One decade into her career, Kinnie Starr remains one of Canada's most intriguing artists, creating music culled from a variety of styles ranging from hip-hop to punk rock to pop, all in a multilingual format. Sound similar to fellow West Coast Canadian Nelly Furtado? Unquestionably, on paper, the likeness is there: Furtado admits to being influenced by Kinnie Starr. While Nelly went the way of mega-stardom, however, Starr took the road less traveled, creating songs rife with political convictions and filled with messages focused on personal and collective empowerment. She may not sell as many discs, but Kinnie's influence upon her fans--both through her music and powerful live show--is both impressive and extensive.
For her fourth CD, Anything, Starr remains true to her own style, a mix of singing, rapping, and chanting (a nod to her Mohawk roots), sometimes embracing these styles all in one song. A Motown vibe in "Wind In Your Sail" is a smooth, sexy high point, as is the disc's warmest track "Please Hold My Hand," which shows the singer's ability to present powerful emotion in a fragile shell. Admittedly, much of this disc is less lyrically acerbic than her previous efforts, offering instead an overtly pop hue. As a result, Anything is decidedly more accessible to a mainstream audience--especially the positivity-filled title track--but the most special gems are the less-commercial cuts that showcase the unique merging of elements that others may copy, but only Kinnie attains. --Denise Sheppard