Our most recent interview is with the insanely talented Katie Kittermaster. At only 18, she is already making waves in the music industry thanks to her passion and musical skill. Having supported the likes of Louisa Johnson and opened for Jools Holland, she tells us her hopes for 2019 and shares some advice for fellow aspiring musicians…
Did you study music?
I have not studied music formally. In fact, being dyslexic means that I find reading music almost impossible (let’s face it, English is hard enough!). I had singing lessons from an early age but they were quite sporadic as I changed schools/countries a few times! I found a wonderful singing coach a few years ago, via my manager, Kevin Reynolds. He is called Joshua Alamu and is amazing. I only see him once every few months as he is based in London and the round trip including my lesson is about 5 hours! Being at school means I don’t have a lot of spare time right now but once my A Levels are ‘done’, I will be able to focus much more on my music career. A ‘Josh session’ will be a regular monthly thing for me as he is truly gifted. Josh is one of the founding members of Ultimate Artist, which is an inspiring week long residential programme that takes place every year. I attended this a couple of years ago and that’s where my real musical journey began.
How would you describe your sound to those who may not yet have heard your songs?
Gosh, this is the question I always struggle with – maybe that’s because I am still finding my sound. All the songs I have written to date have been written alone with my rather basic guitar skills! I am keen to work with others to collaborate and experiment. Some people have said I’m like a ‘female Ed Sheeran’ which is of course a massive compliment. My songwriting is all about storytelling and that’s why I think the more acoustic stripped tracks work for my writing and vocals.
Who is your biggest music inspiration and why?
As I listen to more music, I find different artists influencing me and how I write. I listen to many amazing artists, like Jorja Smith, Kara Marni and Billy Ellish but I still feel that Ed Sheeran has been my greatest influence in how I write.
We love the song “T-shirt”, can you tell us what inspired this song?
Thank you. T-Shirt was one of my very early tracks! I wrote it in less than an hour. It is based on a previous relationship where I regularly wore my boyfriend’s t-shirt at the weekends and in bed. When we split up it was hard enough without having to give the T-Shirt back!!!! I guess teenage heartbreak is very raw and you’ve never had to cope before; closing the door is hard so hanging onto the memories is what we all tend the cling on to!
Do you have a songwriting process?
No I don’t really have a set process. I tend to write from personal experiences and from the heart. I don’t ever try to force the writing. But, when I have an idea, a hook, I find it flows. I like to shut myself away until it’s down in some format. I have written a couple of songs with a friend (Scarlett Halton) who I met on the Ultimate Artist course; we really gelled together. She’s an awesome musician!
Out of all the places you have played live, where was your favourite?
Singing in front of Ricky Martin, Eva Longoria and 50Cent at the age of 13 was pretty cool but I have enjoyed other performances more; probably due to my age I think. It’s hard to split the two so joint first goes to supporting Louisa Johnson and Diversity at The BIG Day Out in 2017. This was my first major gig – playing to a crowd of over 14K people! Opening for the mighty Jools Holland in Cambridgeshire was a definite highlight. At both events, the crowd actually sang along with me, it was such an amazing feeling!
Do you prefer small intimate gigs or larger venues?
Definitely larger. I am quite shy naturally and I find the larger stage a lot less intimidating. I have of course played very small audiences and I find this more daunting.
What are your goals for 2019 and beyond?
I finish school in June 2019. I cannot wait to get these A Levels done! I enjoy all my academic subjects and I know I need to treat them as a priority right now. After school I will be gigging as much as possible. I will be working on my music to bring at least 10 tracks to the table. I have over 20 songs written but most of them are in demo format and some haven’t even been heard by my manager! I have only got 2 songs on Spotify and these are very early tracks; I want to wait until the tracks are right until I share them with the world! I am keen to hone my skills, collaborate with other talented writers and musicians and make progress. I have some interesting things in the pipeline following my trips to the USA and hope that ,in time, these ‘conversations’ will turn in to concrete opportunities.
Do you have any advice for others who would like to pursue a career in music?
It’s tough. It’s competitive. You need to work really hard. You need to look for opportunity as it doesn’t get handed to you on a plate. As well as talent and relevance, you need tenacity and humility. Keep going. Don’t give up. Listen to the feedback and always be true to yourself.
More from Katie here:
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