A Calgary teenager is in Toronto this week performing at Canadian Music Week 2023.
Kaiya Gamble is on a path to becoming a well-known pop artist in Canada and she’s got a big name in country music backing her up.
Gamble captivated crowds at Calgary’s Lilac Festival on Sunday. Not only is she a master on the keyboards but she has a masterful presence on stage.
“It’s the best feeling in the whole world. There’s nothing else like it and connecting with an audience is the most beautiful form of storytelling, in my opinion.
“I’m so excited to be here and I have a band behind me too, which is the newest experience,” Gamble said.
She belts out Amy Winehouse and Billy Joel songs with the power of someone well beyond her 16 years.
“I’ve heard her a couple of times on the radio and honestly, I love this girl, and I hope that she continues to go up and up,” said fan Lorraine Blight, who was watching the weekend performance. “She’s incredible. I truly can’t believe she’s only 16 years old.”
Gamble got her start in Calgary playing the piano and singing for audiences when she was just nine. She played the French Horn in school and she sings in choir at Bishop Carroll High School.
She says much of her songwriting comes from personal experiences.
“Generally messages of positivity, inclusivity and hope. Uplifting messages, just to get people inspired and know that they aren’t alone in what they’re going through,” Gamble said.
Now other artists are taking note.
Country star Brett Kissel introduced Gamble on stage as one of the greatest new vocalists in Canada and an “incredible rising star in Alberta and on the Canadian music scene. She’s an extraordinary artist,” Kissel said.
“My first ever show, Brett Kissel I sang Brave by Sara Bareilles and he came up to me after the show and he gave me some fantastic advice and I ended up being at more events that he was at and he has become an incredible mentor to me,” Gamble said.
Performing in support of charitable causes is also part of Gamble’s repertoire.
She headlined at Hayley Wickenheiser’s Wickfest for several years and she has performed in support of many charitable causes, including her ‘Kaiya Live,’ a free online benefit concert that was streamed worldwide in fall of 2021.
Her charitable commitment led Gamble to be the first ever recipient of the Women of Inspiration youth excellence award, recognizing her work in music and philanthropy.
Gamble was in Grade 10 last year when she was the youngest artist selected to perform at Canadian Music Week and she returns to the stage this week in Toronto all while studying for final exams. She encourages other teens to dream big, do good and work hard.
“There’s a quote that sums it up for me: Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire,” Gamble said.
“If you love something so much, then you just have to go for it and jump in with both feet and if you fall, you can always get back up again.”