THE awesome Katey Brooks...
has been telling me about her latest single, In Your Arms, and what its story is. I ask what she has planned next year and whether we will see more from her; which albums are most important and some rising artists we should follow and investigate.
Brooks tells me about a bittersweet musical memory and where we can catch her play; who she would support on tour if she had the chance and what advice she would offer artists emerging – she selects a great track to end the interview with.
Hi, Katey. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I'm good, thanks. How are you? My week has been really wonderful thanks...and busy!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a singer-songwriter/producer originally from Bristol (U.K.) living in London. I've been writing, releasing and touring music for over a decade now and have been fortunate enough to see many parts of the world because of it. My back catalogue spans a variety of genres but my current vibe is Indie/Folk-Pop with hints of Gospel and Soul. Is that enough of an intro? I'm a bit awkward; can you tell? (Smiles).
In Your Arms is your new single. What is the story behind it?
I went through a very painful breakup over the summer. I parted with the woman I loved very dearly and one day I just picked up my guitar and decided to tell her how I felt, in song. I had always felt like she never quite believed me when I told her I loved her and this was my way of really saying it. I'm happy it came out this way because I think, or at least hope, there's something in the lyrics we can all relate to - that pure, sweet, unconditional love for someone.
Will there be more material coming along? How far along are you looking?
There absolutely will. I'm just finishing the production on the second single - which will be out in late-January - followed by third and then the album in the spring! In between my original music, I'm also going to be sharing some covers of my favourite songs so watch this space (smiles).
In terms of artists; who do you count as idols?
Neil Young, Joni Mitchell; Annie Lennox, Tracy Chapman; Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley and John Martyn...god, the list is endless!
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Yes. Gentle ones. I was on the road relentlessly for a few years until this time last year and, as amazing as that was, that's not how I want to do things these days. I've discovered I'm actually more of a home-bird than I ever wanted to admit. So, I'll be releasing a lot of music (including my album Hearing Voices in the spring) and playing some special concerts in venues I love. Past that, we shall see!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Ooh, there are a few. Singing at the Bethlehem Live festival in Palestine and London 2012 are up there, but I'm going to say all the way back in 2007 at the Bordeaux Fête le Fleuve. I was a youngster on the main stage both opening and closing this beautiful festival. It was both a very exciting and extremely painful moment for me. My mum had literally passed away two days before but I had promised her I would go and play the festival.
As hard as it was, I wanted to keep that promise. I thought about her and mentally dedicated it to her as I sung my song You Will Be Free. It was a very powerful moment and, to be honest, I felt her presence. I'll never forget that.
What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?
As both the receiver and the creator, it's everything. It's literally saved my life at certain times. It gives meaning when there is none; it makes sense when there is none and it gives joy without ever wanting anything in return. Music is just beyond words amazing, isn't it?!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
Just because it's perfection.
Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
That record inspired me to write and sing.
Blue by Joni Mitchell
My friend Patrick Duff mentored me a little when I was younger and he recommended I listen for my development. Exquisite album which definitely influenced the way I sang at the time.
As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?
Oh, that would be telling...it's quite soppy. Can I keep you posted? (Winks).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
It would be someone like Matt Corby because then I could really enjoy his set afterwards. I adore his voice/music and his presence on stage.
My rider is always pretty simple: just a nice bottle of Malbec, decent veggie food and somewhere private, quiet and comfy to chill out before and after I play. Anything more than that is a bonus but to be honest wouldn't be on my mind before I play.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Just make music you love, work hard and be gracious. Look after and respect yourself. The rest is up to the gods.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
There are shows to be announced but, in the meantime, I have two special shows coming up in these lovely venues:
Friday, 1st Feb at Landmark Arts Centre - London
Saturday, 2nd Feb at Arnos Vale – Bristol
Tickets are available from my website.
IN THIS PHOTO: Fraser Anderson
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
My answer to that question used to always be ‘no’. Haha. But, nowadays, I'm trying to keep the balance. I like to just hang out with friends and family eating nice food and having the odd glass of wine or two. I love movies and have been known to indulge in many Netflix binge sessions. I'm trying to get back into sports too as I know how much my mental-health thrives from it. Climbing is at the forefront of my mind at the moment. I just need to find the time!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Oh, thanks! Let's go with Fraser Anderson - Only a Boy. It's my favourite of his and features the beautiful bass playing of Danny Thompson (John Martyn, Nick Drake)
Nice chatting to you (Smiles).
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