Kim playing Casino Rama next month
SUBMITTED Andy Kim will play Casino Rama April 8.
At the height of his fame, Andy Kim played everywhere.
Well, almost everywhere.
When Baby I Love You, and I've Been Moved were at the top of the charts, Kim was playing to crowds around the world, throughout Europe and in the United States, but rarely in Canada. When he came to Canada, specifically his hometown of Montreal, he stopped being Andy Kim and returned to being Andrew Youakim, the third of four brothers. He was a homebody who desperately missed his family.
It's one of the reasons Kim's career resurgence, spurred in 2004 by a collaboration with Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and accentuated by 2015's critically acclaimed It's Decided, has him going to places he's never played before, particularly in Canada.
And is he ever excited.
“I feel like a kid,” Kim said on the phone from Toronto. “There are certain places you get excited about. So many huge artists show up at Casino Rama.”
However, those names don't give Kim pause or make him re-evaluate his position on that stage. He's never seen his life and career as a race against someone else, he said. He's a dreamer, he added, and has been lucky enough to see that dream come true.
More than ever, in this current phase of his career, Kim finds himself among a community of like-minded people and creative artists. For more than a decade, he's hosted an annual benefit concert at Christmas to support local charities in Toronto. Recently, he's expanded the show to include a second benefit in his hometown.
At these shows, he’s shared the stage with dozens of artists he has influenced through his songwriting and performing, including Kevin Drew, who produced Kim’s last record. But just as Kim has never measured his career against his peers’ or his idols’, he’s never seen himself as an influence to be idolized, either.
“I’m in awe of it, to be honest with you,” Kim said. “You write a song and then someone else tells you if it’s a hit or not. I feel really blessed that after all this time, for some reason or another, a few of these songs are still getting played.”
Those artists, like Kim, are dreamers. And in his own way, whether it’s through the hook of Sugar, Sugar or the towering bridge in Rock Me Gently, Kim’s been able to help those artists realize their dreams just like one of Kim’s greatest influences helped him.
“My brothers played Elvis all the time ... and there was a lot about the music that inspired not only them, but myself as well,” Kim said. “Not only an inspiration, but it gave permission ... He showed up to give his generation permission on a lot of fronts to carry a torch.”
Kim met Elvis Presley in the mid-1970s in Houston. It was like a receiving line at a wedding, he said. As surreal a moment as any in his life, Kim recalled not even actually shaking Presley’s hand. He bowed.
When Kim brings his seven-piece band to Casino Rama April 8, he’ll be continuing a career that has lasted longer than the 42 years Presley was on the Earth, let alone the three decades in which the King changed the course of music history.
But Presley’s music lives on, as does the catalogue Kim will be showcasing in concert.
“Artists, we have a shelf life,” Kim said. “And if we’re lucky enough to create something that continues to last, it’s amazing.
“You do what you do,” he added. “And if you’re lucky, the next day you get to do it over again.”
Limited tickets remain for An Evening With Andy Kim at ticketmaster.ca.