The 32- year- old Kindersley native owns Faces Spa, is raising three children, and last year she decided to follow her dream of becoming a professional singer and songwriter.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but being a mom had to come first,” she said.
Ivy was born into a musical family. She credits her father, Cam Gilbert, with giving her the drive to succeed. “I started singing lessons when I was four years old, doing Shirley Temple songs,” she said. “My dad was my best teacher and partner, and I am so grateful that he raised me with a love of music.”
With her father’s support, she continued to pursue music as a teenager, and had many different teachers. Her role as lead vocalist in the high school jazz band strengthened her voice. “At that time there were no singers (in the band), just players, so it was a real honour,” she said. Ivy also studied opera and musical theatre. “In the end, my last teacher helped me find myself-- she was a singer in a rock band, and I wanted to be a rock- pop singer,” she said.
At 17, Ivy went on the road with her father. The father-daughter duo performed at bars and other venues across Alberta. “We travelled and worked together for three years, and then I decided to settle down because I was going to have a baby,” she said.
The singer’s 11 year old son Gabriel, and her two daughters Shawnee, 7 and Ivy, 5 have kept Ivy on her toes ever since.
Now her children are older, and Ivy says she is ready to come back to the stage.
“Nowadays it’s much easier to be a performer; with the Internet I don’t really need to leave my kids to keep promoting myself,” she said.
“I want to be on the radio--that’s my goal.”
Derek Bachman program manager for Saskmusic in Saskatoon, has guided Ivy’s career for the past year. He says the singer’s return to music could not have come at a better time.
“In the past decade the music industry has shifted from the traditional model of a record label promoting and selling your material to more of an entrepreneurial do- it- yourself model,” he said.
“With the changes in technology, it’s easier for artists to record their own records, and for artists to market their own records,” Bachman said.
Last summer, Ivy teamed up with Calgary radio personality James Callasen to perform at the Little Valley Jamboree on the outskirts of Kindersley.
She recalled him saying “Kate, you have to come down and sing,”and is glad she did.
“We just sat in the basement for a bit, Callasen said, “ and came up with half a dozen songs we could play with…we found common ground on a few Bruce Springteen songs.”
Callasen, who has played guitar for more than 20 years, says that Ivy’s enthusiasm onstage is one of her greatest assets.
“I work in the music business and I see a lot of people who get jaded, but Ivy is always enthusiastic about all aspects of performance…” he said. “It’s always fun to be around someone who is stoked to play.”
With the help of her father and brother Andrew, Ivy hopes to release her first album, “Hot Summer Nights” later this year. The family started its advertising and promotions company, Gilbert Entertainment in 2011. “We are hoping to release the album during the summer break,” she said. “I want it to be danceable; (all about) songsthat you can turn up in your car and sing along to.”
Ivy has already posted a video of one of her songs, “So Obvious” on Youtube to keep listeners engaged and is working on a version of the Rick Springfield classic “Jessie’s Girl”. “It’s going to be a punk rock version of the song, and will be sung from the girl’s point of view- I’m really excited about it,” she said.
“I’ve said to my friends, I hope when you hear my songs that it feels like I’m telling you one of my stories over coffee,” Ivy said.
“What I hope most of all is that my album makes people happy.”