Newfoundland’s Kellie Loder embraces the fear in taking chances, dissecting the biggest moment of a career, one with a near limitless ceiling
When Kellie Loder left Newfoundland and Labrador last year to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter in Toronto, there was a certain amount of fear that arose. Natural fear, human fear. Back of the mind thoughts of crashing and burning, of failure and disappointment. It’s human nature to have doubts and linger on what ifs.
We all know the Badger native is beyond talented – perhaps one of the more underrated songwriters in Canada today – but the business is cruel more than kind, and sometimes talent can only take you so far.
Well, 2019 is only two months old, and Loder is already pushing towards a career yearr. To say the gamble paid off would be a gross understatement.
For anyone not keeping tabs on the comings and goings of Newfoundland’s music elite, it was announced in late January that Loder’s new single Fearless had been selected as the backdrop for the trailer for big-budget IMAX film Superpower Dogs, voiced by none other than Captain America himself, Chris Evans.
For context, it’s a mammoth deal. Millions of eyes and ears and a type of exposure money can’t buy. And it all happened by chance.
“I can’t even keep up with it. Sometimes I watch it in real time, the notifications when they come in,” Loder tells The Herald. “It’s insane.”
Recounting the experience, Loder admits that there was a great deal of right-place-right-time at play that resulted in the biggest opportunity of a relatively young career.
“I was in a car, a passenger, and a music supervisor was in the same car and he was on the phone with a movie director. I overheard their conversation. The director was saying that they really needed a song for the trailer, nothing was working, and they needed more music. After the conversation ended between them I offered to write a song that weekend for this film that I had no idea what it was. If you like it, use it, if you don’t, that’s fine, just let me try.”
With a musical partner back home in Newfoundland, Loder set to work on songwriting and composition on the track on a Friday. It would be submitted by Tuesday morning.
“We literally wrote the song in an hour and a half. It came out so quickly and I was like, what in the world,” Loder explains. “We didn’t even use a real studio. I used a $200 mic that my parents gave me a couple of years ago for Christmas.”
The track was sent to the music supervisor who immediately pitched the song to his superiors. From there, it was sent with some 30-50 other songs and narrowed down as a contender to send to Los Angeles to be cut with the trailer. Checking off all the boxes, Loder’s track, titled Fearless, made its way up the ladder of approval, until there was only one more hurdle by way of the lead IMAX executives. From there, Loder and company would wait on pins and needles for two weeks.
“I remember one night I was in a friend’s house,” Loder recalls. “I was getting out of the shower and I saw my phone start to blow up. I went over to it and everyone was losing their minds. I’m thinking, don’t freak out unless you know it’s true. It was 100 per cent confirmed that this was going to be the track in the movie trailer. I can’t even tell you how great that felt.”
The irony in the fact that a chance encounter, and a song with a weekend turnaround could be the career breakout many search for but never find is not lost on Loder. Previous albums, including 2017’s Benefit of the Doubt, have received critical acclaim for a career that has seen Juno, Canadian Folk, ECMA and MusicNL nominations and wins. Accolades and praise are one thing, but there’s a different kind of success and media attention that comes from a breakout single like Fearless. It is uncharted territory, but Loder is more than up for the trail.
“When I think about the day we wrote this, it’s such a blur. It’s almost like I wasn’t even writing this, I was just the instrument that somebody else was writing it through. It was very effortless. We only struggled with one or two words, because we knew exactly what we wanted to say.”
A Leap of Faith
There’s also irony in the entire premise and backdrop of the song. For Fearless, it is true that Loder indeed had to take a leap of faith towards the opportunity, risking failure and rejection in the process.
“This song is something that’s really powerful, and we couldn’t think of a word that was more powerful than Fearless. It just fit really well and it just worked out and it’s kind of a Cinderella story in a way. It’s kind of ironic in a way, because I had to be sort of fearless to ask that question, to pipe up in the car and say ‘I can write a song for you’. I just think about what if I didn’t say anything. That’s the scary part, that I just let it go, just got to my destination and never said anything.”
accept the unknown
Loder urges others going down a similar path in life to take those chances, to be bold and accept the unknown. There is fear – naturally – but there is wisdom in those age old cliches. Like Gretzky said, ‘you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.’ Loder is making the most of this one.
“I think a lot of it is out of our control when it comes to getting opportunities, but there’s a lot that is in our control. We have the ability to be bold and not be bold. Really, what do we have to lose?” “
If you’re starting with nothing than there’s really nothing to loose. You don’t know until you ask and that’s really what I’ve been living off of forever. Lots of the great things I’ve received I’ve received because I’ve asked and I’ve worked hard. I just think there’s a lot of power in asking.”
Fearless is available on streaming services worldwide. For more on Kellie Loder visit kellieloder.com