Kathleen grew up in a musical family. Her father played fiddle and her mother played the piano. As a young person, her St. Joseph du Moine home would be a place where many musicians would gather. Kathleen started playing the piano at age 9. Her main influences were Maybelle Chisholm and Joey Beaton, and later, John Morris Rankin. At around the same age, she started playing the fiddle and looked up to Donald Angus Beaton, Kinnon Beaton, John Morris Rankin, Buddy MacMaster and Arthur Muise. Kathleen is no stranger to Cape Breton stages.