I have been speaking with…
the incredible Kate Kelly as she discusses her new single, Honey, and what its story is. I ask her what it is like being in Nashville and whether she gains inspiration from the city; what we can expect going forward in terms of new material – she recommends a rising artist worth keeping an eye out for.
I ask Kelly what she hopes to achieve by the end of the year; what sort of music she grew up around; whether there will be any tour dates coming up; if she will come to the U.K. at some point – she provides some useful advice for artists emerging.
Hi, Kate. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam! I’m doing great; thanks so much for having me. It’s been a super-busy week with the release of Honey, but so exciting to put new music out into the universe.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Kate Kelly here - singer-songwriter in Nashville, TN, but originally from Mobile, AL. I’ve loved honest songwriting for as long as I can remember - music that tells a story but also has a sweet groove. So, I try to accomplish exactly that in my own sound; merging Jazz, Blues and Folk styles with heartfelt lyrics.
Honey is your new single. Can you reveal the story and how it came together?
Honey came along at a time when I needed her most. I was in a place where I was taking myself a little too seriously and longing to feel at home within my own person. So, writing Honey was so much more than writing a new song- it was writing a new feeling into my life experience.
When Honey appeared within me, I found a version of myself I didn’t know existed. The song brought with it a new-found sense of self that was sassy, independent and empowered in her truth. I still use Honey to remind myself to embrace my authenticity and independence, which is my biggest hope for listeners as well.
Do you think there will be more material coming in the next few months? How far ahead do you look as a songwriter?
Oh, yes! I’ll be releasing two more singles in the next few months and then my first full-length album in October. Keep your ears open!
I try to keep a balance of planning ahead while also letting life and luck run their course. I typically set musical goals for each month of the year and, as I meet them, I let them evolve based on what life throws my way.
I hear elements of R&B on Honey. Do you take a lot of inspiration from R&B artists past and present? What sort of music did you grow up around?
I was listening to a whole lot of R&B when I wrote Honey, hence the inspiration you hear. But, I really feel inspired by several genres of music, which I think you’ll hear in my upcoming album. I grew up with parents who loved '70s Folk and so that will always have a deep place in my heart.
Though, as I grew up, I began developing my own musical taste and I found a deep love for Jazz, Blues and Soul. All of the above weave their way into my sound in unique ways.
Nashville must be a great city to perform and write in! How much do you take from the sounds and people around you?
I truly can’t believe the talent in this city! I feel SO lucky. I go to see live shows a lot and it’s a huge source of inspiration for me. I’m especially moved by the badass women making music here!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope to be touring my upcoming album The Wonder of It All which is in the works as we speak! Wooohoo!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I work as a music therapist in a psychiatric facility as my day job. It’s incredibly moving to see music work its healing nature into people in such emotional agony. I’ve had so many moments where music brings people out of their pain and into a new perspective and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Feist - The Reminder
These three albums have shaped me and my writing more than any other musical influence. All three represent such a feeling of catharsis and solace to me. They are so dear to my muse that I can barely put what they mean to me into words.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I think what Laura Marling is working on is really neat and I’d love to tag along on tour.
The only thing I’d put on my rider that I can think of at this moment is some mint chocolate chip ice cream. Priorities, right?! Haha. I’m notorious for seizing any opportunity that involves ice cream.
Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?
YES! I am so excited for a tour. I kick things off in October and will be going all over the Southeast and Northeast U.S. to start. More dates to come in 2019. All tickets at katekellymusic.com
Might you come to the U.K. and play in the future?
I’m hoping to do a Europe tour in the summer or fall of 2019. No details yet but it's been a dream of mine for a while now and I’m ready to make it happen!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable. Especially lyrically. There is an indescribable power in this that is worth seeking.
IN THIS PHOTO: Julianna Zachariou/PHOTO CREDIT: Caia Grace Matthews
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Check out my friend Julianna Zachariou. Her songs will blow you away!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I wind up with music and wind down with music. I don’t really feel like I need any time away from it! But, I do love yoga and taking mindfulness walks.
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).
Sleepwalker (Demo Version) - Emily King
Follow Kate Kelly