Finding inspiration during lockdown

Kate Stevens talks about creating music during COVID-19 and supporting local arts

Kate Stevens is a Calgary-based R&B/soul singer-songwriter and MRU Conservatory alumna.

Kate Stevens is a Calgary-based R&B/soul singer-songwriter and Mount Royal University Conservatory alumna.

Like many musicians, Kate Stevens, a Calgary-based R&B/soul singer-songwriter and MRU Conservatory alumna, has had to adjust to performing live behind glass, via livestream and recording music in virtual sessions. We spoke with Stevens about making music during the pandemic, staying connected to the arts community from a distance and winning two YYC Music Awards in 2020.


Rest, write, repeat

In adjusting to life in a world with COVID-19, Kate shares that one of the biggest difficulties was finding time to rest without feeling guilty. When seemingly everyone picked up a new hobby in quarantine, surviving a global pandemic turned into a productivity contest. “That’s not human. We need to find a way to reset and be thankful for this time to take a step back and acknowledge what’s going on,” says Stevens.

Stevens shares that everyday life and being in a happy, healthy relationship has inspired her writing. “Living a creative life is so important and inspiration is everywhere,” says Stevens. “Whenever my friends say a cool quip or phrase during regular conversation, I’ll write it down in my phone and find a way to work it into a song.”

She goes on to share that finding ways to express yourself through art – especially songwriting – is beneficial to everyone. “Write about what you’re feeling and once you’re done, you can take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. It’s a great way to centre yourself through the arts.”


Performing outside the box

While live performances look way different now than they did pre-pandemic, Stevens expresses her gratitude to be able to keep performing. “We played a few live shows with great safety restrictions in place. I’ve been singing behind glass and my band will be on stage in masks, but it works,” says Stevens.

Stevens also shares that she built a home-studio in the early days of COVID, and is able to connect with fans through livestreams.

“Early on I did a livestream performance where the audience turned on their microphones to clap during every break and they’d ask questions throughout the performance. It was a really great immersive, intimate show – something that I’ve never done before.”


"When you find an artist you really love and connect with, do what you can to support them – even if it’s just following them on Instagram and liking their posts. That helps give them a platform so they can keep creating."

Kate Stevens


Not only does Stevens perform her own livestreams, she’s also a fan of watching other artists’ virtual shows. “A lot of people are doing really cool stripped down shows. Artists who would usually be playing on stage with a 20-piece band are now streaming performances from their bedroom. I find it really cool to be invited into an artist’s home,” says Stevens.


Celebrating Calgary artists

This year, Stevens won Solo Artist of the Year and the R&B Soul Recording of the Year at the YYC Music Awards.

“It was insane. It’s so amazing to be recognized by my peers and by such a great organization,” says Stevens. She also credits the YYC Music awards as a great networking experience, “I saw artists I wouldn’t have otherwise seen and I’ll be like ‘that’s great guitar playing,’ and I’ll message them so maybe we can write a song together.”

“The Calgary arts community is one of the most vibrant scenes I’ve ever been a part of. The music scene is a very tight knit community with a lot of different genres that don’t usually interconnect, but during these times we’re seeing a lot more collaboration. I’m really excited for the art that’s going to come out of these weird times,” says Stevens.


What’s next for Kate Stevens

After a tumultuous year, Stevens is excited to share some good news – an EP is on the way!

“We’ve started production for my new EP, which is super exciting. I wrote a handful of really great songs and collaborated with some amazing songwriters like Robert Adam, Kyle Tenoveand and Cam Buie,” says Stevens. “I think this will be the best representation of who I am as an artist that I’ve ever released.”


Support local

Stevens emphasizes the importance of supporting artists anyway you can. “When you find an artist you really love and connect with, do what you can to support them – even if it’s just following them on Instagram and liking their posts. That helps give them a platform so they can keep creating.”

Follow Kate Stevens on Instagram, and stream her songs on Apple Music and Spotify. 


Kate Stevens is an MRU Conservatory alumna and sales from our Centre the Arts merchandise benefit students just like her. Proceeds go to the Academy Endowment Fund to subsidize tuition for students studying in the Academy and Advanced Performance Program.