When indie-rock singer-songwriter Kandle, 23, performs at the Alix Goolden Hall for Rifflandia on Saturday, it won’t be her first time working the venue. The last time she was paid to be there, she was working the door, hoping to make it on the stage someday. “It’s very exciting!” says Kandle. “Actually, it’s the first time I’ll be playing home.”
Her first band in B.C., The Blue Violets, started as a fun project with sister Coral Osbourne and friend Louise Burns. “In The Blue Violets they would laugh and make fun of me like, ‘Oh sure, Kandle will have a solo band,’ because we all just thought it was so unrealistic!” she says.
Though Kandle grew up in a musical family, she didn’t start learning to play guitar and sing until her late teens. “I was really bad at it!” she jokes with a self-deprecating laugh.
Kandle’s father, Neil Osbourne, is frontman of the popular band 54-40. Kandle credits her father for inspiring her and encouraging her to make music. Being a rock star’s daughter, however, presents certain challenges. “I guess when people in the industry in B.C. have known someone their whole life and still know them as the little girl falling in gymnastics class with her pigtails, it’s hard all of the sudden to take that little girl seriously.”
Kandle also recognizes that many people have the wrong impression about her father’s role in her career. “A lot of people think he controls me and . . . even think that he writes my songs,” she says. While Kandle says she and her father are close on a family level, she insists that she makes her music independently.
Kandle moved to Montreal in 2012 in an effort to establish a respected name on her own terms, without people immediately associating her with her father. Demonstrating her seriousness as a musician has been Kandle’s mission over the past two years, and her March debut album release, In Flames, affirmed her talent and artistry on an international scale.
Kandle’s band, The Krooks, consists of “a lot of really professional established older guys,” including Sam Goldberg of Broken Social Scene, Jason Kent of The Dears, and Tim Fletcher of The Stills.
Naturally, the dynamic in an all-male band is vastly different than Kandle’s previous all-female band. “You get a little girl-deprived when you’re touring around with older gentlemen 24/7. You’re like, sometimes I just want to talk about Gossip Girl and braid each other’s hair or something!” laughs Kandle. Nonetheless, Kandle praises her band-mates for helping her become a stronger musician and performer.
Though Kandle is steadily gaining popularity and acclaim, she still can’t support herself as a musician, and she works hard to pay the rent in other ways. “I sell things sometimes if I’m desperate,” she says, laughing. But to Kandle, that’s a reasonable part of living her passion.
“Everybody’s success story initially started with a failure story,” she says, “and I kind of hang on to that while I’m scrubbing other people’s toilets. It’s like, I know I’m on the radio right now as I’m scrubbing this toilet! But that’s life.”
Kandle and the Krooks perform at the Alix Goolden Hall on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit rifflandia.com/artists.