Interview: Katie Power
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I have loved music for as long as I can remember. Watching Disney channel and seeing Hannah Montana and High School Musical just lit me up and made me love singing. When I was about 9, I learned about Taylor Swift and how she wrote all her songs. I didn’t know people didn’t write the songs they sang, so that was a game changer. After that, I wrote lyrics with a marker on printer paper and would do acapella shows for my parents with my sisters. It eventually turned into me learning guitar at 13 and writing songs almost every day, even when I only knew two chords. If I hadn’t gotten into music, I’m pretty sure I would have followed creative writing. I still love storytelling so I would have put more of my focus into writing short stories. I did that a lot as a kid anyway because storytelling is a big part of my songwriting.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Honestly, I spend most of my time focusing on my career in some way! As a college student majoring in songwriting who wants a career as a singer/songwriter that’s all my attention is on. I like making videos about reviewing albums because it helps me find new music to listen to. I’m minoring in creative writing, and that has helped me learn a lot more about building characters and story structure. Those are things I would love to try to include more in my songs.
How long has music been your career?
I have been lucky enough to have always been involved in music in one way or another. I was in choir pretty much all of elementary through high school. In middle school I also did musicals and played the clarinet. In high school I was really able to focus on my songwriting and artistry. Where I lived, songwriting as a career wasn’t a popular thing so when I was able to work with professionals they were impressed and helped me get to where I am now. In Nashville, I have had the amazing opportunity to play a lot of writer's rounds and open mics, which has been a dream come true. I cannot wait until I get to do shows with a full band, that’s coming pretty soon.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of both Clearwater, FL, and Nashville, TN. Being based out of Nashville, TN just opens up so much opportunity. It inspired me to keep writing and playing songs just to try them out. I love that Nashville wants to hear original music more often than covers. It made me want to continue to build out my setlist and not just play out the same four songs every night.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
One of the best shows I played was at the Berklee College of Music Summer Songwriting Program. It was so incredible because I was playing in front of all of my peers. They were so supportive and when I started singing everyone started clapping along to the song. It was one of those moments that still gives me chills thinking about it.
Now my worst show isn’t a terrible show by any means. A place I played at had some technical difficulties and kept insisting my guitar was the issue. I had just gotten it restrung and had the battery replaced like right before this show. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I played half the show with a guitar that just wasn’t hooked up to the sound. They kept talking to me between songs about how it wasn’t working; I was on stage, and I wasn’t sure what they wanted me to do. For my last song they let me use a guitar that the venue had, and I was able to finish the show. When stuff like that happens, it can really throw off my focus. Fortunately, I still had a nice time and I want to play there again!
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue I played at is hands down the Bluebird Cafe. I am a huge Taylor Swift fan so to have played a stage she played on just made me light up. It was an open mic, and I was lucky enough to get chosen to play a second song. It is such an iconic venue I’m so happy I played it and I can’t wait to play it again.
I want to play so many places, my biggest dreams are the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA and the Raymond-James Stadium in Tampa, FL because I grew up seeing shows at those stadiums so to play a show that big would be life changing. Other than that, a lot of places in Nashville, like The Ryman and The Grand Ole Opry, they have so much history, and while I don’t play country music I have so much respect for women in country music and how hard they work for the success they get.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I love this question! This is almost too easy for me because I have staple artists that I always go back to, just because I love their artistry and songwriting. The artists on the ticket would be Taylor Swift, Hayley Williams/Paramore, Phoebe Bridgers, and Marianas Trench. If I played a show with this line up, I’d be in absolute heaven.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
“If it was easy, everybody would do it.” It’s not meant to invalidate the feelings of feeling not good enough or feeling frustrated with not going instantly viral like someone else did, but instead highlight that you’re fighting the good fight and if you really want it, you really have to keep pushing.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
“You’re doing the best that you can and that is enough.” I think I was always afraid I was falling behind because people in my life looked down on me for wanting a career in music. I always felt like I had something to prove to everyone, it was hard to enjoy those little moments of success.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I have a song I wrote called “Turn Back Time.” I wrote it when I was 16 and it was the first song, I shared with anybody. I sent it to my dad, and he swore it was a cover song, which was one of the biggest compliments. That song opened a lot of doors for me, I auditioned and got accepted into two of the best songwriting programs in the country. So that song will always hold a place close to my heart, plus it’s really fun to sing live.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“It’s Just Me” is my favorite song to play live. I feel like it’s a good introduction to me and how I am sweet, but I also have an edge people don’t always expect. I just like the message of my lyric “it’s all been done before / so why do you care anymore? / just let it go / just let it be / cause I know it’s just me.”
“More” is a song I get requested a lot. My younger sister loves this song a lot so she will force me to add it to setlists haha. It’s a song where I get to say everything I didn’t get to say to this person. They always thought they deserved more respect than I did, and I was not okay with it. It’s basically for anyone who’s felt like they’ve been done wrong, they’re super mad about it, and they need a song to listen to at full blast.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is something I’m still nailing down. I think writing the lyrics first is what I feel most comfortable with. I also like to write all the lyrics in one sitting, sometimes it’s the final version, other times it’s not. I usually need to edit the second verse because it’s not as strong as the first one. When I write the music, sometimes I like to try to find unique chord structures to inspire me to stop using the same four chords all the time.
I think really strong emotions inspire me to write music. It obviously doesn’t happen all the time but if I’m really sad or angry I try writing a song with the logic, “it’ll be worth it if I get a good song out of it.” so that’s comforting.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to highlight mental health and the raw emotions around situations that aren’t always romantic. Talking about being proud of who you are and trusting yourself is important to me because being around so many talented people it can be easy to feel you aren’t good enough. I want people to own who they are and give themselves credit for the work they’ve done. (Something I’m definitely still working on too!)
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
When it comes to songwriting, I prefer to write by myself. Lyrics are a pretty personal thing to me. However, during the production stage, I know not to go in with an all or nothing idea. I don’t want to shut someone down who is interested and excited to put their creativity into a song. If we disagree on whether or not a lyric stays in, we look at how it goes with the rest of the song, maybe we keep that lyric there but cut some out at the end that are dragging the song out too long.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am planning to release a few singles within the next few months. They will be a good introduction to me and some stories of my life. Following my instagram.com/katiempower and my website katiepowermusic.com are the best ways to know exactly what I’m doing next!
For now, I also share videos on TikTok.com/KatiePowerMusic and I have a lot of music advice and original performances on my YouTube.com/KatiePower