Life is so impermanent that it's not about somebody else or things around me, it's about knowing you are completely alone in this world and being content inside.
Katherine Dawn Lang grew up in Consort, Alberta, a Canadian prairie town, the youngest of four. Her mother was a teacher and her father ran the local drugstore. When she was 12, her father left for another woman and, apart from a chance encounter when she was an adult, lang never saw him again (he died last year and neither lang, nor her siblings, went to his funeral). She bristles when I mention her father, but she appears to have made peace with him.
After winning a singing competition as a child, lang knew this was where her future lay and all but gave up on school. She spent the 80s singing country, although by the time lang came out in 1992 (not only as gay but also as vegetarian, fronting an animal rights campaign), the affair with Nashville was over. She switched to torch songs, moved to LA to be near a married woman she had fallen for and channelled that unrequited love into Ingenue. There and then, lang exploded.
Lang had been touring Ingenue for a long 18 months and was getting tired and disillusioned. "I was starting to wake up to the 'nothing is free' perspective," she says. "I felt like there were all these expectations on me - from my manager, from the gay community, from myself." Her next album, All You Can Eat, was she says, "like the food at a buffet - total carbohydrates and no nutritional value. It sold, like, 38 copies and it was perfect because it did what I wanted it to do, which was snap me out of it."
She took herself off, started learning about Buddhism, met her partner, Jamie, a fellow student and settled down in her modest wood cabin in LA with their dogs.
- Emine Saner, The Guardian
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +