Artist Spotlight: Katie Hargrove
When we first heard California based soul singer, Katie Hargrove, we fell in love with her voice. Her raspy vocals command your attention and her songwriting feels like real-life. She embodies the new generation of strong outspoken female pop singers and has earned her comparisons to both Adele and to Alanis Morissette.
We sat down with Katie to chat about her inspirations, which is a pretty diverse list, what she has in the works and more.
Good afternoon, it’s great to be chatting with you. Take a moment to tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into creating music.
Thanks so much for inviting me to chat with you! Growing up in Tennessee, music was always a staple in my household. My dad played guitar, wrote music and played around town with a band. We listened to music as a family with dinner every night and I think I gravitated towards it at an early age. I started writing my own music around the age of 11 and I really felt like it was my only outlet. I was a pretty quiet, introspective kid so music was a way for me to be myself without the pressure to fit in. I could write exactly what I was feeling or thinking and there was no right or wrong.
Piano was your first instrument of choice but you switched your focus a bit more to the guitar in your teens. What was the reason for the change and how has it helped shape your sound today?
I started on piano because I really loved the simplicity and beauty of the instrument. Looking back, I’m so thankful that I learned how to read music during that time. As I started performing live in the coming years, wheeling my small Casio electric piano into venues seemed to feel a bit amateur. I transitioned to guitar around around the age of 11 as it just felt like a natural next step in my music. I remember picking out guitars with my dad and feeling nervous that I might not have the same control that I had on piano. I grabbed a big Gibson if I remember correctly and I had never really played one before. The representative at the store went to try to help me hold it and it just naturally fit in my hands. It felt right and I never really questioned moving back to piano. I think guitar has definitely shaped my sound as I’ve found ways to be expressive and emotive through using percussion off the body or hammering on and off the strings. Guitar has really helped me form a persona as a singer songwriter and I’m thankful for the transition I made all those years ago.
Some of your musical influences are Carole King, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks, and Tupac. Great, diverse list! What aspect of their artistry drew you into these artists?
As I mentioned before, music was always playing in my house. My parents had such eccentric taste in music, which in turn shaped my musical background. I think from a young age, I was drawn to rebels and outliers of artistry. I respected the statements they were making not only through their music, but personally and politically as well. The artists that I looked up to were the ones that had no plan B. They were the ones that were metaphorically and physically sacrificing everything for their craft.
You were chosen to play the Christmas Music Program at the White House, which must have been a surreal experience. How was it?
Oh the Christmas Music Program was definitely surreal! I remember receiving the email stating I had been chosen to perform back when I still had a day job. I was ecstatic and I think it was one of those moments that pushed me to really wholeheartedly pursue music full time. In Washington DC, people come from all over the world to see the National Christmas Tree, so being able to perform in front of the White House for that event was definitely bucket list material. I got to meet so many new faces after my set and interact with people from various states and countries. It was all just so inspiring. It was definitely one of the coolest places I’ve ever performed.
Do you have any new projects in the works? What’s next for you?
Definitely! So many new projects! I’ve been in LA for a little under a year now and I’ve worked with so many amazing new artists, writers and producers. I’ve co-written so many songs and I can’t wait to see where they land. I’ve also been working with a few artists on finding their sound and honing in on creating an authentic voice through their music. On the artist side of things, I have some really exciting opportunities coming up in the next few months that I’m really nervous but equally excited about! It’s all up in the air (as is everything in music) but I’m so stoked to see how it all plays out.
How would you explain your music in three words?
Emotional. Honest. Raw.
If you could collab with any songwriter, producer or artist, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard one! I’d probably have to say Carole King. I look to her career and the way in which she handled trials and tribulations as a model for my own. She was the underwriter for so many artists for generations. I feel like she was the narrator of people’s lives without them even knowing it. Her body of music is so inspiring and she is such a legend in music. Having both an artist and writing career today is hard enough. You have to walk such a delicate line of how you might say something versus how someone else might. I feel like she has so gracefully walked that ever evolving line and been such a force for women in the music industry.
Who are your top 3 favorite musicians right now?
Wrabel, Adam Melchor and Fletcher
Anything else that you’d want to let the readers know?
I want to meet more of you all! I’m constantly playing shows and writing with people I meet out here in LA, but I’m really looking to travel to some new spots in the coming year. If you dig my music and think it’d fit where you live, let’s connect and make it happen!