Calgary teen excited to be backed by 'amazing energy' of Brett Kissel's band in charity concert
Viewers invited to donate to 3 organizations during YouTube concert Saturday
Calgary singer-songwriter Kaiya Gamble is just 14 years old, but she's already making a name for herself in the Canadian music scene — and she's making it her mission to support charitable causes at the same time.
Gamble, whose first single Speak Out debuted in 2020, was recently named standout artist in the Ontario-based Becoming contest, and was nominated for the Prophets of Music emerging artist award at the 2021 YYC Music Awards.
On Saturday, Gamble will stream a free benefit concert on her YouTube channel to raise awareness for — and allow viewers to make donations to — three charitable organizations: Wickfest, Cinim and A Sound Life.
And she'll be accompanied by Brett Kissel's band for the event that she says was inspired by her parents, who are front-line workers.
Gamble's mother is an ER doctor, and her father is a STARS Air Ambulance pilot.
"Watching them just go out the door every day to face COVID was really stressful for me and for my sister. So I decided that I needed to help the best way I knew how — just like they were helping, but in my own way," Gamble told the Thursday edition of The Homestretch.
"[And] helping lift spirits of health-care heroes who are working so hard to keep us all safe, and not to mention raising awareness for these three amazing organizations."
An aptitude for music
Music became a part of Gamble's life at the age of nine, she said, when a teacher told her parents that their daughter had an aptitude for music.
"I had no idea, and my parents didn't either, 'cause they're not musically inclined at all," Gamble said.
"So I started piano and voice lessons and ended up loving it. And, you know, after a little while, I realized, 'You know what? This is what I want to do. This is my passion.'"
Music, Gamble says, is a healing thing, and a universal language.
Eventually honing what she describes as a soulful pop sound, Gamble would go on to headline at the Wickfest Festival from 2019 to 2021, and perform alongside Brett Kissel and Paul Brandt in 2018 and 2019.
But her passions also include philanthropy, Gamble said.
"I've been able to get on some prominent stages and perform for as many people as I possibly could," Gamble said. "And for charitable causes, which is something that really means a lot to me."
Learn and evolve and grow
Saturday's online benefit, Kaiya Live, will be streamed at 7 p.m. on Gamble's YouTube channel, but was pre-recorded in Edmonton.
"We were going to perform it live in spring, and then it was shut down the day before because they announced new COVID restrictions," Gamble said.
"We didn't want to let anybody down, and we wanted to keep everyone safe at the same time."
The experience of singing without an audience is a strange one, Gamble said. Normally, she would feed off of the crowd's energy.
"It's really weird, just kind of singing to a blank screen, with no reaction or anything. But you know, I tried to perform online on Zoom, on Instagram Live, as much as I could beforehand, to try and get used to that," Gamble said.
"But thankfully, you know, I had the amazing energy of the band behind me."
As for what's next, Gamble said she is looking forward to releasing more singles and continuing to develop as an artist.
"I'm only 14 — 15 In a few weeks — so I've still got a lot to learn and evolve and grow," she said.
With files from The Homestretch