There are few artists in any genre that can say they have had success for nearly 30 years, but k.d. lang has done it all. She's gone from winning Grammys to being the most memorable performance in an Olympic opening ceremony. RDW caught up with the prolific Canadian artist before a show in Steamboat Springs, Colo. to chat about her career, touring and the current state of good music.
A lot of your music is timeless. Old songs could be released today and still be fresh. What do you credit that kind of sound to?
Not buying into trends. Following my heart and sticking to what I love. It helps having an eclectic, broad, listening palate to begin with. Not trying to create music for a specific audience or marketing to a certain demographic.
You have fans in their 20s to fans in their 70s. Are you proud of that diverse fan base?
It's always been an aspiration for me, to have an extremely wide spectrum of listeners. To me, music should transcend all barriers. My work with Tony Bennett has brought in an older audience and recently "Constant Craving" was featured on Glee, so now I see some younger people in the audience. I love the diversity in the audience.
Has touring changed much in your 30-year career?
No, the road is pretty humbling. It's extremely polarizing some days. One night, you might be staying at a five-star hotel and the very next day you might be staying at a truck stop Motel 6. You have to be disciplined, but flexible. With that sort of lifestyle, it's best to be easygoing.
You have two very famous duets (one with Roy Orbison and the other with Tony Bennett). Were they as exciting for you as they are for listeners?
Both collaborations were incredible opportunities. I've worked with some amazing, amazing legends in my lifetime. It's always interesting when people get together and see what happens. I've gotten really lucky to work with artists who've helped nurture who I am and learn as an artist.
Are you continually learning?
There's a lot to learn. There are too many great songs out there and too many great artists to ever feel like you've pinnacled. My craving for learning will never be satiated.
Do you find new music that you consider great or does it fall by the wayside?
Music is so exciting right now, I get turned on to stuff everyday. I just downloaded Dengue Fever's new album. I like Little Dragon. I actually like the band Fun., too.
What about your forte – country?
I have to be honest, I don't listen to contemporary country music. To me, what I would consider to be true country music would be M. Ward, Neko Case or Gillian Welch. I'm not listening to Toby Keith or anybody like that.
(That makes two of us, Ms. Lang.) | RDW
k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang • 8/9, 8 p.m. • MotorCity Casino Hotel Sound Board • 2901 Grand River, Detroit • 313.309.4614 • motorcitycasino.com • $45-$61