She has been one of Canada’s most revered musicians for more than two decades, and in a stunning acceptance speech on Sunday night, singer k.d. lang told Canadians to let their freak flags fly.
Lang was being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and in her introduction, fellow Canadian legend Anne Murray talked about how lang defies labelling and proves “that a great voice can sing just about anything it wants.”
“She sings without any obstacles between her and the listener. And because of that, she sings for all of us,” said Leonard Cohen in a tribute video, adding that when he first heard lang’s rendition of his song “Hallelujah,” it brought him to tears.
It wasn’t long, and it wasn’t fancy, but lang’s speech really did steal the show Sunday. Here is what she had to say, in full:
Thank you so much. [Leaning toward Anne Murray] Of course this one had a huge impact on me. Phys ed teacher, bare feet. I had the biggest crush on her. I still do.
To my family and my friends, my collaborators, Warner Brothers, my managers, my bandmates and my fans over the years, this too is your moment. And I want to offer you my most profound gratitude. Thank you so, so, so much for all your support over the years.
I think the fact that I’m standing here receiving this award actually says more about Canada than it does about me — because only in Canada could there be such a freak as k.d. lang receiving this award.
Only in Canada could there be people like Stompin’ Tom Connors and Rita MacNeil.
So I am here to tell you my friends and my countrymen that it is OK to be you.
It is OK to let your freak flags fly and embrace the quirkmeister that’s inside of all of us.
And I am not even just talking artists. I’m talking every single person in this nation has the right to be themselves. Live life. Go team go.
I love you Canada.
Thanks so much.