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Kimya Dawson

Star of the Juno soundtrack performs at The Grand Cinema Friday.

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For a while now, since meeting my wife anyway, I’ve felt like I know Kimya Dawson. Even though Dawson and I have never met, and we’ve probably never even made eye contact during any of the times I’ve seen her perform (as a solo artist and a Moldy Peach), thanks to the power of the World Wide Interweb and the adoration of my wife for the quirky, indie songstress, I feel like my family and Dawson’s could be the best of friends.

Kimya Dawson has pounced on the national scene thanks to her work on the movie Juno, for which she wrote and recorded nine songs on the film’s soundtrack. Dawson’s style is unmistakable and one of a kind. Her voice, and for that matter her music, is hilarious and bitter, melancholy and luminous — all at once. Her work traverses a scope of human emotions that can only be described as real — and realness these days is a commodity sorely lacking in the world of music. For this reason alone, Dawson’s time has come.

But it took Juno to thrust Dawson into the spotlight. Currently ranked number two in Billboard Magazine’s rankings of top selling albums, the Juno soundtrack has opened doors for Dawson even the artist herself probably never imagined. For instance, Dawson recently made an appearance on The View, having the pleasure of meeting one of her longtime heroes, Whoopi Goldberg.

Dawson’s story, however, is far bigger than Juno. The first time I saw her perform the Moldy Peaches were opening for the Strokes — at the Temple Theater of all places. That alone proves the world was a vastly different place back then. When I saw the Moldy Peaches, though it was my first experience with Dawson, the performance left an indelible mark. I didn’t know her name, or the name of her Moldy Peaches cohort Adam Green, but the music was infectious, and despite the fact that the Strokes were about to be the biggest band in the world and I was seeing them at the Temple, Kimya Dawson and the Moldy Peaches were who consumed my thoughts on the car ride home.

Time passed, and eventually my Moldy Peaches experience faded into the back of the old memory bank. Then I met my wife.

My wife is a Kimya Dawson fan and has been for years. Spending time with my wife means spending time with her music collection, and thus I was reintroduced to Kimya Dawson. I was amazed to find out Dawson not only was a member of the Moldy Peaches, but had five solo records of her own. I didn’t realize Dawson called Olympia home, and I didn’t realize she was on K Records. I was reminded of how I felt about her voice that fateful night at the Temple Theater.

But it takes more than a few spins through a CD to feel like you know someone, and as I said at the beginning of this, I’ve reached the point where I feel like I know Kimya Dawson. My wife not only tracks the progress of Dawson’s music career, but keeps close tabs on her budding family, which includes a husband and a baby girl. Dawson’s journey into parenthood has been well documented, mainly on her MySpace page (, and through talking to my wife I began to connect with Dawson in ways that go beyond the typical listener/performer relationship. As I’ve discussed in the past, my wife and I had a baby girl in June. Kimya’s daughter, Panda Delilah, is slightly older (born in July of ’06). With both of our families adjusting and gushing over a new, teeny-tiny baby girl, my ability to relate to Dawson increased tenfold. Now I don’t just hear her latest amazing song, I hear about her adventures in cloth diapering and seeing pictures of her cleaning up poop just like my wife and I are doing at our house.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’ll stop with all the baby talk before you (probably childless, drunk, and in your early 20s) get bored and go back to illegally downloading s*** off the Internet.

The important thing is Kimya Dawson is one of the few actual human beings in the music business. It shows in her work, and it shows in the way she conducts herself. While Juno may have given Dawson a temporary place in the pop culture consciousness, she deserves far more. Whether she wants it is another question. Through her music and her motherhood she’s certainly earned it.

[The Grand Cinema, Kimya Dawson, Sunday, Feb. 10, 6-7 p.m., no cover, $10 suggested donation, 606 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.593.4474]


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