Kate Magdalena - 10 Questions Music Interview
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Kate Magdalena is a recording artist and songwriter from San Francisco. She grew up to the sounds of music on Broadway in New York City, during the 1970's exploding singer-songwriter, folk, rock, and psychedelic music scene, featuring Crosby Stills and Nash, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and so many more artists who continue to inspire listeners worldwide. Kate was a child of the ‘60’s, and when she came of age, she moved from the East Coast to San Francisco on a quest to discover the meaning of her life. Kate’s journey was an unusual one in that she did many other things before turning to music as her central career focus, and traveling many paths to arrive at where she is now. Kate writes “Timely Americana,” music for these times, with all of its unique challenges and and possibilities. “Kate's upcoming album A Larger Dance is coming in February 2020. The songs have been recorded and produced by GRAMMY-nominated-producer Billy Smiley (Johnny Cash, Whiteheart, Clay Aiken, and the Newsboys) and feature some of Nashville's finest musicians with Fred Eltringham(The Wallflowers and Sheryl Crow), Byron House (Robert Plant and the Band of Joy), Blair Masters (Garth Brooks) and Brennan Smiley (The Technicolors).
Kate Magdalena is one of the artists who will be featured on BWH Music Group’s ‘On Peace Street,’ a compilation album featuring 19 songs about peace and social justice.
What is the name of the song you have on Peace Street?
United (to Save the World)
What is the inspiration behind your song? Or, what is the song about?
My song is about how people across the political divide can unite, and must unite, in order to stop the ceaseless and wasteful plundering of our natural resources in the name of progress and prosperity. It is about the safeguarding of our healthy and natural lifestyles from the encroachment of government mandates in these areas.
How did you write your featured song? Or, can you describe your songwriting process?
My friend Deborah Whitman, an environmental activist with "Environmental Voices," which she founded, sent me the lyrics, and asked me to write something for it, so I did. The song just came out so easily in one fell swoop, beginning with the easy guitar finger lifts on A.....sometimes little riffs can give rise to songs. Other times, the lyric comes first, it depends on the inspired flow of the songwriting process, which is the most exciting process I know! This song started with the lyrics given, and then a simple luscious chord, 'A.'
Who are your major music influences?
Rodgers & Hammerstein (I want to write a musical one day!), Mary Travers of Peter Paul & Mary, Barbra Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, Shawn Colvin, Sinead O'Connor, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Adele, Regina Spektor, Loreena McKennitt, Simrit, Robyn, Rachel Platten
When you wrote this song, did you have a goal in mind? For example, were you trying to raise awareness about an issue that’s close to your heart?
Very much so! When I wrote the song, I had been researching for a few years already on the issue of geoengineering, an issue most people still are unaware of, or if they know anything about it, likely think it is not happening. In fact, the manipulation of our weather has been happening for decades without public knowledge or consent. This was the subject of my first songs, and by extension this one as well, though this song pulls on the need for clean air, food and water, which are the most basic of human needs.
How did you get started in music?
I felt an inner call to give the talents that God has given me, both as a singer and as a songwriter/poet; at the same time I felt an external call from the times we live in, that music needed to address the most pressing concerns. From this call, I began to write not only protest songs, but also love songs, and songs of living.
Of all the songs you’ve written, what was the most challenging and why?
This songs was one of the easiest, maybe the easiest; it really did just come out like a tube of toothpaste! But my most challenging song was the one BWH Music put on their recent album "Keepin' It Country," "Streets of Any Town." It took me three days and nights to write the song, and I couldn't do anything but write it! It kept calling me to it. Finally the song just landed right in my limbs, and I remember running in place as I was learning to play it, the rhythm was so strong in my body.
How do you think music help promote world peace and social justice? Do you have a favorite social justice song?
Honestly I hope so. I know in my own youth such songs were the most powerful songs I knew. They shaped a generation. Today, there are so many influences coming at once. The music industry has changed, and so has how music is delivered. But as long as there are causes, there will be music to raise awareness of them, and people whose lives are changed as a result.
What’s coming up in the future?
My second full album is coming out November 1, called "A Larger Dance." It's the culmination of a year's long work with a producer in Nashville, TN, Billy Smiley. We are still working together, and I'm going back this month to finish up my third album, which will be out in 2020. I'm looking for opportunities to bring my music to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. I'll be traveling to Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama next week to do a country radio tour!
Tell us where fans can access your music?