Meet the Maker: Kim Pollard

By Lindy Mechefske

Kim Pollard is known for her big, beautiful, powerhouse voice; her song-writing talents; her passion and faith; and her wide-open heart. She’s graced events and stages from the weddings of friends to the Air Canada Centre and from pubs to recording studios. She is a frequent performer around Kingston at events including City of Kingston fireworks displays, Canada Day festivities, and the Limestone City Blues Festival.

When Kim started taking piano lessons in her youth, the piano teacher told her parents they were wasting their money. But it wasn’t for the usual reasons like a lack of talent, or desire to play, or a willingness to practice. It was because Kim had a rare gift: the ability to play music by ear. The teacher thought the family would be better off to let Kim’s natural talent simply unfold.

Kim Pollard performs on stage via The Kim Pollard Band (Facebook)

Kim Pollard grew up surrounded by music. “I grew up singing with my parents in church. Music was just part of our lives,” she says, adding that her whole large extended family were all musical, so she really didn’t think anything much of it. By the time she was nine-years-old, she was playing the guitar. By age ten, she was playing the piano. And at Napanee District High School — a school famous for producing musicians — she played the saxophone. But she still hadn’t told anyone that in her spare time, she was busy writing her own music and lyrics. “I was the class comic,” she says, “I thought that was my talent.”

When her high school music teacher, Rick Wilson, encouraged her to do an extra year of school to focus on music, she agreed, because she hadn’t yet figured out exactly where her life was headed. So, she joined the band and stayed on, and when the band competed in Ottawa, Kim was awarded the Canadian all-star female jazz vocalist of the year.

But still, music was just something she grew up with. It wasn’t a career choice. So after her victorious victory lap year, she went to Loyalist College to study social work and, after graduating, went to live in Toronto and worked in her field. In the background, she was still writing music, still singing. She sang at weddings and regularly sang the national anthem at the Air Canada Centre — one of a handful of singers selected from a thousand applicants who had auditioned for the privilege.

“In my twenties, I became a spiritual person — I felt a calling to faith that ran deep,” she says. That calling led Kim to do a bachelor’s degree in theology, followed by a master’s degree and eventually a doctorate of theology — a lengthy education that eventually led Kim to her career as a spiritual care counsellor specialized in grief counselling.

These days, Kim lives in Kingston, works full-time between spiritual care and funerals and other related activities, and still manages to perform regularly around town. She has two CDs: Wonder and Surrender, and a third on the way. Of her band, she says, “I don’t want to brag but they are the best group of men! They just get it! And together, we’re a force.”

About her music she says, “I have ambitions — I want my music to be real and make people think and bring wholeness. I write from the heart, from a place of intense vulnerability. I want people to feel happy, to feel loved, and then stay there in that place and spread it around. I want my music to be about human life in all it’s pain and glory and just as importantly, about the fundamentality of human connection.”

To learn more, follow The Kim Pollard Band on Facebook.