Kristin Witko

FVMA 2019 Award Winner

About The Artist

Located in Abbotsford

Equally informed by the strict conventions of pop and the willful absurdity of performance art, Kingfisher Bluez artist Kristin Witko makes music that is hooky and unsettling, gothic and effervescent. Her 2017 EP Union featured production by Simon Bridgefoot (Teen Daze, Jordan Klassen) and entered !earshot’s Top 100 in June 2017 and Top 200 in September 2017. In both 2017 and 2018, she led the Fraser Valley Music Awards in nominations (for Pop, Electronic, Queer, and Experimental). She was ultimately awarded Best Experimental Artist in 2017 and Best Pop Artist in 2018.

But what experiment is Witko running? She’s based in Abbotsford, a bedroom community of Vancouver known as British Columbia’s Bible Belt. By the time she started writing songs, she was close to thirty. She’d been married, established a career, and watched her peers have children. But suburban life against the backdrop of disruptive global and personal change nursed strange impulses in this orderly professional. She started expressing those impulses by releasing and performing music—in 2012, in fact, when the Apocalypse finally arrived. (Not with a bang but a whimper.)

Her question was and remains: “Can a person—especially a mature person, especially a working person, especially a woman, especially a queer woman—create a sense of belonging on the earth by publicly manifesting what is alien about themselves?”

Witko recorded the LP Zone of Exclusion as part of an Artistic Residency at Kariton Gallery with her co-writer/producer Simon Bridgefoot. For this, she created and taught a series of low-barrier workshops about making music as part of a mental health practice. During late night gallery sessions, she collaborated with musicians like Blessed’s Drew Riekman and Jake Holmes and You Say Party’s Becky Ninkovic. All these experiences inform her live performances and the content on Zone of Exclusion, which explores attachment in an era of narcissism and apocalyptic stirrings. Zone of Exclusion was released on Kingfisher Bluez on June 28, 2019, and charted in !earshot’s national top 50 that summer.