Artist Profile - Kimya Dawson

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Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:00 am

Kimya Dawson is a quirky and playful singer/songwriter born and raised in Bedford Hills, NY. Her career began alongside coworker Adam Green as they began writing songs together amidst her travel between New York and Washington, eventually forming indie folk, garage rock band The Moldy Peaches. Best known for their song “Anyone Else But You,” the band became active in the NYC anti-folk scene until going hiatus in 2004.

Dawson continued her career among a string of lo-fi homemade releases including her 2002 solo debut album “I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean.” This assortment of melodies were performed mostly on the acoustic guitar and lyrically circled around childlike language with darkly thoughtful overtones. She then vastly toured in Europe and North America with a tight grasp on the hearts of wide-ranging audiences. Later in 2006 she collaborated with a small group of friends forming a French and, once again, anti-folk band called Antsy Pants that recorded and released an album on Plan It X Records.

Much of Dawson’s success was led by her vocal appearance in multiple films including “The Guatemalan Handshake,” “Glue,” and not to mention her angelic yet eccentric voice occupying half of the chart-topping Juno soundtrack. Her considerable presence in this film kicked open the gate to an even wider spectrum of listeners as well as the pursuit of children’s music. Her album “Alphabutt” was written specifically for kids and was heavily influenced by her daughter, Panda Delilah. This album touches up on many elements of youth and innocence from the goofy, premature sounds and subject matter to more profound and serious themes such as caring, poverty and privilege, sustainable living, generosity, and body image—of course all simplified to adhere to the ears of children.

Aside from her adolescent-friendly works, Dawson’s lyrics tend to encompass an even deeper, and slightly more vulgar scrutiny of such heavy topics. To open up for her performance of “Walk Like Thunder” at TEDxBoulder, she explained how in the early makings of The Moldy Peaches she had drank herself into a coma and had just been released from treatment days before the band’s first show. Struggle and despair have seemed to deeply influence her lyrics and successes along with her previously mentioned daughter, Panda. Dawson even features the soft, high-pitched voice of her offspring in various songs including one of my personal favorites, “Everything’s Alright.”

All in all, there’s no limit to the range of listeners Kimya Dawson continues to inspire. She has tackled heaps of empathy, passion, rage, remorse, grief, love, shame, and affection all amidst her quirky, beaming, and oftentimes humorous tone. To me, she is what it means to truly wear your heart on your sleeve. From punk teens to toddlers and from melancholy to radiance, Kimya Dawson has done it all.