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Spotlight on alumni

Back to the Water is Kim Stockwood's new album, and it describes a musical journey that has defined her career. As a solo pop act and as part of the trio Shea, she has enjoyed tremendous success. However, her musical roots are firmly planted in the songs of her youth, sung with family and learned around the kitchen table. Along with the original song that is also the title track, she has put together a collection of her favourite Newfoundland tunes and is getting ready to launch a provincewide tour. She spoke with Gazette contributor David Penney.

DP: Tell me about the upcoming tour.
KS: It starts in St. John's on Feb.28 and then I'm going across the island and to Labrador. The last solo tour I did was probably 11 years ago. I have done a few shows around the province but not my own, complete show – and not since this record so I'm really excited. It's exciting and a little scary.

DP: Back to the Water is a change from your previous solo work. What prompted you to take a more traditional direction with this album?
KS: I've had an incredible career, and I'm so thankful for it, but I think in some ways I became a pop artist without necessarily intending to become a pop artist. It took me a long time to get to where I can sing the way I was meant to sing and the music I was meant to sing. But you can't skip over those stages – it's the script of your life – and it's been wonderful. We're going to do a mixture of things on this tour and definitely include songs like Jerk and 12 Years Old, and I'm really looking forward to that too.

DP: Was it hard to choose the songs for this album?
KS: Very tough. You weigh out so many things. But there were some easy choices. St. John's Waltz is the benchmark for the record, and I had Ron Hynes' blessing. That song was like a security blanket when I first moved to Toronto. If I was out anywhere and someone asked me to sing, I would jump up and sing it a cappella. But they are all incredible songs. Squid Jiggin' Ground, Now I'm 64, Thank God We're Surrounded by Water – they're all on the album and I love them all for different reasons.

DP: How did your family influence and motivate you for this project and the tour?
KS: My grandmother gave me her Gerald S. Doyle songbook when I was looking for songs for this album. It's from 1955, and it's precious to me. I'm not sure she would have thought to give me that had I not decided to do this record.

DP: Tell me a little bit about your time at Memorial.
KS: When I think of Memorial I think of Noreen Golfman, who has been a mentor to me, and who is basically the coolest woman ever. When I was in university I decided that English was going to be my major, and she really motivated me. Bottom line for me is that I'm very proud of the fact that I graduated from Memorial.

For more information on the upcoming tour, including how to purchase tickets, visit