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Also Known As: Kathryn Dawn Lang Died:
Born: November 2, 1961 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Consort, Alberta, CA Profession: singer, songwriter, composer, performance artist, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born in a small town in Alberta, Canada, k d lang first gained prominence as a country and western singer. With her close-cropped hair, cowgirl gear and horn-rimmed glasses, she cut an ironic figure that even she has admitted was wacky. But when she opened her mouth to sing, audiences listened. As she dropped the outer trappings and concentrated on her vocal stylings, many began to compare her with the great Patsy Cline. (In fact, lang used to claim that she was the reincarnation of the singer). After two albums with her band, the Reclines, lang began performing as a solo artist. "Shadowland" (1988), her third album, received critical kudos and the singer was lumped with such artists as Lyle Lovett as emblems of the "New Country" movement; artists who managed to find novel approaches to the form without alienating the core audience.Yet, lang was considered a bit too quirky by the mainstream in Nashville. She began to reposition herself, first with a Grammy-winning duet with Roy Orbison on his haunting "Crying" and later with her breakthrough album "Ingenue" (1992). The latter featured her hit "Constant Craving" which not only earned her a second Grammy Award but also demonstrated her vocal range. Her...

Born in a small town in Alberta, Canada, k d lang first gained prominence as a country and western singer. With her close-cropped hair, cowgirl gear and horn-rimmed glasses, she cut an ironic figure that even she has admitted was wacky. But when she opened her mouth to sing, audiences listened. As she dropped the outer trappings and concentrated on her vocal stylings, many began to compare her with the great Patsy Cline. (In fact, lang used to claim that she was the reincarnation of the singer). After two albums with her band, the Reclines, lang began performing as a solo artist. "Shadowland" (1988), her third album, received critical kudos and the singer was lumped with such artists as Lyle Lovett as emblems of the "New Country" movement; artists who managed to find novel approaches to the form without alienating the core audience.

Yet, lang was considered a bit too quirky by the mainstream in Nashville. She began to reposition herself, first with a Grammy-winning duet with Roy Orbison on his haunting "Crying" and later with her breakthrough album "Ingenue" (1992). The latter featured her hit "Constant Craving" which not only earned her a second Grammy Award but also demonstrated her vocal range. Her layered approach to torch songs struck a nerve with the general public. Coincidental with the album's release, lang publicly disclosed her homosexuality in a cover story with THE ADVOCATE. Additional controversy was engendered when lang, a vegetarian, appeared in the "Meat Stinks" advertising campaign sponsored by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A 1993 VANITY FAIR cover that featured the singer in male garb, seated in a barber's chair and receiving a shave from supermodel Cindy Crawford also caused a stir. Nevertheless, lang continued to move away from her country roots toward more of a stance as a chanteuse with "All You Can Eat" (1995). She solidified this stance with the concept album "Drag" (1997), which featured covers of songs about smoking, ranging from "Don't Smoke in Bed" to "My Last Cigarette".

lang began working in features in the late 1980s, providing the musical score for the docudrama "Walking After Midnight" (1988). She has gone on to write the scores for such eclectic fare as "Getting Married at Buffalo Jump" (1989), Gus Van Sant's unsuccessful "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" (1994) and "Entwined" (1997). In 1991, Percy Adlon especially created the role of a half-white, half-Inuit orphan who embarks on a journey of self-discovery in "Salmonberries". lang acquitted herself in the role, but has stated that she does not think of herself as an actor. She has subsequently only tackled a handful of roles, most notably as a lesbian film director in the CBS miniseries "The Last Don" (1997) and as a coffeehouse singer in the groundbreaking 1997 episode of the ABC sitcom "Ellen" wherein the lead character comes out as a lesbian. She returned to features as the government contact for Ewen McGregor's operative in the thriller "Eye of the Beholder" (2000), offering perhaps the film's best performance.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Eye of the Beholder (1999) Hilary
2.
 k.d. lang - Live in Sydney (1997) Herself
3.
4.
 Teresa's Tattoo (1994)
5.
 Salmonberries (1991) Kotzebue
6.
7.
 Roadie Chefs II (2001) Host
10.
 Equality Rocks (2000)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Consort, a small town in Alberta, Canada
:
While in college, began career as a performance artist
:
Formed band k d lang and the re-clines, a country and western band
1988:
Wrote the film score for "Walking After Midnight" with her band, the re-clines
1990:
Starred in "So in Love" music video (directed by Percy Adlon) for the "Red, Hot & Blue" TV special and disc
1991:
Made film acting debut in "Salmonberries", directed by Adlon
1992:
Publicly "came out" as a lesbian in an interview with <i>The Advocate</i>, a magazine targeted to a gay and lesbian audience
1993:
Engendered controversy when she participated in a "Meat Stinks" advertising campaign sponsored by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
1993:
Garnered further publicity when she posed for the cover of <i>Vanity Fair</i> sitting in a barber's chair with Cindy Crawford giving lang a shave
1994:
With longtime collaborator Ben Mink, wrote the music for Gus Van Sant's "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"
1997:
Made cameo appearance on the "coming out" episode of "Ellen"
1997:
TV acting debut in the CBS miniseries "The Last Don"
2000:
Cast in a supporting role in the feature "Eye of the Beholder" (filmed in 1998), alongside Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"My criteria to make a good record is something you can fuck to, something you can cook to, something you can listen to in the morning, and something you can drive to. If you can do all those things to an album, it's a good album." --k d lang in Out, December 1995/January 1996.

"Early in my country career, I was almost considered a novelty act, but that wackiness was a result of the fact I was so hyper about going that I was ready to burst. I'd already been in this small town and I was just ready! But when I realized people weren't paying attention to my voice I became determined to prove myself as a singer and the wackiness started to subside. My interest in extreme approaches to performing is still there, but it's a fine line between contriving something and not holding yourself back when you feel like doing something offbeat." --lang to Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1995.

"If you make me into an icon, there are certain things I should be able to say. Number 1: I do NOT represent the whole lesbian and gay community. I represent one lesbian. Number 2: I am foremost an artist--I HAPPEN to be a lesbian and a vegetarian. Role models should be your dog or your best friend--not celebrities" --lang quoted in Details, November 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Leisha Hailey. Musician. With the band the Murmurs.
companion:
Guinevere Turner. Actor, screenwriter. Linked romantically in the press but neither will confirm relationship.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Fred Lang. Drug store owner. Left lang's mother for another woman c. 1974; lang did not see her father for eight years until a chance meeting in Edmonton, Alberta.
mother:
Audrey Lang. Teacher.
sister:
Keltie Lang. Older; born c. 1955; also disclosed her homosexuality.

Bibliography close complete biography

"k d lang: Carrying the Torch" ECW Press
"k d lang: an illustrated biography" Omnibus Press
"k d lang: All You Get Is Me" Random House of Canada
"k d lang" Chelsea House Publishers
"k d lang"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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