(November 2, 1961 - living) Canada
Country & Western crossover singer, composer and actor
Born in Consort, near Edmonton, Alberta as Kathryn Dawn Lang, her father was Adam Frederick Lang (commonly known as Fred), a pharmacist, and her mother was Audrey, a teacher. She began performing music as a teenager aided by a natural ability and extraordinary voice.
Reportedly she does not use capital letters in her name as a tribute to poet e.e. cummings. In 1997, at a record release party in New York, k.d. lang promoted Drag, a torch-blues compilation of reinterpreted classics.
k.d. lang first made a name for herself in the mid-1980s as the leader of "The Reclines", a Patsy Cline tribute band. After a handful of successful albums, lang earned international recognition for her performance as "The Alberta Rose" at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics.
From there, lang recorded a hugely successful duet with Roy Orbison of his "Crying" and she won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her 1989 album, "Absolute Torch and Twang".
In 1992, lang released "Ingénue", an album that included her biggest hit, "Constant Craving", and earned her the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. That same year, lang publicly came out in an interview with The Advocate.
At this point lang seemed to have achieved many of her ambitions, including the one of finding reciprocal love with another woman, in this instance Leisha Hailey.
"I think coming out helped a lot for me personally, because living in honesty and living open, and in truth is an amazing feeling and I highly recommend it for anyone. No matter what you're hiding, just let it go."
k.d. lang, ca. 1994
In August 1993, the cover of Vanity Fair featured Herb Ritts' famous portrait of lang in a barber chair appearing to have her face shaved by a bikini-clad Cindy Crawford; the cover was a groundbreaking statement on the roles of sexuality, gender, and beauty in American culture. Along with her outspoken advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community, lang also is a vocal animal rights activist.
Winner of three Grammy awards and a Juno award, which she accepted dressed in a wedding dress and cowboy boots. In 1997 she was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Sources: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001 - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - et alii
- A truly Western Experience (1984)
- Angel With a Lariat (1987)
- Shadowland (1988)
- Absolute Torch and Twang (1989)
- Ingenue (1992)
- Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
- All You Can Eat (1995)
- Drag (1997)
- Invincible Summer
- Live by Request (2001)
- Salmonberries (1991)
- Teresa's Tattoo (1994)
- The Last Don (TV, 1997)
- Eye of the Beholder (1999)