UK singer-songwriter Katey Brooks is kicking off her impromptu Canadian tour with a gig at the Rainbow Bistro in the Market on June 1st. Evoking names like Jeff Buckley and Hozier, Katey Brooks has made a name for herself with haunting vocals, moving lyrics, and impactful guitar playing. Katey was kind enough to chat with us before the show, where we had the chance to talk about her childhood, musical influences, and even her musical guilty pleasure.
Why did you decide to start singing and what inspired you?
I guess the simplest answer would be because it felt good. I’ve loved music from as far back as I can remember (to bouncing in my cot to Springsteen’s Born in the USA!) And in one form or another I’ve been creating it for a long time. There’s something about singing that allows you to express that which you can’t in any other way. It allows me to emote I guess.
How do you think you were influenced by the London/Arizona hybrid?
I’d say perhaps it instilled a little Americana in me… That seems to creep out from time to time! But mainly my upbringing gave my music something a little raw I think, perhaps.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Joni Mitchell happens to be the first I always think to mention. I love her. When I started writing properly I was listening to Blue on repeat, and I have no doubt that influenced me a lot; vocally in particular. And Tracy Chapman is a massive influence. I love the sincerity in both these ladies’ words and voices.
What is your all-time favourite song/album?
Hmmm. Tricky one. These things can change for me depending on my mood. Album would probably have to be Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Song is too difficult but at a push it’d have to be something by Stevie Wonder.
What’s your “guilty pleasure” musically?
Aherm, er, Justin Bieber…. Ah another Canadian!
If you had one piece of advice for a young person looking to break into the music business, what would it be?
Focus on your craft above all else. Prepare yourself for hard work and ups and downs, so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Never be afraid to ask the question, ‘no’ won’t kill you. Oh, and you’ll never be everybody’s cup of tea, so don’t take things too personally.
What’s your go-to equipment on-stage and in-studio?
I’m super super simple with what I use and I always have been. I’m pretty tech shy to be honest. Right now on stage it’s just my Alvarez acoustic and I, though I’ve started introducing the electric which at the moment is a Fender Tele. In the studio I’m loving the Neumann U87 my producer’s been putting me on. Such a sweet sound.
If you could collaborate with any one artist, who would it be?
Stevie Wonder. Singing with him would be sheer bliss.
What’s the coolest venue/place you’ve ever performed? What’s your dream venue?
Gotta be a toss up between London 2012 Paralympics and WOMAD festival. The first because of the occasion, and the second because of the wonderful crowd. The crowd makes a show.
What’s the ultimate “Katey Brooks” song someone should listen to if they’re not familiar?
Never Gonna Let Her Go. At the moment there’s only a live studio version up on Youtube, but that song is a clear signpost as to the direction this new album is heading in, as well as what to expect from a live solo set.
What is the experience of your show like?
From feedback I’ve received, it’s pretty emotive. I generally write about things that have really moved me, so my shows have an intensity to them. There is also lightness and laughter in between, as I’m really not half as serious as I look or sound when I’m singing 😉
What are your goals for the next year?
Touring around the world with the new album I’m finishing (We The People) And sharing it with as many people as possible. Naturally, the hope is that they’ll love it.
You can catch Katey this upcoming Wednesday, June 1 at the Rainbow Bistro in the Byward Market. Check her out on Soundcloud, watch her videos on YouTube, giver her a follow on Facebook and Twitter, and visit her website to learn more.