Related Artists

Ray Lamontagne

Roy Clark

Ben Harper

Atlanta Rhythm Section

The Rascals

Juice Newton

Joni Mitchell

10,000 Maniacs

Josh Groban

Emmylou Harris

k.d. Lang Biography

Home > Music > L > Lang, k.d. > Biography

Birth Name: Kathryn Dawn Lang
Born: 1961/11/02
Birth Place: Canada
Years Active: 1984—present
Genres: Country, Pop

k.d. lang was born on November 2, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress. When lang was nine months old, her family moved to Consort, Alberta, where she grew up on the Canadian prairie. After secondary school, lang attended Red Deer College, where she became fascinated with the life and music of Patsy Cline and ultimately determined to pursue a career as a professional singer.

In 1983, lang formed a Patsy Cline tribute band called the Reclines, and recorded a debut album, “Friday Dance Promenade.” In 1986, lang signed a contract with an American record producer in Nashville, Tennessee, and received critical acclaim for her 1987 album, “Angel with a Lariat,” which was produced by Dave Edmunds.

lang's career received a significant boost when Roy Orbison chose her to record a duet of his standard, “Crying,” a collaboration that won them the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1989. The song was used in the 1987 Jon Cryer film “Hiding Out.”

1988 marked the release of “Shadowland,” an album of torch country produced by Owen Bradley. In late 1988, “Shadowland” was named Album of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association. That year she also performed "Turn Me Round" at the closing ceremonies of the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, and sang background vocals with Jennifer Warnes and Bonnie Raitt for Orbison's acclaimed television special, “Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.”

lang won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her 1989 album, “Absolute Torch and Twang.” The single “Full Moon Full of Love” that stemmed from that album became a modest hit in the U.S. in the summer of 1989. In 1989 she sang a duet, “Sin City,” with Dwight Yoakam on his album “Just Lookin' for a Hit.”

Her 1992 album, “Ingénue,” a set of adult contemporary pop songs that showed comparatively little country influence, contained her most popular song, “Constant Craving.” That song brought her multi-million sales, much critical acclaim, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Another Top 10 single from the record was “Miss Chatelaine.”

lang contributed much of the music towards Gus Van Sant's soundtrack of the 1994 film “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” and also did a cover of “Skylark” for the 1997 film adaptation of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” She performed “Surrender” for the closing titles of the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” having previously worked with Bond composer David Arnold on his album, “Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.”

In 1996, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1997, “Drag,” an album of cover tunes dedicated to smoke (was released, although the album cover and booklet photographs show lang in a man's suit, referring to crossdressing as another possible meaning of the word drag. The songs on “Drag” included “Smoke Dreams,” from the 1940s, Steve Miller Band's “The Joker,” “Smoke Rings,” the theme from the cult movie “Valley of the Dolls,” and eight other smoke-themed songs.

In 2003, she won her fourth Grammy Award, this time for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her collaboration with Tony Bennett on “A Wonderful World.”

In 2004 lang released “Hymns of the 49th Parallel,” which featured cover versions of songs by iconic Canadian singer-songwriters, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Siberry and Neil Young. According to the Canadian Record Industry Association (CRIA), in April 2006 the album went platinum in Canada. In December 2007 the album reached double platinum status in Australia. Also in 2004, she sang the song “Little Patch of Heaven”for the Walt Disney Feature Animation film “Home on the Range.”

In 2006, lang paired with singer Madeleine Peyroux on a cover of the Joni Mitchell song “River” for Peyroux's album, “Half the Perfect World.” That same year lang was featured on Nellie McKay's second album, “Pretty Little Head,” singing with McKay on “We Had it Right.” As well, lang sang a version of The Beatles' “Golden Slumbers” for the “Happy Feet” film soundtrack. She also sang a duet with Ann Wilson on the Heart singer's solo album “Hope & Glory” covering the Lucinda Williams song “Jackson.”

In 2007, she partnered with Anne Murray on a re-make of Murray's hit “A Love Song,” to be featured on Murray's album, “Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends.” lang released an album of new material, “Watershed,” in February 2008. It was her first collection of original material since 2000’s “Invincible Summer.” lang's first complete greatest-hits collection was released in February 2010, on the Nonesuch label, titled “Recollection.”

In 2010, lang was in Nashville, working on a new country album, titled Sing it Loud. The Nonesuch album was released by k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang in spring 2011. The band toured North America in summer 2011.