Last month, Katy for Kings released her new single Hard on Myself, which she co-wrote with Chris Bourne and was produced by John Fields, with her previous single, Impersonator, also having a video release premiering on CLASH Magazine. Katy for Kings released her debut EP Novelty in November last year, and on 17th December, she is performing in her hometown at Hotbox in Chelmsford with BBC Introducing and BAXTR. We chatted to Katy for Kings about her latest release Hard on Myself, where she gets the inspiration from for her music and her upcoming show at Chelmsford.
Can you tell us about your new release Hard on Myself and where did you get the inspiration from for the track?
I was in a real creative rut when Hard on Myself came through. For some reason, all of my focus had shifted to trying to impress myself with how clever I could make myself sound, I was failing miserably at it. I’d already been given the guitar part to work with and spent so long on trying to write a first line that I thought was intricate and wordy and brilliant that I was unknowingly driving myself straight into an identity crisis. Eventually I figured that it wasn’t going to work out and forced myself to keep it really simple and quite literally say what I was seeing in that moment. This happened to be a pile of clothes that I’d purchased online that didn’t fit me at all.
Who do you think the single will appeal to and what do you hope listeners will take from it?
I’m honestly never sure of the who, how or whys. I think it depends on circumstance and timing really. I hope people that hear the song, and especially if they can relate to the song, get a little bit of comfort from it the same way I do. It’s liberating, in a way, to be aware that sometimes you are your own worst critic but be open to learning how to manage it and always looking for new ways to understand yourself and become familiar with the things and people that make you feel supported and understood.
How has the release gone down with your listeners?
Well, I think! This release especially has pushed the importance of intimate and vulnerable human reactions over statistics. I had someone recently say that Hard on Myself was their comfort song which is all I can really ask for, honestly!
What is it like co-writing with Chris Bourne and how long were you working on the single?
Chris sent me the original guitar part for the song and then I wrote the vocals in my bedroom which is a process I’ve come to really love and have used now over and over again. In hindsight, the song came together pretty quickly.
Hard on Myself was produced by John Fields, how is it having him work on your music and how has it been releasing during the pandemic?
It’s been something to focus on, for sure, I work from my bedroom via Dropbox so I didn’t feel limited at all when it came to creating. I’d go as far to say that I’m more motivated now to work to put myself in a position to start playing these songs live too. I’ve been very focused on writing for the last few years so gigging is something to work towards.
How was it filming the music video for your previous single Impersonator and how did you find the experience releasing it?
So much fun! I had some of my closest friends on set with me and we were working with a concept that we could really play about with and make almost comical. Releasing it was also a high for me as it got premiered by CLASH Magazine with an awesome write-up that I couldn’t be more grateful for.
You started releasing music as Katy for Kings last year, and your debut EP Novelty was released in November, what has the response been like to your music career so far?
Very much online based, haha! It’s really been a great experience and a huge learning curve. I always knew I wanted to experiment a little bit with what I make and where I can take my brand so having to make decisions regarding artwork and what songs to put out when that I don’t think I’ll regret in the future has been kind of a soul search in a way. Seeing people connect differently with different songs has been super interesting too.
What do you enjoy most about working on music and performing your own songs?
I love seeing (and hearing) a song really come together. I love talking to my producer and hearing his take on how it should sound and the different ways to build on structures etc. I love making sense of the little scenes that take place in my head when I sit down to write. That seems like such a funny thing to say over everything else that I could have picked but one of my favourite things about writing is when my brain produces an immediate visual to a melody or a title idea and I have to dissect it until it’s nothing but metaphors and adjectives.
Had you always wanted a music career and how did you start?
In a way, yes. I wanted to go into theatre when I was young and just before I hit my teens I discovered Disney Channel whilst at my grandparents house and was introduced to pop music through programmes like Hannah Montana and bands like Jonas Brothers. I started writing music at fourteen and was listening to Taylor Swift a lot more and really resonated with her earlier country stuff.
What do you feel you’ve learnt over your years as a music artist?
More than I can express and probably far more than I’m even aware of! A key thing I’ve learnt though is that persistence pays off. Oh, and that not everyone has to know who you are as soon as you turn sixteen, seventeen or even eighteen. Timing is such a personal thing and comparison is a killer. That’s a big one for me.
Who are some of your favourite music artists to listen to and which would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Hmmm right now I’ve had Kacey Musgraves’ new album on repeat. I would love to write with her and also just have a chat about life. I feel like she would have a whole lot of interesting and valuable stuff to say.
Do you have any upcoming music release plans you can share?
It’s all a bit up in the air right now but I am planning another music video which is exciting!
Can you say what live events and shows you’ve got coming up?
I’m playing Hotbox in Chelmsford on the 17th of December this year with BBC Introducing and the band BAXTR. It’s a hometown gig in one of the coolest venues so it’s very special! I’m hoping to get all of my friends and family down and I think it will just be an all-round amazing night.
What encouraged you to start your TikTok account and can you tell us more about it?
To be honest, I was pretty late to the party and I still don’t feel like I have a real handle on it but it’s a lot of fun and I’m figuring it out day by day! It’s a really great way to showcase your style and personality as well as hobbies and talents and anything goes really! I’m personally very much on the singer/songwriter TikTok so it’s a great way to get inspired and find new techniques for promotion etc!
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