Set to take the music scene by storm in 2014: Interview with Katie Cole
One to watch out for, Katie Cole might just be 2014’s biggest hit. The Australian singer-songwriter is already a favourite on Radio 2 after creating waves with her EP Lost Inside a Moment; now she is gearing up to storm the UK with a tour and the release of her debut album Lay It All Down. We caught up with her to find out what she’s all about.
Hi Katie. We are looking forward to seeing you on UK shores in 2014. Tell us about your sound – who are your biggest musical influences?
I describe my sound as American country meets British pop. There are some classic American rock elements to my songs and my favourite musicians are those that have timeless qualities. I love artists like Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones and a bunch of soul artists like Stevie Wonder and Aretha. I think all of those styles – pop, rock, soul, blues – all sort of filter through, and out comes Katie Cole! I liken myself closest to Sheryl Crow, or a female version of Tom Petty.
When did you decide to pursue music?
I think I always sang. I remember writing songs as a kid that were just awful, but it was something that was always there. I started performing live in cafés, pubs and clubs when I was 15 or 16 and never looked back. There wasn’t really an “aha!” moment, but it became my conscious career choice to be a singer-songwriter when I was 20 and I started writing dance music for European artists.
Your debut album, Lay It All Down, is due for release soon – how did the recording process compare to your previous EP?
This process was a lot longer than originally anticipated. I started with the idea of releasing an EP, and then it turned into an album. I had too many great songs to narrow down. That added another six months to the process with recording, mixing, mastering – all that delightful stuff! I actually truly enjoy the entire process of releasing albums. Lay It All Down was the same process as recording my previous EPs in essence, just a little longer and little less staggered. I began recording my first two American EPs when I was still in Australia, and so was juggling time zones and dialtones. Lay It All Down took a long time to plan, with some hiccups along the way, but it felt a lot more fluid.
Tell us about your new single, (We Started a) Fire, what’s it all about?
It’s about a pyromaniac…just kidding! I love using analogies of elements to describe love and passion. (We Started a) Fire is about the start of a relationship and not wanting to push things too fast and lose what you have. I think it’s a fun song and a playful way to describe new love, that electricity and chemistry that exists with the start of something between two people. I had fun writing it.
Where do you find inspiration for new songs?
To be honest, everywhere. I don’t really write songs from personal experience, I like to think of lyrics like creative writing and give them emotions I can relate to. All real emotions are relatable, but you need a great story and melody to deliver something that will be remembered. I take regular trips to Nashville purely for songwriting. I really enjoy working with other writers and meeting in the middle somewhere unexpected.
You have recently played at Sundance and SXSW. Do you have any rock ’n’ roll stories to share with us?
I really enjoy being on the road. New places, new faces, and weird food. Brilliant. I don’t have too many stories I want to admit to – locking one of my bandmates in a liquor store freezer at Sundance was a highlight, as was playing a Hard Rock Café and having the drum kit fall apart during the show. I’ve met some pretty iconic artists along the way and seen some diva activity – it comes with the territory. I think enjoying the vagrant-like nature of a touring artist is about surrounding yourself with good people, people you can trust and that you won’t want to throw out of a moving van.
You’ve been working with music legend Kris Kristofferson – how was that?
My amazing producer Howard Willing brought in Kris to sing on one of my album tracks, Penelope. He is such an incredible music and screen icon that it’s almost hard to believe I’ve worked with him. It’s like when I toured with Glen Campbell – there just are no words to describe what an honour it is. I’m extremely grateful.
What’s your favourite thing about LA, and what do you miss most about Australia?
I love the fact that Los Angeles really is an epicentre for entertainment – so much of the music and television world is based out here. The lifestyle is pretty great, good food and sunny weather. Melbourne is my home and probably will always feel that way. I miss Melbourne coffee. It’s weird, I still can’t pinpoint if it’s the coffee beans or the milk. It’s the little things. But I’m out here for a reason so I’m not really homesick for the place, more so for my family. That gets hard.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would be doing instead?
I’ve seen some episodes of CSI Miami, and I think I could solve mysteries and ride on yachts in dark shades. I think I could find those fingerprints the killer forgot to wipe down! I also love animals so I’d consider being a vet. A crime-solving vet. Brilliant! Done!
What are your New Year resolutions for 2014?
I don’t really make resolutions. If I’m doing something terribly, I try to admit it at the time and change it. Rather than making an empty promise to myself, I’d rather commit to small changes and improvements I will actually keep. That said, exercise more, eat less chocolate and hug more animals.
Photo: Courtesy of Katie Cole
For further information visit Katie Cole’s website here.
Watch the video for (We Started a) Fire here: