k.d. lang on Ingénue, Hallelujah and a big exhibit at the National Music Centre

For Canadian singer/songwriter k.d. lang, being honoured by an National Music Centre exhibition is just one of many things she has going on right now, but it’s a big one.

55-year-old Calgary resident honoured by a National Music Centre exhibit, and that's just the start

k.d. lang exhibit at Calgary's NMC

5 years ago
Duration 1:40
She's got a lot going on right now 1:40

For Canadian singer/songwriter k.d. lang, being honoured by an National Music Centre exhibition is just one of many things she has going on right now, but it's a big one.

"It feels petrifying. I feel solid and old. I'm joking, it is an absolute honour, especially at the National Museum Centre. It is a thing of beauty, both architecturally and gesturally to Canadian music," lang told The Calgary Eyeopener this week.

The 55-year-old, Edmonton-born artist says she gave the centre as much as she could find.

"I gave them everything because I am a minimalist and I don't like stuff in my apartment. There's Junos, there's Grammys, there's clothes, there's instruments, gold records, boots, the original boots are there, finally," lang said.

k.d. lang receives a Juno in 2013 in Regina. Today, she's the subject of a new exhibit at Calgary's National Music Centre and there's a whole lot more going on. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

"That was an exciting time back then when life was nothing but a climb. It was fun. I had a lot of energy back them. There's some of those original dresses, the original boots are there, the outfit that I wore at the Calgary Olympics, the wedding dress, so there is a lot of stuff there."

Next month, lang starts a 25th anniversary tour of her second solo album, Ingénue, which marked a complete shift in musical direction.

"It was a big switch. People were expecting me to be a country star and that wasn't really who I was. My switch to Ingénue, I think both Ben [Mink] and I were both scared to death of the response to it. We did face a lot of criticism, but it prevailed and became a hit, thank goodness."

A year later, in 1993, lang worked with renowned photographer Herb Ritts and model Cindy Crawford to create a Vanity Fair magazine feature that turned a lot of heads at the time.

"I feel like it was a piece of art, something that made a big social commentary. It was at a big turning point in LGBTQ revolution, and I feel like it still has a lot of impact and power today when you look at it," she said.

"Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and I think between Cindy, Herb and I we really made a beautiful piece."

Later that year, David Bowie said lang was "fast emerging as the classiest, most stylish performer of the Nineties."

But lang says that's news to her.

"Did he? Wow, I never heard that one before. It's probably good I didn't hear that one before, I would have gotten even bigger for my britches," she said with a laugh.

She says performing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is still something that haunts her.

"Since Leonard's passing, I think it is, to me, a cultural landmark, it's a moral anthem. It is a huge, huge cultural icon of a thing. It is beyond a song," lang explained.

"I don't even know how to describe it, but I feel very, very fortunate enough that I have had the opportunity to sing it for Leonard, to talk to Leonard about it. That to me, was probably, musically, the pinnacle of my life."

Today, lang lives most of the time in Calgary.

"I get to go back and forth between Calgary and Portland but mostly in Calgary," she said.

"I am a very renewed, proud Canadian, really happy to be living in Canada again."

Singer-songwriters , from left, Laura Veirs, k.d. lang and Neko Case pose for a photo in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 16, 2016. The three singer-songwriters released a new album, "case/lang/veirs." (Don Ryan/The Associated Press)

With files from The Calgary Eyeopener