Culture | Let Caroline Keating spin you a yarn

Lo-fi musician tells her stories through song

“I decide to share my music because I enjoy sharing it. I like sharing that connection with complete strangers. It’s something beautiful,” explains Caroline Keating.

There are many aspiring artists in Montreal taking the long and winding independent road. Such artists are letting their music speak for itself and earning their colours as performers. Caroline Keating is one of them. Her music and charming personality have made this singer-songwriter one of Canada’s most interesting and promising musicians.

“I just really love stories,” the Montreal-based musician says, describing what inspires her musical projects. “I love reading stories. I like making up stories. I’ve always loved doing it and at some point the piano just kind of become my paper. Instead of writing it down I made songs out of it and every now and then I come out from my little story world and I share it with people. That’s basically me.’

Keating’s songs are peppered with influences from the likes of Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. For Keating, music has always been a part of her. While the stories she conjured up were once confined to paper, they come alive through the medium of her spright fingers and her jazzy vocals, at once charming and nostalgic.

These days, Keating has been listening to Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and to a Swedish band called The Deportees. “No one really knows about them but everyone should know about them,” she explains. “Just really good music. It has a disco seventies Fleetwood Mac kind of feel.” More importantly, having returned from a tour in Germany, she’s has been in the studio lately working on her long-awaited first album. According to Keating, the album started taking shape when she first met up with sound engineer Drew Malamud: “[Drew] is really good. He’s worked with Metric and Grizzly Bear. He decided to give me a shot and gave me some time in the studio,” she says. Keating was also recently awarded a FACTOR grant: “This way the government gives you half the money and pays you back after you’ve completed the product. You can do what you want. They’ve approved your musical project and so there is no telling what kind of songs you should make. It’s any musicians dream. Un-compromised art. It’s more than just money, it’s your country’s support and it’s such an honour to receive it.”

In addition to working on her album, Keating is getting ready some upcoming shows – at Bar St. Laurent 2 and at POP Montreal. This will be her third time playing POP. Of her first experience with POP, she says, ” The creative director, Daniel Seligman came to see me four years ago when I was playing Cafe Dépanneur and there were four people there and he was one of them. He was sort of like, ‘what are you doing, come on do something, play shows, don’t hide in cafes!’ He invited me to play Fringe Pop and I played POP that year.” Keating spoke of her experience fondly: “POP is what I think of as like a family, and I like to consider myself part of that family. They really look after the artists that they are into […] They are a great festival because they really believe in what I think is left to believe in in the music industry. Music for the love of music and people coming together for the love of music.”

Caroline Keating plays Bar St. Laurent 2 (5550 St. Laurent) on September 12 and L’Astral (1845 Ontario E.) on October 2nd. For more information, visit

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