Tuesday, January 29, 2008

k.d. lang -- Buddhist

OK, I'll admit I'm not always the most tuned in person, but it had slipped my attention until the current issue of Shambhala Sun that k.d. lang is now a Buddhist, and has been for a while. She's been out of the spotlight for a while, but her new album, Watershed, will change that.

From The Times (UK):

What really started to turn things around for her, Lang thinks, was her becoming a Buddhist in 2001. This has finally helped her sort out her “priorities and motivations”. The calmness with which she now views everything from her remarkable, absconding dad to her crooked accountant and her hitherto disruptive approach to relationships, is all a part of “the way Buddhism inverts your preconceptions”.

She says she always believed in the idea of reincarnation, “even as a teenager”, but that until she met her teacher “it was like having a car but not knowing how to drive”. Lang found herself with a new companion, a fellow Buddhist who works as a volunteer for various Buddhist organisations. “She is very honest with me, very mature and intelligent; incredibly honest in refining my best attributes and curbing my less attractive ones.” Which are? “Being flirty. And careless. For me, being careless has always been the big one.”

Gone are the days when a careless Kathy Lang would allow journalists into her home for interviews and chat about the Hudson/Hunter “sexual vibe” that first attracted her to buy the place. Today she says: “It’s crazy for the gay community to let itself be defined by its sexual preferences.”

She will happily talk about how “the Beverly Hills marble is not my style”. How she much prefers Hollywood rustic – the sycamore wood that adjoins her modest cabin in the hills, the bougainvillea-lined hiking paths that pass near it, and the two dogs she loves to play with in the garden – “They think I’m one of the pack!”

But home now is where the heart is, and professional contacts are kept at a distance. While we’ve been talking as Lang and her new band are preparing for the 2008 world tour, her ironically styled “wife” has been preparing the supper: veggie coconut curry, Lang’s favourite.

The only relationship that now gives Lang any serious cause for concern is the one she has with her singing voice. She worries about a tendency to over-emote, rather than, as she prefers, simply to inhabit and animate the song. “Part of the process is learning how not to force your voice. And that’s really hard.” She says she now disapproves of some of her most celebrated performances, notably the duet with Roy Orbison.

Then again, the Buddhist in her, or something, tells Lang that at this point in her life she should stop beating herself up about the mistakes of her past and just revel now in her extraordinary talent. “When you have a 12-cylinder engine, I guess it’s hard not to put the pedal to the metal sometimes,” she says with a parting grin .

This is from The Advocate:

Tucking herself into the far corner of a brown couch in the midtown Manhattan office of her record company on a December afternoon, lang isn’t evasive about what she’s been up to since releasing the sunny, enthusiastic Invincible Summer in 2000.

“Buddhism, number one, has had a huge, huge, huge impact on my life and my direction,” she says, unconsciously toying with a string of brown prayer beads on her left wrist. Lang became a serious practitioner in 2001, and everything from her lingo and demeanor to the music on her new genre-spanning album, Watershed, demonstrates her devotion. It’s no passing Hollywood fancy. “It took a long time to get to a point where I knew what I wanted to express as a lyricist,” lang says.

The outside world may be rumbling with turmoil, but the 46-year-old lang radiates peace. Her unlined face is still sweetly boyish, and her cropped hair points effortlessly skyward. She wears a baggy dark sweater over a plain T-shirt and speaks with an appealing melodic lilt about her nearly quarter-century-long career. Watershed, an album of beautifully orchestrated, slow-burning adult-contemporary pop songs, marks her first self-produced project and her second album on Nonesuch, the less commercially oriented Warner Bros. label devoted to jazz and world musicians as well as category-defying artists like Wilco and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

And here is a song from Watershed, I Dream of Spring:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this - an interesting assortment of articles and information. ^_^