Family life

Matt Dusk: “She is really my litmus test for music”

Why the Canadian crooner’s 18-month-old daughter, Kaia, inspired him to record his first full-length holiday album.

Matt Dusk: “She is really my litmus test for music”

Photo courtesy of Universal Music

The Canadian crooner has one child, an 18-month-old daughter named Kaia.

I’m not one of those guys who is like, “Here’s a picture of my daughter! And here’s a picture of her on a horse!” Every parent thinks his or her kid is the most blessed child in the world and the cutest, and when they see other cute babies, they get jealous.

My kid, she’s great. We keep her on our schedule, so she is up really late and goes to bed around 1 a.m. She is always around adults. The issue is, when you want to go out, it becomes a little more stressful because I don’t want to go to a restaurant and have her crying and throwing crap all over the place. We want to be courteous to other people. We don’t want to be those parents that are like, “This is natural!” There are a lot of things that are natural that we don’t want to share with everybody.

It makes me want to stay home more. Friday and Saturday nights were always for having people over, but now I don’t want anybody over on Saturday nights. I just want to sit and take a breather. Maybe I’m just getting old and lazy.

She is very animated. Her facial expressions are like a mime. When she gets a gift, her eyes open wide and it’s over the top. Usually, when I give someone a gift, they’re like, “Oh, thanks.” She is like, “Woahhh! A ball!”

What’s really cool is that she loves music, so she is really my litmus test for music. If I start writing a song and she starts dancing and trying to sing, then I know I’m onto something.

When I had Kaia, I wanted to relive the Christmas traditions I grew up with, and a big part of that was music. I can remember going to my grandpa and grandma’s house. I was five or six years old and the first thing I would do is rush over to the record player and pull out Bing Crosby’s White Christmas record. I would put it on and the thing would just loop ad nauseam for the whole night.

Eventually, somebody would play piano and we would sing carols. Now we just say screw it and go straight to YouTube and do karaoke, and whatever comes out comes out.


I feel that, especially as you get older, you can’t choose your family. You really are stuck with them, so you have to make the best of it. When you start to give people a chance, you just develop better bonds with them over time.

Matt Dusk’s collection of holiday standards, Old School Yule!, is out now on CD and vinyl and available on all streaming services. His Old School Yule! Holiday Tour plays across Canada through Christmas Day.

This article was originally published on Nov 15, 2017

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