Earlier this year, pretty successful singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards announced that she was taking a break from music. Since then, she’s opened up a coffee shop in a suburb of Ottawa, Canada, and a new article from The Toronto Star checked up on Edwards to see how she (and her café) was doing. “I’m an excellent barista,” she said. “I had to realize: Fame is not acceptance, it doesn’t validate you as a person. It means nothing. You know what means something? Having people from the neighbourhood come in, getting to know them, seeing their families, and hearing them say ‘thank you for giving us a place to go.’ That’s … awesome.”
The café — which is called Quitters (“for all those who dared me,” she says) — opened in September and came about after Edwards realized that she wanted to work a more normal 9-to-5 schedule after tiring of the rigors of being a working musician. “I have people who come in and say, ‘Hey, I hear you used to be a singer,” she told The Star. “I’m still a singer. But the priority is somewhere else for now. I’m working my ass off, and I’m exhausted. But I’m happy. I’m really happy. I was emotionally exhausted for years. This is different, and good.”
Edwards had a particularly hard press cycle for her last album, Voyagers: It was recorded during and after a divorce from her husband, and co-produced by Justin Vernon, who she was in a relationship with at the time. “The questions would go like this: So, you’re divorced now and you just made a record with your new boyfriend about your ex-husband?’ […] I’d just sit there thinking, ‘How the fuck did I do this to myself? I’m such an asshole.’ I just felt vulnerable all the time.”
For now, she’s happy with the café but won’t rule out returning to music in the future: “The idea was to give this a year and see what it can be. But I have some really, really nice instruments sitting in my house, staring at me — giving me the stinkeye. […] But getting on stage and playing a show? There’s nothing — no fucking steamed milk, nothing that competes with that feeling.”
Read the full article here.
[Photo by Dave Chan/The Toronto Star.]