Kathryn Shipley can command many genres, but she has followed her calling to sing Christian and Country Music and most recently Gospel Blues music. The song "Shine Your Love' which was co-produced and co-written with Gar Francis and Bongo Boy Records won her Best Vocalist and Best Song in the SingerUniverstve competition. Kathryn most recently won Artist of the Year in for the Best Gospel/Country Gospel category by the Josie Music Awards.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I actually managed a few artists early on prior to writing music (about 10 years ago), I have always loved different genres of music and I saw an opportunity with some local talent to try and help them get recognized. The cool thing was a young man I managed I was able to get him on a compilation CD that was a rap CD in Austria. Some of the artists on the CD were Nicki Minaj, Wacka Flocka, Diggy Simmons, even Eminem! He was the only real non celeb artist on the CD, but over time, the light faded on that, but then I started getting an itch to sing, and no not rap! I did a few recordings of some cover songs, I was liking how it sounded.
But on the flip side of this I was writing sports articles and always wanted to write for a sports magazine. Then I had someone tell me I was very “passionate” how I was penning my articles, then it just happened. Then when I walked into Church, God grabbed me and here I am!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I really don’t have anything overly crazy except when I started singing at Church for the first time, and the second week on stage I messed up a line, I said “oh sorry” as I am singing and just king of shook my head... I was protected by God for my little hiccup..
What has been the high point of your music path?
Finding Bongo Boy Records after literally almost giving up on finding someone who would take a chance on me with my music. I felt I had something really good going for me and I had so many people telling me especially my best friend to not give up, but the doors kept closing …and then the Blessing came by way of Monique Grimme and Gar Francis with Bongo Boy Records. And now to top it off, I am up for Artist of the Year in the Gospel/Country Gospel Category at The Josie Music Awards in Nashville September 17th. It doesn’t get any better, just to be nominated, I am Blessed! And just the support from my children and my friends makes it all come to full circle.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I don’t know how creative you would call this, but .. a lot of my lyrics that I have written came from dreams I have had.. I keep a pen and paper on my night stand.. The song I did, The Power of the Cross, I was taking a bath and literally jumped out of the tub flinging water everywhere and was jotting words down.. when I can I love to have my words reflect something in my life that was impactful or someone I know that has shared something with me that was close to their heart.. the good and the bad,,, Music is storytelling…
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
There is so much talent and more than half will never even be able to record a song or no one know who they are..For me at 52 and only singing for about 6 years now, I can say I was Blessed to even have this happen at this stage in my life. It’s all about sticking to your guns and not compromising who you are as an artist. I really don’t know if there is anything I would ask the music industry to change. I love the fact that there is an Awards show called, The Josie Music Awards for independent Artists. I never even heard of them until I started working with Bongo Boy Records. There are so many opportunities out there, you just have to do your homework and keep grinding quite honestly. It only takes one opportunity, one moment.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert a few years ago with a friend here in St Louis and there were these 3 or 4 African American back up singers and they were just killing it! I was like if I could go on tour and do that, I have arrived!!!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I haven’t really had a live show... I am a volunteer vocalist at my home Church and I have been Blessed to sing at quite a few events recently for different functions. When I am getting ready for anything I sing at, I practice A LOT! Probably way more than I should at times, but it is important to be prepared, you never know who is watching you, who will give you an opportunity to get to another level. I just love to sing and even the opportunities didn’t come my way and the doors never opened, I would still be satisfied, I follow the path God wants me to go on.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The song I just co-wrote with Gar Francis, called Those Eyes- because it is a different genre away from Christian music. For me when your penning words for God the flow comes easy and comes to me just automatic. When you step into another genre, for one you want to be able to understand that style and not just be writing something record it and that’s it. Music is such an emotion.. but I am liking the fact to be given the opportunity to step into other genres to test myself as an artist, it’s really been fun, a great experience no doubt.
What's coming up in the future?
Oh my goodness, so much stuff is coming around the bend, Collaborations with some other artists in the near future that are with Bongo Boy Records, and really lock in more on song writing. I really want to learn how to play guitar! I am really trying to network with as many people as possible and that in itself will develop me more professionally making some solid connections.. but hey Dave Matthews if you need a backup singer? CALL ME!!!
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