken Glass, supported by a grant from the Scottish Arts Council, is released on her own label this coming week. For the past few days, she has been displaying her wares to the US music industry for the first time at a showcase in Memphis, sponsored by the Folk Alliance. In April, she sets out as tour support for Karine Polwart, having written some arrangements and played on a couple of tracks on Polwart's traditional songs album, Fairest Floo'er. All that's required now is a little bit of airplay - Radio 2, she reckons, would provide the perfect audience, and so that's where she has sent a hot-off-the-press copy of her disc.

This current burst of activity builds on the fact that Edgar was chosen from more than 800 entries as a winning songwriter in 2005's Burnsong Gathering, before going on to take part in the following year's Burnsong Songhouse event, spending an intensive week workshopping with established musicians. Polwart, one of the Burnsong mentors, was a particular inspiration.

"When I heard Karine in 2005, not having come across her before, I was so moved by her songs," Edgar remembers. "They steeled me to go, I really, really want to do this. I want to write songs that are this effective.' I couldn't believe it that, a year later, they invited me to go to the Songhouse. There was a bit of hero worship going on because my mum and dad actually ended up giving Karine a lift down when they were dropping me off. I was like, Oh my God, she's in the back of my car.' The Songhouse experience was the thing that made me think that maybe I was ready to do my first album. I had been swimming about for years and years, but it now seemed like the time to put something out there."

Burnsong collaborations form a strong foundation for the album. Not only have Polwart's backing band stepped in as Edgar's studio musicians, but that singer herself performs backing vocals on most of its 10 tracks. And then there are the co-writing credits with fellow Songhouse inhabitants ex-Delgado Emma Pollock, Future Pilot AKA's Sushil K Dade and Squeeze frontman Chris Difford. That's an impressive set of accomplices for any first-timer, but they don't overshadow Edgar's own talents as a lyricist and composer.

"Lyrics, for me, are the crux of everything," she says. "They usually start from a real experience or a real feeling. I'm trying to do a Philip Larkin thing with my lyrics, how he's very economical with his words. So I spend a lot of time trying to distil things down or making sure I just focus on one thing so that, hopefully, it is poetic but also easy for people to quickly engage with."

Unlike many singer-songwriters, Edgar's songs are not soaked in melancholy; rather there's a Scottish drizzle of sadness that falls over them in a mist of minor keys. In her short-story way, the lyrics are often expressed through metaphors, either as portraits of people or atmospheric descriptions of situations. Thus Cinderella's Slipper ("No Cinderella's slipper, you're mucky and you're worn/ No beauty dropped you at a ball, you've simply been forgotten") might have been directly inspired by a discarded shoe she saw in Liverpool, but it becomes true of many women beaten down by the decades.

The same can be said of the album's highlight, Scissors, Paper, Stone, which uses the children's game to convey the confines of an abusive relationship ("Once you were strong, like a stone, so he covered you/ Keeping you safe, secluded, alone/ Wrapping you up, he carefully smothered you/ Scissors, paper, stone"). It's on this song in particular that Edgar's delicate voice loses all of its gentleness and vulnerability, growing stronger as the music shifts from a chanson-like waltz into a fiery gypsy fiddle solo (played by Greg Lawson of Mr McFall's Chamber and Moishe's Bagel). This is one of the moments that give the album a slightly folky feel, although you couldn't completely describe Edgar as a folk artist, even though she sings in a native Scottish accent.

"It's important to me that you hear the songs as if I was speaking to you," she explains. "I was consciously thinking that I want to sing it how I would say it. I hope, in that sense, that it's not a pastiche of myself, but how it would sound if I said the words to you now.

"I wanted to get that honesty into it. I released an EP a few years ago and, listening back, when I heard some of it, I thought, That's not my voice'. You hear a lot of American music when you're at school and so you try to imitate an American accent. But I wanted to make sure that I was being honest, being straightforward with who I am."

Immediately after leaving me in the coffee house, Edgar is packing for her showcase trip to Memphis, with a quick stopover in New York. Later the same afternoon, however, an email pops up on my computer screen. After we parted, she went home to discover a letter from Jeff Smith, Radio 2's head of music, praising her album and giving her a list of producer contacts to try out. It seems that Kim Edgar's exposure to a wider audience just came a little step closer. - Alan Morrison, Sunday Herald 29.2.08

"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Four Star Review"

Winning 2006’s Burnsong competition and being chucked into a house with established songwriters was a dream come true for Scottish singer Edgar, and she’s made that experience count on this accomplished and intimate debut slice of slick folk pop. Collaborations with Emma Pollock, Future Pilot and Chris Difford appear here, as does Karine Polwart and her band, but it’s Edgar’s own unassuming style which impresses most, from the sumptuous orchestral piano pop of ‘Cinderella Slippers’ to the stripped down folk of ‘Heavy Skies’ and the wonderfully melancholic ballad ‘Climber’. This is an impressive opening salvo from an already refined new talent.

- Doug Johnstone, The List 14.2.08

"Edinburgh Fringe Live Four Star Review"

Kim Edgar’s brand of comfortable melancholy absorbs and soothes. This new artist knows her strength lies in her haunting, beautiful voice and she plays the line to full effect. ****

- Three Weeks (Edinburgh Festival Review)

"Butterflies And Broken Glass Album Review"

Kim has opted to go for ten tracks thereby keeping the quality high. Production by Mattie Foulds, (Karine Polwart), has brought an elegant simplicity to the songs. The music business loves to categorise artists, however, listening to these songs leaves you with the pleasant feeling of knowing you enjoyed not knowing what was coming next...added to the mix are beautiful string or brass arrangements that lift the songs to a glorious place.

Dark songs like 'Just Outside Your Door' & 'House On The Hill' have a full rich sound. 'Heavy Skies' begins with a lovely acoustic guitar before filling out gradually with real strings drawing you into such a warm place. On 'Do You Feel Loved', penned by Chris Difford and Kim, it is both horns and viola that work the magic. Whereas on Robbie Burn's 'The Bonnie Lad' you have just a plaintive vocal and piano, a case of less is more. The powerful 'Scissors, Paper, Stone' about spousal abuse fairly bristles with menace and firelight Gypsy violin.

Kim has been audacious, following her different and unique groove, focusing on the way she wanted this album to sound. With sympathetic production she has pulled it off. Wonderful!

Graeme Scott, Leith FM, VRN1287 & Blues Matters Magazine - Leith FM (Edinburgh Local Radio Station)

"Buxton Fringe Live Review"

The Scottish lilt of the beautiful Kim Edgar positively smoulders under Barrel Room's low brickwork arches. This singer-songwriter, well established on the folk circuit, makes her debut appearance at Buxton this year and is set to become a firm favourite. Her singing is self accompanied on guitar and keyboard and both her playing and singing are notably accomplished.

Kim's material is somewhat melancholic. This is not achieved through the songs' lyrics but rather through what can only be described as the songs' mood. Lyrically, some of Kim's best work comes when she is attempting a narrative in a song. For example, House on the Hill written in collaboration with Emma Pollock which discusses the mysteries of coincidence.

Kim's manner was a winner with the listeners. She introduced her songs with a bit of background and seemed generally interested in the audience's response to her questions. With a new album due out in January 2008 and a growing fan base, Kim's success can surely only grow!
- Dale Copley, Buxton Fringe


Still working on that hot first release.



"exceptional" (Tom Morton, BBC Radio Scotland)
"one of Scotland's undiscovered gems" (Daily Record)
"an artist clearly at the top of her game"  ***** (Fringe Review)

Edinburgh-based pianist and songwriter Kim Edgar's second solo album, The Ornate Lie, grew out of her love of stories, and in particular, fairy tales. As a child, Kim was horrified at the laces of Snow Whites bodice being tightened by the evil Queen in an attempted murder, before the poisoned apple was offered...

"The idea that a woman's clothing could be used against her really captured my attention; I continue to be fascinated by the fairy tale in modern popular culture, and what fairy tales - old and new - may be subliminally teaching us."

Playing with traditional storytelling structures, and drawing on topics including the objectification of women in magazines, child neglect, love, helplessness and mortality, in The Ornate Lie (2012), Kim has created strong melodies, well observed lyrics and an honest intimacy, building on the strengths of her critically acclaimed debut, butterflies and broken glass (2008).

Produced by Mattie Foulds, The Ornate Lie places Kims vocal and piano playing firmly centre stage, with support from leading musicians including Steven Polwart (guitar), Kevin McGuire (bass), Mattie Foulds (drums), Corrina Hewat (harp), string quartet Mr McFalls Chamber, and backing vocals from Karine Polwart, Inge Thomson and Andy Tucker.

Kim is a member of the German based Celtic folk group, Cara (, touring regularly and performing at festivals in Europe and North America. 

Kim is also a member of the genre-hopping collective The Burns Unit, whose debut release, Side Show (2010) was warmly welcomed, with performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, a television appearance on Later With Jools Holland (BBC 2) and a UK tour which led to the band being awarded one of the top 5 gigs of 2011 in The Independent. She also performed with bandmate Karine Polwart for HRH The Queen at the opening of the Scottish Parliament's fourth session in July 2011 (broadcast live on BBC 2), and Karine performed their collaboration 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 as a duet with Paolo Nutini on BBC Scotland.

Passionate about the social and emotional benefits of singing and music making, Kim leads a children's choir at The BIG Project - a youth and children's charity, based in Broomhouse, Edinburgh - and was featured working with Gareth Malone on BBC Children In Need 2011. She leads singing and songwriting workshops across Scotland, and in 2012 composed a multi-choral commission, Breakthrough, for the Usher Hall (Edinburgh) and Celtic Connections (Glasgow). Kim also enjoys arranging strings, and playing piano for other artists including Karine Polwart and Annlaug Borsheim (Norway).

Attracting five star reviews for both her recorded work and live performances, Kim's songs reflect her classical piano background, and her interest in horror, fairy tales, feminism and social history, which she studied during her degree in English Language & Literature. Her songs are beginning to make their way in the world, with live performances at a range of UK venues and festivals, European festivals and tours, and a growing fanbase in Scotland and further afield.

"Edgar's original songs are often very moving, literate, allusive and expressively sung - and destined to travel far beyond their Scottish genesis." ***** Scotland On Sunday

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