|Origin||Badger, Newfoundland, Canada|
Kellie Loder (born 1988) is an independent singer-songwriter from Newfoundland who plays drums, guitar and piano. She has released two Contemporary Christian albums: The Way in 2009 and Imperfections & Directions in 2010. With a voice that St. John's-based newspaper The Telegram has described as "powerful yet serene and soulful", she has won critical recognition at the annual MusicNL awards in Newfoundland, as well as the Juno Awards, Canada's top music prizes.
Having written her first song at age 16 about a cousin who died in a traffic accident, Loder was studying nursing at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland when she released The Way in August 2009. Later that year, she won a talent-search contest hosted by YC Newfoundland, a Christian youth conference. As part of the award, Loder was given time with music industry and production professionals who helped her with Imperfections & Directions, which was released at the 2010 YC Newfoundland. Loder's nursing studies hampered her ability to showcase Imperfections & Directions by touring. Loder was nominated as Female Artist of the Year at the 2010 MusicNL awards, and then as Gospel Artist of the Year in 2011. Imperfections & Directions was nominated as Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards.
Loder's music career is unusual in that she chose to begin it in Contemporary Christian music (CCM); most young musicians choose music genres such as country and pop, which are generally considered more likely to bring commercial success. Loder has asserted that she chose CCM because it gives purpose to her music. In April 2012, she had not decided whether she would focus on medicine or music, but by April 2013, she had made music her focus.
Kellie Loder was born to Christina and Bob Loder in 1988, and was raised in Badger, a town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She considers her first introduction to music to have taken place before she was born; her mother frequently played Michael W. Smith songs to her through headphones while she was still in the womb. Loder claims to have "natural rhythm" and that she began emulating the drummer at her Pentecostal church by beating on a pew with pencils at the age of two. At age 10, Loder was placed in her church's drumming ensemble.
Loder's younger brother taught her three guitar chords when she was 14, and she received her first guitar later that year. She began writing songs at age 16. Her first song, which was about a cousin who had died in a traffic accident, used lyrics from a poem by one of their mutual friends. With encouragement from her family, Loder concentrated on her singing and songwriting and performed this in addition to another she subsequently wrote for a friend's graduation.
Loder was raised as a Christian by her parents, and considers herself to have become serious about her faith in 2007, when she "started to accept [her] gifts for what they were... and just assumed it was [from] God." After this experience, she began playing piano, and credited God with teaching her how to play. Loder favours the piano, considering it the most beautiful of the instruments she plays. The first song she wrote after beginning the piano was "Giants", also for a graduating class; the song uses the story of Goliath as its theme, generalizing the story to apply to each individual's internal struggles. "Giants" eventually appeared on both of her albums: The Way and Imperfections & Directions.
In 2008, while studying nursing at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland through the Western Regional School of Nursing, Loder met Devin Robinson, a record producer. The meeting led to him producing her first album, an independent release called The Way, which was recorded at Sweet Music Studios. Loder wrote all 11 songs on the album, which was released in August 2009. The initial run of the album sold out, and she subsequently went door-to-door in small Newfoundland communities selling a second run of the album. On her most lucrative day selling albums in this manner, she made $1000. Loder later said that this manner of selling her album proved to be a good way to develop a fanbase; people invited her into their homes for meals, prayer, and discussions. Also that year, she won a talent-search contest hosted by YC Newfoundland, a Christian youth conference, where she performed "Giants".
As part of the award, which was valued at C$20,000, Loder was given a membership for both the East Coast Music and MusicNL trade associations, and was given time at a recording studio and advice from music industry and production professionals. She was also engaged in a featured performance slot at the following year's YC Newfoundland. Loder later referred to the music professionals she met (including Scott Mansfield, Mark Peddle, and NewManiac Studios' Peter Newman) as "the top players" in the music industry of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the producers helped Loder with Imperfections & Directions, her second album. She was particularly appreciative of Newman, who produced the album, mixing Imperfections & Directions with Tom Laune in Nashville, Tennessee. Loder originally conceived "Fearless" (one of the album's tracks) as a techno song, and believes that Newman was the one who made that techno feel a reality.
On November 14, 2009, Loder opened for the Newfoundland-based Christian rock band Anyday, which was launching its debut album, Got Extraordinary, at a benefit concert at Springdale's Indian River High School. This concert, which was Loder's first performance in Springdale and her first time performing with Anyday, raised $675 to support David Willis and his family in Willis's battle with lymphoma at Daffodil House in St. John's, with more than 100 people in attendance. She and Anyday were scheduled to perform together again on November 28 at Dorset Collegiate on Pilley's Island.
Loder moved to St. John's in January 2010, and performed alongside Starfield and Roy Martin later that year at the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival gospel concert in Grand Falls-Windsor. She also performed at the 2010 One Worship Festival in Springdale, and officially released Imperfections & Directions, another independent release, at YC Newfoundland that October. Loder's nursing studies hampered her ability to showcase this album by touring. A reporter for The Telegram, a St. John's-based newspaper, noted that Imperfections & Directions "demonstrates how Loder wears her faith and love of God on her sleeve." Loder was nominated as Female Artist of the Year at the 2010 MusicNL awards with Mary Barry; Teresa Ennis; Irene Bridger; and Amelia Curran, the eventual winner. Loder was nominated for another MusicNL award the following year, this time in the Gospel Artist of the Year category; this nomination was, in part, due to Imperfections & Directions.
In early 2012, Loder made a music video for "Your Love Alone", one of the album's tracks, which was uploaded to YouTube. She later said she had written the song during a difficult phase in her life, and the song's lyrics revolve around the idea that the grace and mercy of God can be found in the most difficult situations. Through her experience, she became convinced that knowing God is all-important, expressing this concept in the chorus: "Your love alone is sufficient. It needs no company." She stated that she wrote the song "One Name Away" after having watched The Tyra Banks Show. The episode featured an interview with a girl who had been forced into prostitution at a young age; despite smiling on screen, the girl hopelessly declared that she would probably die before she turned 22.
Imperfections & Directions was nominated as Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards, Canada's top music awards. Loder said the nomination was a surprise; she learned about it in a text message from Newman after missing a call from him. Her fellow nominees in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album category were Jon Bauer's Forevermore, downhere's On the Altar of Love, Sky Terminal's Don't Close Your Eyes and Hawk Nelson's Crazy Love. Loder travelled to Ottawa, Ontario on March 28 to attend the awards ceremony, which was hosted by William Shatner at Scotiabank Place on April 1. Her album was one of three Newfoundland nominees at the Juno Awards that year; the other two were rock band Hey Rosetta! and The Once's folk album, Row Upon Row of the People We Know. Loder said that "on a scale of 1 to 10", her excitement about her Juno nomination was "probably a 10."
Although Loder lost the Juno Award to downhere, an alternative rock band, she said she enjoyed walking down the red carpet and would never forget meeting major Canadian musicians such as Blue Rodeo and Sam Roberts; Loder had an opportunity to sing and play guitar with Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy at the Junos. She competed in the Juno Cup hockey game, in which, at 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m), she was considerably shorter than most of the other players. Playing for the Rockers team of Juno nominees against the Greats team of former National Hockey League players, she was awarded a penalty shot after a fight with Troy Crowder. The Greats threw their sticks in her way as she took the shot, which was stopped with ease by goaltender David Francey, a Juno nominee who had been traded to the Greats.
Loder returned to Newfoundland on April 2; the following month, she performed at Gros Morne National Park's Trails, Tails & Tunes Festival with Dave Paddon. That July, she performed alongside Nick Hamlyn at Corner Brook's Downtown Days festival. In December 2012, she held two free coffeehouses in Newfoundland: at the Stavanger Drive Second Cup on the 15th and at Cornerstone Ministry Centre on the 21st. Over the subsequent months into the middle of 2013, she performed on a monthly basis at the Stavanger Drive Second Cup, which is owned by Newman. She also performed at the Majestic Theatre and the Fat Cat Blues Bar in St. John's. In 2013, she was named a showcase winner by the Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) and was selected to perform at the organization's national conference.
Loder performed six songs live as part of an interview on CBC Radio in April 2013. She had written five of these songs, and four of them had not been previously released. The unreleased songs were "Playground", "Nursing a Broken Heart", "Like a Flower", and "One Girl", and the fourth song was "On This Drive", which had appeared on Imperfections & Directions. The fifth song was a cover version of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues". She was inspired to write the song "Nursing a Broken Heart" after watching George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on which Hugh Jackman uttered the phrase "nursing a broken heart" as part of an interview. She wrote "Like a Flower" after a friend challenged her to write a song directed at herself as a child.
Listeners unfamiliar with contemporary Christian music (CCM) often assume that Loder sings hymn-style music. Her career is unusual in that it began in CCM; most young musicians choose music genres such as country and pop, which are generally considered more likely to bring commercial success. Loder has asserted that she chose CCM because it gives purpose to her music; many of her songs are about God, but they may also be interpreted as being about other subjects.  In 2013, she said that she was starting to write and perform songs in other genres, and hoped that she would be able to transition out of CCM as Katy Perry, Lifehouse, and Creed had done previously. In transitioning out of CCM, she wished to assure the public that she had "definitely not turned [her] back on [her] faith."
Loder believes everything that she sings is for God, regardless of the song's subject. She sees her music as a Christian ministry, the goal of which is to inspire people to live happier, better lives. A reporter for The Telegram called Loder's voice "powerful yet serene and soulful". Her songs have been played regularly on Rogers TV and CBC Radio. Specifically, her song "Raise You Higher" was selected for several song countdowns and was played across Canada by both secular and Christian radio stations. A CBC Radio reviewer called Loder "amazingly talented", her music "gorgeous" and her song "Playground" in particular "absolutely beautiful". In April 2012, Loder said that she had not decided whether she would focus on medicine or music. In April 2013, she said that music was now her focus and that she was considering moving to Toronto in hopes of increasing her opportunities to develop her music career. She was working as a Child and Youth Worker at a company called Blue Sky at the time.
|2010||Imperfections & Directions|||
|2018||Benefit of the Doubt|