Music takes all kinds and Cat Jahnke, a Saskatoon-born folk singer who performed in Kamloops Nov. 29 at The Art We Are, is certainly one of the most unique and interesting independent artists our country features. Jahnke was touring to promote her new album, The Stories Are Taking Their Toll. The album, like her others, is poetic, down to earth and wonderful to listen to. Her vocals are clear and distinct. In this day and age where female pop singers have been auto-tuned to the point of robot-noise, a little folksy charm is refreshing. Jahnke now lives in Winnipeg with her husband and stepson, but her love for music was instilled at a very young age. “When I was really young I would watch The Sound of Music,” she says. “It was split up on two different videos and I watched the first one over and over again. I wanted to be a singer like Julie Andrews when I was little but I never really thought I would.”Jahnke learned how to sing in the Mennonite church her family attended and was part of a musical family. She took after her other sisters and learned to play piano very well. Like most of us young people, she spent a lot of time trying to decide what to do with her life, considering a career in the culinary arts, teaching piano and even considered mortuary school. However, after spending some time as a temp, she decided to follow her childhood dream and take a shot at being a musician. “And then I met a fellow who broke my heart and I wrote an album about it,” she says.Since then Cat’s enjoyed a successful career as an independent artist touring all over the country and even landing a job doing the music score for NBC’s “CTRL” web series featuring Arrested Development’s Tony Hale. Jahnke’s won awards for song writing and was the winner of the 2006, 168 Hour Film Festival’s Best Original Score for the film Free of Charge directed by Robert Kirbyson. She says film and television has helped her gain confidence in her music career. “The encouragement that I got from doing successful scores makes me feel very fortunate,” she says. Jahnke’s humble, with a quirky side she’s very aware of. She’s very human and has no reservations about sharing her life’s stories. She explains that a lot of the inspiration she gains to write songs comes from traumatic events such as having to drive through the Columbia Icefields alone and her mother suffering—but surviving from—a brain aneurism. “One of the ways I get through it is to write about it,” she says about her personal form of therapy. “Usually as I’m writing something comes out.”Jahnke revels in the personal freedom that being an independent musician allows. While it calls for lots of time spent on the road and setting up tours, she still gets to sleep in and enjoy life. “I love sleeping in and I love being able to sit and read a book,” she says. “I’m not being lazy; I’m being inspired by this. Being a musician yes, things are tight, but I own a house, I own a van, I eat food every day that I enjoy—I can enjoy my life.”
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