Her name is Kay, real name Kristin Boutilier. For a spell, she went by “My Name Is Kay,” just to drive home the point. The 25-year-old Cape Breton native, signed to Interscope and Universal Music Canada, released her 2012 debut EP under that name, which featured the eponymous single.
“With ‘My Name is Kay,’ it was supposed to be a fun little interlude on the album,” says Kay. “A three-minute ‘This is who I am. This is what I like. Let me say my name 40 times.’ And people still forget.”
Today, it’s a different story. After closing in on half-million YouTube views for the “My Name Is Kay” video; earning two Top 20 CHR hits in Canada with “My Name Is Kay” and “Strangers”; touring with LMFAO and Hedley; and appearing on tracks by Far East Movement, Cobra Starship, Steve Aoki, Tiesto and Diplo, it’s safe to say people know her name. So she’s back to using just “Kay.
Her still-untitled debut album – an eclectic mix of pop, hip-hop, dance and ballads – will drop in January 2013. While the songs were co-written with various songwriters, Kay’s main foil was OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who also produced the album.
: “When an opportunity comes up to work with anybody, I always say yes.”- Kay
“Working with Ryan has been amazing,” says Kay. “He’s a genius. He’s so smart that his ideas and his brilliance kind of rubs off on you. It’s in the air when you’re in the studio with him… Every other song he writes is a hit, so I feel like I’m in good hands.”
She also worked with Atlanta’s Organized Noize (TLC, OutKast, Ludacris). In addition to the album, in the U.S. Kay is releasing an EP every two months for the next nine months or so, each featuring three to five songs she worked on with a different producer. The first, entitled Say What You Want, was produced by Doctor Rosen Rosen (sic) and came out Nov. 13.
“It feels like I’ve been working two years on my music, and now it’s all gonna start coming out,” says Kay.
That includes the songs recorded by Tiesto, Diplo and Aoki to which she’s contributed. “When I was writing for the album,” says Kay, “I was pretty much strictly writing for the album, and everyone I worked with knew that. But now that that’s done, other people are putting out their albums, and they hit me up.
“I’ve always been the type of person that when an opportunity comes up to work with anybody, I always say yes.”
• In 2007, Kay lived in London, England, where she hired a coach to teach her to rap.
• She later lived in Vancouver, where she tried to get a drum ‘n’ bass duo with DJ B off the ground.
• She worked with Ryan Tedder after she met his A&R representative at a house party in L.A.