Hi. It's me Katie.
I grew up on the central coast of California, probably most famous now for yearly shark attacks and being the home town of Zac Efron. We dated in first grade. Don't be jealous. My parents divorced when I was real young, so I spent my summers and a lot of vacation time in central Montana with my Dad. I feel blessed to have had the best of both worlds. Both my Mom and my Dad had... amazing record collections. My Dad wrote and sang country songs like his heroes Steve Earl and Hank Williams, Jr, and my Mom loved folk. She introduced me to Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Janis Ian, Peter Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel, the list goes on.
In our home stood an old upright piano, and I attribute the presence of this instrument in our house as a main reason for starting to write songs. My wildly dramatic and existential 11 year old self needed an outlet. I didn't really know much about music, but my ear seemed to serve me well enough to get my ideas down and just play around for fun.
As time went on, my hands got bigger, and I picked up the guitar. My step-Dad had about 8 different ones lying around. I taught myself the basic chords and progressions from Mel Bay's guitar lesson 1, which I found inside the piano bench and started crafting more songs and melodies. It wasn't long before I landed a couple of local gigs in my community. One was singing in a big steak house with an old fiddle player, Mr. John Sharp. We would sing country songs and jam out while locals sipped their whiskey and I thought 50 bucks in a tip jar was a whole hell of a lot for just doing what I did alone in my room anyway. Someone saw me play my songs, and they told me about a friend of theirs down in the big ol' city of LA, who might be interested in recording some of my originals.
That's when I met Bobby and within a few months, my very first record, Average Jane, was recorded in my parents living room when I was 15. I learned so much about the process of making a record and how it is different than just singing live. I sold over a thousand copies to my local community and by then, I had been accepted into UCLA's Ray Bolger Program for musical theater.
At UCLA, I did a lot growing, changing, and writing.I put out another record, Stop and Go, with a few new songs, and performed in a big student-produced concert there called Spring Sing. Every year, I got to sing in front of 10,000 people and I won best solo and best overall performance three years in a row. It was an amazing experience I will never forget.
When I graduated I played out in the LA music scene for a bit. It was a crazy time. I was living in a dilapidated castle in Laurel Canyon, just up the street from my hero Joni Mitchell's old house. My roof leaked and we had no heating so I got kind of sad and depressed. I decided to quit my job as a waitress and I made a new goal for myself: make money making music. No matter what. So I played on the Santa Monica promenade, slept in my car for a bit, and earned enough money to go to Florida where my best friend lived and we played a bunch of music together for tips and beers. I travelled around the US and did this for a little while and somewhere in between I came back to LA and played an open mic night and landed my first real paying tour gig as a musician. I got hired to be the lead singer of an all-female pop group for a three month tour in India. We sang for weddings, corporate events, and Indian cultural festivals and, as silly as it was, it totally changed my life. Suddenly, I went from being a poor struggling musician, to a paid, international lead singer and I was having the time of my life. My friends joke and tell me that it was like my very own Eat, Pray, Love story. And it really was. I collaborated with Bollywood stars, lived in the incredible city of Mumbai, and travelled all over India. I also fell in love.
I stuck around an extra two months, started work on a lot of new music, and when my visa expired and I had to come home, it was back to my life in LA. It was even harder coming back to the United States than it was going to India. My perspective was totally different and so was my music.
So I spent about 6 months finishing the material I started and writing new stuff. I got an amazing band together and the music all started to fall into place. So now, with some great live shows under our belts, my band and I are preparing to get in the studio and get all of these songs recorded for the first time!!!
I couldn't be more excited about these songs and about my band. I also couldn't be more grateful for the privilege of pursuing a dream like this one. No matter what I do or where I go, I am just in awe of the beauty of people and how we all try to make sense of this thing called life. I will always play music in whatever capacity, and I am excited to take it as far as this universe allows and decides that I should.
My friend and fellow nomad Alex, who I met on a beach in Goa, India, once said to me, in a way that I think most accurately explains the way I feel:
"Music fills you so completely, that its not just a career pursuit, but a constant expression of love to be shared."
Thanks for listening.