Forget Camp Rock. 4-H is the real required training for musical stardom. At least that’s where Airdrie-raised Katie Rox got her skills to pay the bills.
For those who don’t know who she is or know her from her previous incarnation, Rox is the former lead singer of Vancouver industrial pop ensemble Jakalope. Then known professionally as Katie B, her sweet simple voice, pretty face and petite body fronted the band’s often dark and disturbing videos.
But Rox is singing a new tune these days … that of folkie rock country girl with guitar. It’s a melody more akin to her youth in Southern Alberta, growing up at agricultural exhibitions and as a member of the Airdrie Flying Hooves 4-H Club.
And also unlike her Jakalope experience, this time Rox is doing it all by herself both on and off the stage. Still based in Vancouver, she’s her own booking agent, manager and PR person. “I’m even my own merch girl,” she says with wide eyes and a bright laugh.
“I’m putting myself through the school of rock,” says the 26-year-old singer songwriter, sitting with her mom at the kitchen island in her parents’ home on an acreage east of Airdrie.
“I decided to do it on my own,” Rox says. “That way I’ll have an appreciation for what people do for you in this business.”
“Isn’t that the 4-H motto?” her mom throws in.
“Learn to do by doing,” they say at the same time and then laugh.
Taking this leap on her own came easily for Rox. “It (Jakalope) never felt like me anymore. It was hard to leave, but I knew it was the right decision.”
Rox acknowledges this natural movement back to her roots throughout her new CD, High Standards. In a track titled Sound Advice, her dulcet voice confesses, “I tried a little bit of rock and roll/But…I think I’ll always be country/And that’s all right with me.”
She sings these words in the same pure songbird voice that Jakalope fans loved to hear soaring above the driving, heavy beats. It’s the same voice alright. But now it sounds like it belongs.