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Kate Reid
06/20/2018
Kate Reid

Story

I was commissioned by Dr. Tara Goldstein to compose and record this song, "Let Love be the Way" based on a set of interviews conducted for the LGBTQ Families Speak Out project taking place at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE - University of Toronto). As an artist-researcher on Tara's research team, among other research duties, I am tasked with going through interview material and composing songs that support the research project and speak to the themes that emerge in the interviews we conduct with LGBTQ families about their experiences in Ontario schools.

This particular song speaks to the overarching theme in the latest set of interviews I worked with where LGBTQ families and people often have to explain their bodies, families, and relationships to school personnel (and to society). This "labour of explaining" happens either pre-emptively, that is, in order to avoid questions and confusion in the future from students and/or school personnel; or, it happens in response to questions and confusion directed at them from another person(s) in a given moment. It is a particular kind of emotional and spiritual labour that gender and sexually-conforming people do not have to engage in. So, the song, "Let Love be the Way" attempts to "turn the tables" and invites gender and sexually-conforming people to do the labour of thinking through their own privileges and to deeply consider the questions posed in the song. In this way, it attempts to disrupt the comfort and ease of what it means to inhabit bodies, claim identities, and engage in relationships that are normative. It also troubles the idea that accommodating people is enough.

For more information on the LGBTQ Families Speak Out project, please go to: www.lgbtqfamiliesspeakout.ca 
I hope you enjoy "Let Love be the Way"!  
Kate xo

Produced by Stew Crookes and Kate Reid 
Assistant engineering by Andrew Scott

Kate Reid (vocals, acoustic guitar)
Andrew Scott (drums, percussion)
Kurt Nielsen (bass)
Todd Lumley (piano and synth)

Lyrics

Let Love be the Way                                                                                       
May 2018


Hey there, hello, you don’t know me
And I don’t know you
But I have a question or two
Thought I’d turn the tables 
On you

What's it like to walk down the street with your partner 
And never wonder “what if”?
To know that wherever you go together
You’re safe because your love blends in?

Could you imagine being unexpected, unforeseen
In the grand scheme of things? 
Then have to reveal yourself, describe and define your love
Your children, your family?


Chorus:

What would it take to let love be the way
Could you listen to people and raise them up? 
Could you up your own game and say “no big deal”
Be inspired instead of afraid? 


How would it feel to live two separate lives
To hide your true self away? 
To have to conform to someone else’s arbitrary rules
And always be asked to explain?

Have you ever had to carve out a space for yourself
Because there was no room for you?
Imagine there were only five choices to line up at school
LGBT and Q?

Chorus:
What would it take to let love be the way
Could you listen to people and raise them up? 
Could you up your own game and say “no big deal”
Be inspired instead of afraid?

Have you ever had to try and justify your body
To people you’ve never met
Or tried to translate yourself into someone else’s language
To make yourself legible?

Do you have to defend which public bathroom you use? 
Have you ever thought about that? 
And felt them attempt to decipher your intentions
While you’re standing there washing your hands?


Have you ever been told that you don’t know who you are
Your pronouns are wrong, they don’t match, they’re grammatically incorrect, 
Your name is wrong, your clothes are wrong, your hair is wrong
Your feelings are wrong, your love is wrong
You are wrong? 


Chorus:
What would it take to let love be the way
Could you listen to people and raise them up? 
Could you up your own game and say “no big deal”
Be inspired instead of afraid? 
What would it take to let love be the way
Could you listen to people and raise them up? 
Could you up your own game and say “no big deal”
Be inspired, could you be brave? 


Has someone with good intentions worked to accommodate you
And tried to fit you in
Have you ever considered how accommodating someone
Doesn’t really change anything?

Kate Reid
03/09/2018

Lyrics

It all started back in ‘87
We were seventeen sitting side by side in science class
And instead of paying attention to what the teacher had to say
I made it my personal mission to make you laugh

You were brainy and I was always getting in trouble
Because studying biology wasn’t really my thing
All that talk about cells and genes didn’t do it for me
But I learned something about chemistry

Chorus:
And I felt Newton’s law of attraction with your body next to mine
I was more of a hands-on learner anyway
And Plato’s law of affinity flashed across my mind
I guess those old boys knew something ‘bout you and me


I was dating a boy and teaching myself to play guitar
You were playing sports and doing your homework
And you passed that class because you were good at science and math
And I failed miserably but I never forgot your laugh

And then twenty-five years later, I was playing music on the road
And I ran into you in bar in Ontario
We didn’t recognize each other ‘til you put two and two together
Your math skills came in handy that day

Chorus:
I felt Newton’s law of attraction with your body next to mine
I’m more of a hands-on learner anyway
And Plato’s law of affinity flashed across my mind
I guess those old boys knew something ‘bout you and me

I want to study the curves of your anatomy
Forget what I’ve learned about love and begin again
Traverse your skin and know the scent and taste and touch of you
Conduct a thorough investigation of you

Chorus:
Cuz I feel Newton’s law of attraction when your body’s next to mine
I’m kind of a hands-on learner anyway
And Plato’s law of affinity flashes across my mind
I guess those old boys knew something ‘bout you and me
And I feel Newton’s law of attraction when your body’s next to mine
I’m kind of a hands-on lover anyway
And Plato’s law of affinity flashes across my mind
I guess those old boys knew something ‘bout you and me
Those old boys knew something ‘bout you and me
Something ‘bout you and me

 

 

 

Kate Reid
10/02/2017

Story

The song, “Pushing the Envelope” was composed by Kate Reid as a part of Prof. Tara Goldstein’s research project entitled LGBTQ Families Speak Out (www.lgbtqfamiliesspeakout.ca) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Through video interviews and subsequent verbatim theatre scripts which Prof. Goldstein's team have written based on some of the interview material, the goal of Prof. Goldstein’s research is to document and disseminate to teachers, community educators, and families, the experiences of children of LGBTQ families in Ontario schools. The song “Pushing the Envelope” is based on some of the interview data and verbatim monologue scripts and sets to music some of the experiences recounted in select interviews with LGBTQ Families and their children. 

Written and performed by: Kate Reid, 2017
Recorded by: Stew Crookes
Produced by Kate Reid and Stew Crookes

Kate Reid: vocals, acoustic guitar
Stew Crookes: pedal steel
Doug Friesen: stand-up and electric bass
Roger Travassos: percussion

Lyrics

Pushing the Envelope               
by: Kate Reid - 2017

The same old question runs around in my mind
Should I speak or should I just keep quiet?
As though I owe them some kind of disclosure or explanation
Every single time and in every single situation

Some people don’t even have think about it
They don’t look beyond their own realities
How can we make sense of ourselves in this absence that’s present everyday?
It’s like we’re fighting something bigger than we can name

Chorus: G, F, C
One day we won’t need to be
Pushing the envelope
We won’t be represented by   
Permission slips home
And it won’t be trendy
To advertise our families
And we won’t be legitimized
By posters on a wall

I don’t see myself amongst these pages
The people I love are nowhere to be found
Will someone please explain all this controversy around the word “family”?
Because I know that love and community create kinship, too

Anytime you bend the gender rules folks tend to notice
They always want to put you back in the box
What would it mean to live without the fear of being interrogated
To be free to articulate our bodies any way we want? 

Chorus

Bridge: 
And I still feel this tension between
Wanting to be accepted
And wanting to let my freak flag fly
But I’m not a character in their narrative
And I won’t rehearse their lines for them
I’m writing a new script for you and me
About the beauty
Of non-conformity

We weave ourselves into the fabric of this world
Disrupting constructions of “boy” and “girl” and “boy-meets-girl”
Changing language and policy  
Celebrating families, loves ones, and identities
If we raise our voices strong, we shall overcome 

Chorus:
One day we won’t need to be
Pushing the envelope       
We won’t be represented by  
Permission slips home 
And it won’t be trendy
To advertise our families
And we won’t be legitimized
By posters on a wall

Kate Reid & Chelsey Hauge
10/31/2014

Story

Kate collaborated on the writing of this song with a friend of hers who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29. “Breast Cancer Pink” challenges the commercialized, “pink” nature of breast cancer narratives and culture. It insists that artistically expressing feelings of anger and sorrow in response to dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis can be a healing experience. Written from the perspective of one young woman's experience with breast cancer, this song represents a different telling of the breast cancer experience. Adam Popowitz plays electric guitar, Toby Peter plays bass, Richard Brown is on drums, and Kate plays acoustic guitar and sings the vocals. Chelsey and two of her "cancer buddies" sing backup vocals on the final chorus.  

To find out more about Kate's collaborative songwriting service, go to the dashboard of this website and click on Our Lives in Song.

Lyrics

I think I’ve got everything under control, it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be fine
I’m just trying to find a way to hide this new body of mine
I’ve got me some of those loose-fitting, with-the-sleeves-rolled-up-
Hipster-boyfriend-button-down shirts to pull around my chest
Shirts that make me look like I wouldn’t
If you saw me undressed

But there’s one more problem, I want to feel normal again, I want to look normal again
I want to look like what people expect normal should look like
Whatever normal should look like, what does that look like?
I need to fill in this space the surgery left behind
Something to cover up this scar zigzagging across my ribcage and my mind

Chorus 
Cuz they took my left tit away
Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

At the lingerie store it’s all about the perfect rack from that straight male fantasy
Whether it’s Victoria’s Secret, or the store for women like me with partial mastectomies
But excuse me, what’s so perfect about
Bras for chicks with no left tit, trying to make me look all flawless 
This is one more space in which my body just doesn’t fit

Chorus
Cuz they took my left tit away

Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

Everywhere I turn all I see is this ghastly pastel shade
Pink bows, pink lace, pink ribbons, pink panties all over the place
What’s any self-respecting, no-left-breasted, post-structural feminist supposed to think?
What can I say?

This gendered cancer game feels like a straitjacket to me

Bridge
And they call us all warriors, as if we’re fighting a war
Then they call us badass survivors when we don’t die
Well, warriors don’t wear pink lace lingerie
And survivors don’t hide behind little bows
So gimme some underwear with attitude
Gimme some red and black gitch
Stitch it up with rhinestones and spikes
But nothing proper and nothing lady-like, no!

Chorus
Cuz they took my left tit away
Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

 

Kate Reid and K. Crisp
09/30/2015

Story

"Phoenix" is the result of a collaboration between Kate and a woman living in the USA who is struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, her feelings for another woman, and what it can mean to conform to society's expectations. They worked together for several sessions on Skype and then Kate recorded the song in the studio with her band, Adam Popowitz, Toby Peter and Richard Brown. Kate plays the acoustic guitar and sings the vocals.

To find out more about Kate's collaborative songwriting service, go to the dashboard of this website and click on Our Lives in Song.

Lyrics

I’ve been doing a lot of running through my life
Running from them, running from myself, running from my truth
I’ve been hiding something inside of me 
And my foot’s on the gas
Feels like I’m driving a thousand miles too fast
And now I’m just running on empty

See, over the years, I’ve been making lists
I gotta do this, gotta do that
Get things done and prove I’m someone
I go to college, get good grades and graduate
Find a man, land a job and start a family
Cuz, that’s what they expect of me

Now, I’m tired of pretending and in the end
There’s nowhere to go when I feel boxed in and split in two 
I can’t seem to find a way to say it
I open my mouth but nothing comes out
Except some sweet smiling southern talk
But that’s not really who I am

And, I remember how it felt when I first crossed that line
How it felt to redefine myself and come clean in my own mind
We were listening to “Cannonball” and I still recall all I wanted 
Was to kiss her, we were just sixteen
But that wasn’t exactly on my list

Bridge
Since then, I feel like I’ve been dying except something’s coming alive

And now I’m standing here, my feet are on the edge
I’m looking out across the abyss and I see your face in the distance
But the hardest step is taking that leap of faith
And this whole thing might go up in flames
But I’m hoping that you’ll wait for me
Cuz from these ruins baby, I’m going to rise
And when I breathe
Will I find peace?
And if I’m tender and I’m tough
Is that good enough?
Am I good enough?

So, I’m done with running, I’m done with checking my list
I’m giving it all up to chance with a whispered prayer and a touch of risk
And I keep stoking this fire that’s burning inside me for you
Knowing that on some morning so sublime
I’ll be waking up with your body next to mine
Your body next to mine

Kate Reid & Chase McKee
07/31/2014

Story

“fYreflies” was written in collaboration with a young, vibrant friend of Kate's named Chase McKee in the summer of 2014. Kate met Chase (previously known as Tay) at Camp fYrefly (http://www.fyrefly.ualberta.ca) back in the summer of 2012 when she was the artist-in-residence at the camp in Edmonton. Then, last July, Chase and Kate both attended Camp fYrefly in Calgary, he as a camper, and Kate as the AIR again. Chase asked Kate if she would consider writing a song with him during their time at camp. She heartily agreed and they wrote "fYreflies" to capture what Camp fYrefly meant to both of them. They had a great time working together: their creative energy flowed easily, and they laughed a lot. Chase is very talented when it comes to rhythm, timing and word-play, and Kate thoroughly enjoyed spending time co-writing with him. 

On the last night of camp, they performed “fYreflies” for all of the campers, staff and volunteers at the Showcase Night. It was a hit and they had a blast performing it for the camp. The co-founder/co-director of the camp loved the song so much that after camp was over, he provided funds for Chase to fly to Vancouver so that they could record “fYreflies” in the studio. With Kate's producer, Adam Popowitz, she organized the studio time and her band (Adam on electric guitar, Toby Peter on bass, Richard Brown on drums) to come together to record the song. Kate plays  the acoustic guitar, and Chase and Kate sing the vocals. 

To find out more about Kate's collaborative songwriting service, go to the dashboard of this website and click on Our Lives in Song.

 

Lyrics

When I first arrived, I was scared and I was shy
I didn’t know if I was going to be able to look anyone in the eye
I was terrified. 
Now, I’m standing here in front of all of you 
Trying to lay down a rhyme, or two
And I think it’s about time I told all of you… 
About Camp fYrefly
F to the Y to the R - E - F - L - Y 
What does that spell? 
FYREFLY! 

I was thrown into my pod and right then and there I saw
All these friendly faces looking back at me
Tattoos, smiles, fabulous style
Piercings, crazy hair and whoa, there’s glitter like, everywhere!
And it dawned on me that it’s so rare to see
So many queer bodies in one place
And in that moment I thought, hey
For the first time in my life, I can finally be myself
In this positive fYrefly space

Chorus
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

Being here is like being back in kindergarten
Cuz I don’t gotta to worry about who’s my friend or who’s my enemy
Cuz I have just been accepted into
My new found family
You see, here at fYrefly, there is no prejudice, there’s only pride
And I’m never forced to pick any side
I don’t gotta worry about which bathroom to use
Because it doesn’t matter if I’m a chick or a dude
Or anything in between, cuz those binaries are just plain mean
This is my time, I can just be me
And you can just be you

Chorus
fYreflies, glowing in the night

fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

At fYrefly, I can be proud and I can be bold
I don’t gotta look over my shoulder
And worry about who’s judging me or who’s staring
Because it’s here where I know people truly care.
You know I love to see all of you smile
Because in this world we live in
Sometimes that can take a while
This camp changes the world, this camp saves lives
In fact, this camp saved mine.
Because the people here made me realize that
There’s a reason to be alive
At fYrefly, when I look into all of your eyes,
I feel recognized, I feel empowered and acknowledged
Like we are all unstoppable, like anything is possible!

Chorus
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

Laughing, Latin dancing, river rafting, arts and crafting
We’ve got hikes and dykes and open mics
Sex ed and that killer food we’re fed
S'mores and spider dogs and campfire logs
Singing our hearts out and whispering after “lights out”
We’re movement makers, stereotype breakers
Chance takers, perception shakers and yeah….we’re heart breakers!
We are gender creative, trans celebrative
We’ve got our healthy minds team bringing us queer cheer
And to all the volunteers, I’m so glad that you are all here
We’ve got unicorns that are gay
And what can I say?
(Chase and Kate) We’ve got Kate and Tay

Chorus
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

Even though our days together at fYrefly will come to a close
I want you to know that that the bonds
We have created here will continue on, and on, and on
And no matter where we find ourselves
I know that when I yell “fyre”, you’ll yell  “fly”
“fYre?” “fly!” “fYre?” “fly!”, “fYre?” “fly!”
And now it’s time for us to go back into the world
But when life feels like a roller coaster or one of those tilt-a-whirl rides
Or if ever you’re feeling hurt or alone
Just remember this, you only have 361 days
Until you get to come back home.

Chorus
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine