Kandle Osborne is a contradiction. In her music, the 23-year-old sounds dark and reflective beyond her years. But in person, her sunny Brigitte Bardot-meets-Taylor Swift charm is positively disarming, making it quickly evident how this child of Can-rock (her dad is Neil Osborne of 54-40) has managed to carve out her own growing sliver of the spotlight. Once a member of noir-pop trio The Blue Violets, she broke away as a solo artist with her self-titled debut EP in 2012. Osborne's first full-length album, the well-received In Flames (find updated tour dates at www.kandlemusic.com), came out this March. Via FaceTime from, as she put it, "somewhere in France," the singer, who was born in B.C. and currently calls Montreal home, expounded on fashion, life on the road and what to do when your guitar breaks in half seconds before a performance.
Is France treating you well?
Yes! We're playing this festival, the [name of which] is basically, "Women do it better." All these female-fronted bands are here. It's great. And I love the way the French listen to music.
How do you mean?
Well, back home I probably wouldn't spend money on the show of a band I hadn't heard of. Here we sell out shows, and it's because people are like, "I heard there was going to be music here tonight," and they buy a ticket and they dance and buy a CD after. It's very cool.
What's your relationship with fashion?
I like it, but I don't know much about it. I get dressed a lot by people who know what they're doing, so I do enjoy that.
Do you have a stylist?
I do have this one designer that I work with a lot in Montreal, Yasmine Wafsy. She has a line called Lustre. I was wearing a lot of her stuff already and she basically asked if she could make me some stuff and I said of course!
Do you guys work together on your look?
Oh, yeah. She has worked with me for a while now, so she's realized how picky I am. I'm really into sixties style, and she's trying to force me out of [wearing] black!
Is there anything you would never wear?
So many things. I would never wear pants onstage. I feel like a dude when I wear jeans. I would feel so uncomfortable if I wore them onstage, like I didn't even try to get ready! I could also never wear high heels. I can wear a slight heel, but I've worn stilettos for photo shoots and I have to get carried to wherever I'm supposed to stand.
You just released your debut full-length album. How does that feel?
It feels amazing. But, you know, I've had the album ready for two years. Everything in this industry comes so slowly. First you have to get your record deal, then you have to wait for the money to come through … and I keep writing, so it does kind of feel like what I'm releasing is not exactly in tune with what I'm creating.
Is that frustrating?
Yeah, a bit, but I know how the game is played.
And now you're promoting the record. Do you like touring?
I love it. Love it! But it is never any less than terrifying – just the way it's an environment that can't be controlled. Like, last week, two minutes before I went on, my guitar broke in half!
In half? How does that even happen?
I have no idea. I was getting this pep talk: "Kandle, there are a lot of important people here tonight, so make sure you knock 'em dead." And it just broke in half. I just stood there off to the side crying while [my band] comforted me. So I've been borrowing a different guitar for every night of the tour.
But you're okay?
Oh, yeah. As soon as we're up there [onstage], everything is fine, and we have so much fun. It's just all the other stuff that's stressful.
So the road is the road. But where's home?
Home is where the heart is, and my heart is split! Montreal is the perfect city to be creative and make magic, and I certainly feel at home there. But my family, friends and dog are still in B.C., so I really don't know the answer!