Life tends to give us what we want…but never how we expect it.
Witness phenomenal Vancouver, B.C. singer/songwriter Billy The Kid. Culled from the same passionate ambrosia that spawned musical greats such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello, this golden throat has been accosting the world of music for years with her refined craftsmanship, bold musical talent, extraordinary songs and overt beauty—aesthetically and aurally—epitomized on latest EP The Lost Cause (Lost Records).
As The Kid will admit however, while initial goals of success were envisioned as a collective, Life had other plans in store. Recognizing her innate abilities, it prodded her towards independence and therefore greatness.
“My parents put me in piano lessons at eight. I hated it,” she notes, admitting that despite a sour introduction to music compounded by her difficult early life as a foster child who left home at 12, creativity quickly took over her life. “I’ve been playing solo for as long as I can remember. I started learning to play guitar in the corridors of my high school and my first show was around 16 years old. I had a band but any time the band couldn’t show up, I’d still take the gig. Any chance to play, I’d take it.”
Grasping those opportunities eventually thrust Billy The Kid into many unexpected spotlights. From punk rocker to pianist, folk crooner and eventually label owner (founding Lost Records in order to support poignant underground music), all of these experiences culminate in the striking and powerful experience that is The Lost Cause, a call-to-arms for individual thinking, personal pride and refusal to relent.
“I’ve always liked all sorts of music and I’ve always played all sorts of music,” she notes about her musical diversity. “I grew up in punk but always loved roots and folk. Songs, really. Any song with a story or a life of it’s own were always my favourites. I’ll still put out rock music and write songs on pianos because at the end of the day, they’re all songs, aren’t they? That’s the thing about The Lost Cause and those whom adhere to it. It’s about finding your own way regardless of what others may think.”
Contextually, The Lost Cause is founded on The Kid’s desire to stay rooted, natural and sincere. Compelled by her struggles as a genuine artist constantly confronted by masked jackals both personally and professionally, The Kid never finds herself with a lack of inspiration, deeming The Lost Cause to be culled from one particular emotion:
“Honesty,” she declares bluntly. “I write a lot about hard times. There seems to be a lot of inspiration for that these days. There is a lot of music out there that is made to make money. It doesn’t really stand up for much. I strive to stand up for what I believe in; don’t really care about what musicians are ’supposed to do’ in order to succeed.”
“My hope is that this thirst for honesty is what attracts our supporters,” she continues. “People are smart. They know they’re being advertised to and music is just the soundtrack to the pop star commodity which takes away all credibility. I’m independent through and through. I believe in throwing out the map and finding my own way.”
Considering that The Lost Cause was produced by Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace, Kelly Clarkson, Hillary Duff, Avril Lavigne) and boasts a vast array of legendary talent including pianist Garth Hudson (The Band, Bob Dylan), drummer Randy Cooke (Ringo Starr/Dave Stewart), guitarist Ben Peeler (Jacob Dylan/The Wallflowers) and harmonica player Stan Behrens (Ruth Brown, The Four Tops) it’s safe to say that Billy The Kid was never off course.
In fact, amassing accolades faster than one can keep count, The Lost Cause is becoming a blueprint of its own for heartfelt music: attaining the Number One position on Much Loud’s charts, The Kid being hand-picked to perform as a part of the legendary Warped Tour, featured Indie Spotlight/Folk Music Spotlight on iTunes Canada, an MSN Sympatico Indiscover Featured Artist, nominated for XM Radio’s The Verge Artist of the Year, holding the top two positions on Earshot’s college listings, radio and television support, winner of three Georgia Straight Reader’s Choice Awards and more. The Lost Cause has certainly found itself at the top of the musical Mecca.
Still, with The Kid’s congenital musicality, professionalism and spirit comes a healthy dose of humility. Gracious, she is thankful for The Lost Cause’s distinctions yet refuses to let them throw her off balance. Instead, they prompt her to sets sights even stronger on the ultimate goal: creating the music in whatever fashion Life has in store.
“The main goal always has been and always will be to just keep on keeping on,” she smiles. “I’m here to spread the Gospel of The Lost Cause; make music for whomever will lend their ears to listen.”
If we’ve met, you’ll know that I have the words “GIVE BACK” and “LOST!” tattooed on me.
Anyone that doesn’t know me is prone to ask the meaning of these words, forever inscribed into my body. “GIVE BACK” speaks for itself, but “LOST!”… well, that’s another story…
When I was 14 I started playing in bands. I picked up guitar at 12, 4 years after my parents put me in piano lessons and I instantly began creating my own music. Eventually I’d end up behind a drum set because no I knew could play them and even further down the road I’d teach myself harmonica while driving around in my 15 passenger van (The “Lost” Bus).
Music. I was in it for the long haul before I even knew it. How was I to know it would become my life? It’s nothing you can prepare yourself for. All I ever felt like I knew was that at 12, 18 and even 24 years old it was the binding force that got me out of bed, carried me through my days and got me through those tough nights.
At 18 I got together with a group of friends and we started calling ourselves Billy the Kid and the Lost Boys. It was a name that seemed to convey the spirit of the project and our manifesto; at the time we were living under a credo of quotes and mantras that read like a time line and became the soundtrack of our lives. It was our way of surviving amidst the mishaps of independence, by throwing out the maps that resulted in a conventional lifestyle and embracing a fierce determination to find our way (even if others deemed it to be a “Lost” Cause).
Little did I know that the term “Lost” would consume not only my vocabulary but my adopted way of life: There’s Lost Records, the label I started to put out our second album that now houses 9 acts and 12 releases and operates as a collective of friends running under the motto “Kids in Bands Helping Kids in Bands”. There’s the Lostice, or Lost Office, where I’ve spent years booking not only my own projects but any friend who needed a helping hand, as well as promoting new musical endeavors and preaching the gospel of the Lost Cause. There’s the Lost Bus, which has taken me a great number of miles beyond what I expected it would and now, there’s the Lost Youth Music Society.
Once I began embracing the path that I had chosen, as random and sometimes meandering as it may seem, it dawned on me that perhaps to be a so-called “Lost Cause” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I began meeting kids across the country who felt the same way I did…they believed that we could find our own way and change the definition of “Lost”. Now, if you’re down with the Cause, you’re LOST! and it’s a darn good thing.
It was with the help of these exceptional people, the crew who are down with the Lost Cause and my amazing family, that I began to realize it was now my turn to give back. I’ve been so fortunate during my time on this planet that I’ve always felt as if there’s got to be something MORE that I can do. So, we’ve started a charity that is going to GIVE BACK, using the power of music to inspire and enhance the lives of kids who might not be as fortunate as we are right now. With the help of donations, music lessons, instruments and a scholarship program we’ll find the Lost Causes out there and help them to find their own way. Remember, it’s a good thing.
The Lost Cause is a way of life that started with “Fun Is Number One” and ended with “Give Back”.
The Lost Cause reads like a timeline of how we found our own way and, in doing so, realized it is now OUR TURN to GIVE BACK.
By donating to the Lost Cause you’re helping us to create a scholarship for foster kids who seek post-secondary education as a means of “Finding Their Own Way”, give guitars to schools in low rent areas and donate to programs helping street kids and drug affected youth.
1. Fun Is Number One
2. We’re the Kids and Nothing Can Touch Us
3. Our Lives Are An Endless Summer
4. Go Team
5. Hanging Out, Being Sweet and Getting Stoked
6. Throw Out Your Map and You Will Find A Way
7. D.I.Y Pimpin
8. If That’s The Worst Of Your Problems…
9. Sometimes You’ve Got to Get Lost Just to Wind Up Someplace New
10. If You Follow All Your Dreams, You Might Get Lost
11. You’ve Got Nothing to Lose When You’re Already Lost
12. Don’t Ever Forget Where You Came From
13. Give Back
14. Forgive Everyone, Including Yourself