Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
There really was actually. First of all, I've always been a singer, and deeply drawn to self-expression through singing. I also adore poetry, eating it like cotton candy. But I honestly for some incredibly odd reason never thought that I could put it together to be a musician, and the reason is that I didn't know anything formal about music. But so it was that I had the opportunity to return to school and study music formally during my forties. After this I began to learn that the world was not the place I had imagined, and some very real evils exist in our own time. Writing about these, and particularly the subject of altering our weather through geo-engineering made me so enraged that I had to write about it. My first song was called Up Up in the Sky. You can find it on Youtube. The song went viral!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Well, now that you mention it, that song going viral! I mean not exactly viral for the internet, but for the smaller global community that understands what is taking place in the skies. I mean it's so subtle because the powers that are doing it also want to hide it, and so there is total whitewashing of the subject, just like there is whitewashing of the sky. But once that happened, I realized that my music resonated and it inspired me to begin to take seriously my career as an artist. The craziest thing is that I spent my life running in the opposite direction away from my gift in music, always putting it to the side. That is crazy! Fortunately God re-directed me, and continues to do so as I frequently falter. I am blessed!
What has been the high point of your music path?
Well, it just keeps getting higher. Each stage of this journey is so rewarding and a gift, though extremely challenging as well. The high point was definitely meeting my producer Billy Smiley. In fact, this meeting was what inspired my song "A Larger Dance." He is so gifted, and we work together so well. He is beloved by the artists he works with!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Did you ever just feel you wanted to be with someone special, or do something particular? You kind of get an itch for it? It comes up for you, welling up like a little wave? That's how songwriting often is for me. Something touches me, and usually it has to touch me hard because I'm lazy and distracted. But when it does, I can't put it down. I allow the process to move me. I learn to get passive in the face of what wants to come through, an image, a story, a feeling, a beat --- song can express it all in the most moving and attractive way!
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?
I wish there were more of a clear path to getting to the next level, but we are finding our way. For me, it's hard to put out beautiful music and to find the right audience for it. I want my music to be heard so that it can do its mission! Thanks so much to places like BWH Music for helping independent artists to make it possible.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I'd share the stage with Madonna. I absolutely adore her. She is the most gifted artists I can imagine. Unfortunately she has been captured by the dark side at this time, but I also want to be a helpful influence to her, if that is even possible. With God, anything is possible! I just hate to see her wasting her time on anything dark. And for me, it would be such a thrill. I love to dance, i want to learn to incorporate it in my performances.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I have a show coming up, but during the Covid crisis they have been almost non-existent out where I live in Northern California. I have a host of about 20 songs that I continue to practice as the bed-rock of my sets, and then I can add to those or subtract to make a given set for a given show. To be frank, I am a beginner when it comes to shows as far as speaking about it, and very much want to learn to create a great one, and to move audiences to the greatest ability that I can.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
My song which will come out in the spring with my next album "Canyonlands" -- my song "Green Upon Green," has been challenging yet joyous to write because many times the song doesn't seem to make sense to me when it first comes. This song was a compilation of a few ideas, and i just couldn't figure out where I wanted to song to go. It began as a love song, but then morphed into a love song involving not only a person, but a place, Ireland, and the whole idea of a seed forming in one's soul as.a child, that develops to become something essential later in one's life possibly. For me, singing, and particularly Irish music was this kind of seed, still unfolding.
What's coming up in the future?
What's coming up in the future?: We are at such an uncertain time! But my belief is in the Larger Dance, title of my first album with Billy Smiley. I imagine we will do more music! I imagine I will be on stages! I imagine that I will serve the purpose for which my music was created, whatever that is to be! I do have an album coming in the first part of next year, my third with Smiley, "Canyonlands". I also think my husband Randall and I will be living in Tennessee part time beginning soon, as conditions nationally develop.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Please direct fans to my website where they can see a broad range of my stuff, plus if they are inspired to connect, I would love them to join my email list to stay in closer touch as releases come, and news develops. My website is katemagdalena.com. Or please find me on Facebook or Instagram as KateMagdalena. It has been a pleasure to interview, so thank you for the opportunity.
About Kate Magdalena
Kate Magdalena is an independent singer-songwriter out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently Nashville, TN. Most at home in folk-pop, she calls her genre ‘Timely Americana’, as she is inspired to write for the particular times in which we live. Kate was selected by BWH Music, (Austin) in both 2020 and 2021 as a Women to Watch: Best Female Independent Artists, and her recent album “The Water Is Wide” was awarded Best Album in Adult Contemporary in the 2020 W.A.M. Awards. The album, released in August 2020, contains 9 songs of water and land, including the iconic covers “Downtown” and “I Know A Heartache When I See One,” as well as several originals, most notably “The Waking” a setting of the poem by Theodore Roethke. On this album is also Magdalena’s political song “Backstory” about some of what we are now living through. Kate is dedicated to using her music as an art form that can and must bring about awareness, and ultimately change.
In November 2019 Kate Magdalena released her second album with Grammy nominated producer Billy Smiley (Johnny Cash, WhiteHeart, Clay Aiken) “A Larger Dance” with singles “Be the Lark,” “New Earth,” “Battle Hymn,” and “Streets of Any Town.”. The full album includes songs by Joan Armatrading, Leonard Cohen, Sinead O’Connor, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. The title track “A Larger Dance” was just awarded a “Best Song” Silver Medal in the 2021 W.A.M. Awards for Adult Contemporary Music.
Kate’s first album “Acquainted With the Night” was released in 2018 and contains the song “United (to Save the World)” (featured in the album “Peace Street” by BWH Music. Kate released an EP for Christmas 2020 called “In the Bleak Midwinter,” with 6 carols and her new carol for 2021 “The Holly and the Ivy” will add to nicely to that holiday collection. She is also now releasing singles from her next EP “CANYONLANDS” expected in the first part of 2022. Kate lives happily ever after with her husband Randall both in Northern California and Franklin, TN.
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