Kellie’s Got Talent, and so much more. The Herald goes one-on-one with the undeniable rising star that has the nation talking, Kellie Loder
“Has life changed?,” opens our sitdown with Kellie Loder, the resident pride of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Change” could be the understatement of the century. Loder, who’s graduated from superstar-in-waiting to full-blown national treasure, chews the question for a moment.
“It’s pretty wild to go anywhere now and be recognized. It’s different. It’s strange. It’s lovely. It’s wonderful. But yeah, I feel like I’m made for it,” Loder shared honestly, before adding, even more candidly, “A part of me worries that it’s going to be like a flash in the pan, but I don’t feel like it is.”
For those firmly housed in a bubble, Loder made international waves for their runner-up performance in the sophomore season of Canada’s Got Talent. Wowing the all-star judges with one knockout showcase after another, Loder firmly cemented what many on this island and beyond already knew: Kellie Loder’s Got Talent.
“When I walked out for the first time, I was confident enough in my abilities that I almost knew that I would leave an impression because it’s either I leave an impression or all these people that have heard me sing before are lying to me. I felt confident. Went out and did the thing and, you know, blew some minds,” Loder laughs, echoing remarks from their debut performance.
‘I was hoarse’
Loder rocketed through the ranks of the series, earning a slot in the grand finale, though not one that came without struggle.
“What really was interesting about the finale and working so hard to get to that point where there were just eight acts left, I woke up the morning before the finale and I was hoarse,” Loder shared.
“My voice was only at like, 30 or 40 per cent. I have videos of me talking that day, and it’s just not good. Like it sounds like there’s a frog in there and it’s like, honest to God, really? We did the rehearsal the day before and after the rehearsal I cried because I felt like my voice let me down. And I had worked so hard to get to this point.”
Nursed back to health by a close friend and a medical team that rolled out what they referred to as “super-star treatment,” Loder entered the finale at roughly 70 per cent of their singing prowess, still managing to clock in at a more-than-impressive second place finish.
Loder admits the night of the finale was an emotional rollercoaster for all hands, with demand for the result so high that the series website crashed, with Newfoundland rallying en-masse behind their home-grown contender.
“Oh, there were a lot of emotions going on, I remember. All the acts were backstage in the ballroom watching the show when they weren’t on the stage themselves and I couldn’t even get through. Like I was on my phone trying to get through the website to see what people were talking about,” Loder recalled.
“I just sort of sat there and I was like whatever happens, happens. We’ll call it destiny. We’ll call it fate. I was frustrated that people couldn’t get through of course. I was like everybody else.”
Despite a narrow loss to series winner Jeanick Fournier, Loder had arrived, firmly establishing themselves as a can’t miss musical heavyweight.
In the immediate aftermath of their CGT run, Loder returned home to St. John’s for their first ever headline appearance at Holy Heart Theatre, one that earned rave reviews from the adoring Newfoundland faithful.
“I really didn’t know how well we did, honestly, till I started seeing the feedback and talking to people” Loder admits. “And they said it was the best time they ever saw me. So I was like, okay then we’ll take it!”
Post-CGT and Loder is now firmly situated for success, acquiring a team that includes an established manager and booking agent, the fruits of years of tireless labours plying their trade and sharpening skills finally realized.
“Having a team now is just a game changer, really,” Loder said. “It’s like being a boxer and nobody believes in you enough to stand next to you, to grease your face up. And it just feels good to have people in your corner now. It just makes you feel stronger and makes you feel more fearless, no pun intended (laughs). You’ve been working hard your whole life at this and you’ve gotten really good at it. And now people want to help the dream come true.”
With their profile skyrocketing, and a slew of impact performances on deck – including the Ottawa Blues Fest, Stan Rogers Folk Festival, George Street Festival, and opening for Juno winner Chantal Kreviazuk in Niagara Falls, with an exclusive reveal of a cross-NL headline tour this September – Loder’s potential is limitless, as is the admiration from their home-province.
“I’m right there for it,” Loder shares with a smile. “I’m pleasantly surprised, like the way people talk about me and the way people lift me up in conversation, I’m just like, really? Me? It’s still very much like wow, that’s who you’re talking about, and who you’re talking about is me. I don’t know. I feel like I knew that this would happen eventually at this level, for sure. But I just didn’t know when it would or how it would. When you leave your house and somebody stops in the middle of the street in their car and gets out to give you a hug, there’s something to be said for that.
“You’re like a trailblazer in the eyes of a lot of people, right? They look up to you,” Loder adds reflectively. “I went to this school yesterday. I went to Rennie’s River Elementary and went to three different classrooms and sang songs for them, chatted to them and they thought I was like Freddie Mercury or something. They thought I was like Adele and they were lining up for autographs. Just like their little faces, man. I just can’t even handle it. They look at you and they say wow, that’s somebody who’s following their dreams. Such an experience, I could cry just thinking about it.”
Loder, who expressed that this island will “always be home,” is quick to respond to their thoughts on inspiring a new generation of dreamers.
A firm and fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Loder has seen the messages of those inspired by their fearless and candidly authentic run to super-stardom.
‘All I ever wanted’
“It’s so affirming, because that’s all I ever wanted. I love being a performer, yes. But at the end of the day, the reason I’m doing it is mostly for people to feel all the things, you know?,” Loder shared with passion.
“Even through the songwriting, I want people to come to my show and have an experience and let their emotions come up and let them out and hopefully be inspired to also be true to who they are and live their best life, for lack of a better term. Walk in their truth, because when you walk in your truth there’s so much that happens that it just feels more aligned. It’s like going to the chiropractor for your heart. You go to the chiropractor, you get cracked and everything’s aligned again. When you walk in your truth, your heart gets aligned with your mind. And life just feels better. Colours look brighter. Food tastes better. Way to go. This is what living is.”
For more on Kellie Loder, including music and tour dates, visit kellieloder.com and all official social medias