KALSEY KULYK


I grew up in a place you’ve probably never heard of. It’s a tiny mill town called Hudson Bay located in Saskatchewan. It’s almost four hours away from the nearest McDonald’s and didn’t even have a movie theater when I lived there, not that I would’ve traded either of these things for the northern lights, which were visible in the sky overhead every night. After all, it was there, amongst the breeze-kissed trees and the sweet smell of the forest, that I wrote my first song as a child. The words were simple, of course, but they made me feel rooted to the world around me. Through seasons marked by warm rides on my grandparents’ combine and chilly days spent sledding at Hardy’s Hill, I started to share my singing with my family and friends. As I got older, I turned to music to express myself, finding that it was sometimes more therapeutic to sing about my feelings than to talk about them.

I continued to write music through high school and as graduation approached I started thinking about a career in nursing. I knew that helping to heal people was my calling so nursing seemed to be the appropriate choice. It was during this time however, that I first began getting sick. It started with a cough that wouldn’t go away but quickly progressed. Soon, I was waking up at night with lumps in my throat and unable to swallow. After repeated tests, doctors insisted that nothing was wrong until a woman came to my mother in a dream and urged her to get a chest x-ray for me. I assure you my mother is a practical person, but that’s not the kind of thing you ignore. When the results of the x-ray came back, the doctors delivered the hard news, I had a type of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

As shocked as I was to hear the diagnosis, my mother took it even harder. I barely had time to absorb what it all meant before turning my attention to comforting her. Later, as I was sitting for hours in the sterile chemotherapy room, I put on a brave face for my family and for the other patients around me. Even as I started to lose my hair, and was taunted by a car-full of teenagers about my bald head while driving one afternoon, I tried to remain positive. It was a whole lot easier to worry about my family’s feelings than to focus on my own fears. During this time, I found solace in writing songs about my experiences. At first, I only shared these songs with my close family but one night at a spiritual center, I felt moved to play them for the audience. After my performance, a middle-aged man approached me with tears in his eyes. He thanked me for giving a voice to exactly the way he had been feeling. It was in this tender moment that I realized the power of music and how songs could be my tonic for healing others.

Today, I’m blessed to live in the heart of Music City where the purpose behind my music remains the same. I aim to touch the lives of those who hear my songs and to transform struggles into rejuvenation. Other people might describe my music as “poignant” or “impassioned”, but for me, it’s about creating something even bigger, a remedy. I strive to express people’s emotions in a way that they have never been able to. In sharing my own voice, I hope to reawaken others and to empower them to “sing and be heard”.