Canadian Pop and Country Star K.D. Lang

Written By:  Sean Bardoo from   

The music industry has many great heterosexual icons and role models that the public admires, and emulates.  However, it’s more difficult especially for lonely individuals of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgendered communities to find openly visible famous role-models to identify with.  KD Lang is one celebrity that has been out as a  lesbian since June, 1992 from an article she did in the LGBT news magazine The Advocate and breaking barriers, inspiring alternative lifestyle communities.  In gender terms, the 1980’s took an interesting turn when one Artist known as KD Lang whose birth name is Kathryn Dawn Lang, and born in Canada burst into the international music industry all over the media.  In 1998, she was inducted into the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives’ National Portrait Collection.  She said on coming out in a 2016 interview with The Canadian Press, saying it “felt like it was the most responsible thing for society and myself” at the time.

vanity_fair_cover_lang_crawfordDuring the start of her career and in the 1990’s time period, she caused a lot of media attention, and tabloid gossip buzz for her appearance, features, and male inspired clothing for mixing up genders.  Especially for using conventional ultra-confident, ‘in your face’ approach that was at the same time butch like, and somewhat on both sides in between feminine & masculine.  Even in today’s Era there are still only a few androgynous woman in music, since we first met her, besides others like; Grace Jones, Tracey Chapman, Annie Lennox, Sinead O’Connor and a handful more.  On the contrary however, considerable effeminate male stars exist that are not conventionally macho, that fail to dress in traditional masculine style. One of the most controversial things in her career that caused media attention was in the August, 1993 issue of Vanity Fair, where she was in a barber chair while model Cindy Crawford pretended to shave her face with a razor.  

KD is most known as a famous singer, songwriter, and occasional actress with an impressive set of credentials with many awards, career highlights includes; Grammy Awards and Juno Awards.  KD received international recognition when she performed, at The Alberta Rose for the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.  She released her debut album in Canada in the early 1980s.  In 1986, appeared in the American country music with Angel with a Lariat.  Then the following year, from a duet with Roy Orbison, achieved a country hit. In 1992 with “Constant Craving,” she achieved the biggest hit of her career thus far a traditional pop song.  It gave her instant international household superstardom.  The song was played everywhere, and all over the world.  KD has recorded other albums since, and in 2002 collaborated with Tony Bennett, for A Wonderful World.  Her greatest-hits collection was released on February 2, 2010, on the Nonesuch label as Recollection.  She was also inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

She has also made a great impact in film and television.  Some of her work includes; in 2010, where she sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” with Matthew Morrison in a Christmas episode of Glee and is in The Music, The Christmas Album.  In February 2013, appeared in Season 8 How I Met Your Mother.  In 2014, appeared in the Season 4 finale of Portlandia as the “Special Guest Star” in Broadway’s After Midnight, replacing Fantasia Barrino.  She appeared from February 11 to March 9, 2014.   

KD’s career mimics her personal identity so much through gender roles identification.  As she has switched from Country music to Pop music several times in her career, and taken on drag themes and even dressed in males clothing.  The visual & performing arts business nowadays is not just about Album sales or lyrics on the Tracks, but is also about the carefully designed images we see through the superficial lenses on CD’s, television and magazines.  KD has been able to have her own mass of followers even though most stars today are doing everything possible to confirm to societal images and portray superficial glittery lifestyles.  She has always remained true to herself and never hidden or changed her identity to conform to societal norms.  This woman has been paving the way for equal rights from the start of her career regardless of what anyone thinks about her.  

She has a voice that is incredibly perfect in pitch, soothing and refreshing with smoky tones.  It makes you forget about your problems and erases pain and sadness.  I have only heard a few voices that truly stands out in my lifetime like hers.  I am still impressed even to this day listening to all of her older songs. She has a one of a kind voice that’s amazing.  

KD Lang has intentionally slowed down her career to take time for herself and relax.  So, for those of you that have never seen her live now is the time to try and attend any live performances available.  She would rather not tour anymore but just record occasional music and make select live appearances.  

I definitely give her a thumbs up and highly recommend all her music.  Her latest music was in 2016, where she collaborated with Neko Case and Laura Veirs on the album project case/lang/veirs.   


Here’s a link to K.D. Langs Discogs profile