NOTE: This feature, interview and single touch on mental health (specifically anxiety). If you or someone you know needs help please seek support through the links provided. Information to Australian support services can be found HERE. U.S. readers please click HERE & U.K. readers HERE for local services.
Since leaving school in 2019, Katie Kittermaster has been lucky enough to support Lucy Spraggan and Boyzlife on tour. She has played over 100 dates during that period and it certainly gave her a taste of a life on the road. At times it can be quite lonely and solitary, compared to how it looks from the outside. “This experience certainly gave me the opportunity to hone my skills on stage, test some songs with ‘real audiences’ and confirm that this is what I wanted to do full time,” Katie tells Eat This Music at the top of our chat about her newest single. “Nothing can prepare you for being on the road un%l you are actually in the game.” These fews months, until we were all stopped in our tracks by COVID-19, allowed Katie to grow as a performer, a writer/artist. “Being a support act can be un-nerving too; the audience is not there to see and hear you; you have 30 minutes to win them over, touch them and hope that they like what you do,” Katie continues. “Some nights were tough with noisy audiences and half-interested people but despite that you put on the show and give it your all.”
“I was all set to go to Leeds College of Music in September this year but due to COVID restrictions and those possibly impacting my music career and commitments,” Katie says, “I have made the decision to delay this studying.” It was a hard decision to come to for Katie, as she is keen to learn more, collaborate and have human interaction (something she craves). For now, it is full steam ahead with music for Katie; the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021 will be about learning; improving her guitar and piano skills, writing with more people and understand more about the production process so she can own this process fully. “Of course I will be on the hunt for as many live opportunities as possible as nothing beat this,” she adds, “but with COVID rampant and determined to destroy our industry, I am not sure how many of those opportunities will come my way.”
It has certainly been very challenging for Katie at the moment, and the real worry is the impact of peoples’ mental health and welfare. “I have struggled with my mental health since I was 13,” Katie reveals to Eat This Music. “At times I let it get to me but I am determined to keep my head above water and practice what I preach!” Pre-lockdown, Katie visited some schools to talk to kids about their mental health and how they can help themselves and others. For Katie though, music has kept her alive and focused about looking forward. “Oddly, I am generally a happy person and I rarely talk openly about my feelings – these can be found in all my songs! My tag line on instagram is ‘I don’t write happy songs’!!!!!”
Katie wrote her newest single, ‘The Problem’, the night before she flew to Los Angeles for a writing trip earlier in January. “I was feeling super anxious and under pressure about the whole trip as I had never written with another writer before,” Katie reveals on the process. “My debut EP, Coning Home at Dawn, was 100% penned by me.” Katie’s songs are very personal and she was worried about if she would open up in front of a bunch of strangers and experienced writers. Katie continues, “I was concerned about what they would think about my teenage anxieties too. At the time of writing ‘The Problem’, I was in quite a dark place and I put a lot of blame, guilt and pressure on myself over things I couldn’t really control.” In fact, at that time, Katie felt like a burden: “I reflected on how certain situa%ons had turned out and realised that I was the common denominator – The Problem – in all of them. The song is about self-sabotage, anxiety and trust issues…all very positive!!!!”
“I don’t really have a set process – especially if I am writing alone. Sometimes it’s driven by the melody but more often than not, it is just with the chorus, the hook and builds from there.” –Katie Kittermaster of her creative process.
“Recently I wrote with someone and we started with the title; something I had not thought of or tried before,” Katie continues in our chat about her newest single.
Sadly, ‘The Problem’ is totally about Katie’s life and how she felt at that time in life. “I have become more anxious over the last few years and massively over-think situations,” Katie continues. “Looking at my Instagram, people may think I have a perfect life and that I am always happy but there is more to me that meets the eye!” Although, it is a weird situation as Karie rarely talks about how she is feeling to those people closest to her, yet she tells whoever will listen through her songwriting!
“Being on tour shortly afterwards allowed me to perform it night after night,” Katie expresses to Eat This Music on the creative process of her new single. “It’s such a privilege to have been able to do that as it means you can live with the song for a bit, change it up and you can gauge if the crowd like.” Once lockdown was lifted later this year, Katie recorded the track locally with a producer who had been recommended to her. “I like the song,” Katie expresses. “It is who I am.” In fact, this song is being released now as part of her upcoming EP. The first single to be released was ‘One of A Kind’; it’s about a relationship that went stale.” This person meant a lot to me but we ended up being stuck in a rut,” Katie says. “I wrote the song the day we spilt up as although on this occasion it was my decision, it’s never easy breaking up and hurting somebody.”
Coming up next for Katie is a cover, which is coming out in November. It is Katie’s take on Stng’s stunning song, ‘Every Breath You Take‘. “We will be making a ‘home-movie style’ video (low budget!!) which will be all about my Dad not being with us right now,” Katie reveals on her next release. “Following that, ‘She Should be Here’ will be released – a song about a broken friendship and the lead track will be released in Spring 2021 which is called ‘Pack Your Bags’.” From there, Katie is working on new material, she plans to hone her guitar skills, learn more about the production process, busk and is keen to get physically and mentally fit.