KatieBeth - 10 Questions Music Interview
Since 2004 KatieBeth has been rocking it out in WI and TN. With a voice born in rock and roll and stained by whiskey, her powerful energy on stage and raw vocal talent is blazing a trail worldwide. Every KatieBeth performance is like a musical autobiography of KatieBeth (the person). Her voice is a blend of rock and country. Her style pulls equally from her Wisconsin roots and her Tennessee years. Her lyrics tell stories of heartbreak, redemption, and hope. With every verse and chorus, KatieBeth unleashes the raw, uncensored emotion of someone who has learned life's lessons the hard way. But behind her amazing vocal range, and beneath her "take-me-as-I-am attitude," lies an alluring vulnerability. KatieBeth is both soft and hard. She is just as willing to love as she is to kick ass. This contrast—this paradox—is who she is. And because of this, she connects with her audience. KatieBeth 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?
All That Matters
What is the inspiration behind your song? Or, what is the song about?
In that split second, when all of your concerns just seem to wash away and you're standing there trying to remember what's important, it's all that matters. This song is dedicated to all of the troops overseas, who have served and have lost their lives. "All gave some, and some gave all" This song came to me in a flash. I was standing at the Nashville airport and a girl pulled up alongside the road and got out of her car. She started to fidget with some things in her hand and she kept looking at the arrivals screen and the door and her watch like nervously. A couple minutes later a soldier in camo greens came rushing out and dropped his bag and they hugged like they hadn’t seen each other in ages. In that moment all I saw was “in that moment it's all that matters.” And I quickly rooted around in my bag to find something to write on and wrote that line down. The song wrote itself. Live in the moment. Cherish what matters most. Love who you love. Take care of each other. And never apologize for being patriotic.
How did you write your featured song? Or, can you describe your songwriting process?
Once I had the title, it wrote itself. I didn't know the couples story but from their embrace, I could feel it. I wrote a back story and a treatment for that song that same day. I wanted to tell the story of a couple that had been pulled apart because of war, but what had brought them back together was their love and their child. When the woman passes in the end, he realizes that he is all the child has and he has to be her everything.
Who are your major music influences?
When I started to write for my records I knew I wanted to co-write every song on them, but I also knew I wanted to show where I come from, what I have been through, who I am and where I am going. I couldn’t do that without including my musical influences. So, you’ll hear all kinds of them from country to rock and all the ways in between. I have been influenced by Keith Urban, Pink, Rob Thomas, Heart, Bon Jovi, Saving Jane, Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Kip Moore, Martina McBride, Celine Dion, Trisha Yearwood, MJ & NF, Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland). My music isn’t defined by a genre or a format. Its rock that hits you in the face with the heart, soul and story of country throughout. It is something different, and new, and I am so proud of this music. It is me in every line and guitar lick.
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?
I wanted to show that no matter what you struggle with, you can and will get through it to the other side. This solider is tormented by the things he has seen and witnessed in war and when he gets home, life is hard for him. He really struggles, and with the love of his daughter and wife; he overcomes. Not everyone is that lucky and I really wanted to highlight the amazing people that serve in our military, that have lost their lives and continue to fight. First Responders, Military; they are the true heroes of our world. We wouldn't be safe or free without their call to serve. Love always wins.
How did you get started in music?
It took me 30 years to come out and be comfortable as who I was and it took everything in the world, inside of me to not ever give in to what all the people around me thought of me, to what they said I was, what they said I should be, what they said I couldn’t be. I am a musician. I am a songwriter. I am a sister. A friend. A daughter. A teller of bad jokes. A music lover. A fighter for the unfair and inequality. A Supporter and Advocate of all people. I am loud. I am strong. I never give up. I dream. I stand up for what is right. And I am also a Lesbian. Being Gay is only part of who I am, I am here taking down my walls, to share my truth so that maybe one other person in the world feels the strength to as well. I am always going to be the same young girl day dreaming of being a big star from Merton, WI; watching the cars and world go by in my little town of 1000 people, two bars and a church. I always have been; adventurous, a free spirit, ready for anything, spontaneous, pain in the ass, finding humor in all things, wont back down, willing to risk it all for a dream.
I am the oldest of 4, raised by a single mother. I spent most of my childhood struggling; not having enough money, witnessing and surviving abuse, hearing fighting all around me, hiding wherever we could to not be in the cross fire, singing songs to my siblings so they wouldn’t hear the yelling. I raised my siblings up and in my teen years I had to grow up fast, living through sexual assault, harassment and the provocation; the result of rebellion that comes with being the “other parent” too young. I have learned to fend for myself my whole life and fought for every single thing I have. Moving out on my own at 17, I have put myself through school, recorded three albums funded independently; I am a self-made success of education, goals, dreams come true and fight of salvation of not becoming where I come from.
Most of the grit I now stand steadfast in to face every single no and judgement is the direct product of enduring bullying from sixth grade until the day I almost didn’t graduate high school. I have confronted adversity at every turn and it has made me a fighter, a survivor; unwilling to accept bull sh*t or anything less than I deserve. It has taught me to chase after crazy a$$ big dreams that most people don’t have the guts to think about, much less chase and given me the balls to do so.
Music was always the most important thing to me. I didn’t dream of a wedding or babies. I just dreamed of riding on treads of a bus barreling down the next stage to stand and dance on while singing my words out of my heart. I wasn’t always this brazen full steam ahead freight train. It took an unbearable childhood, trauma and a young life time of disappointments & self-doubt to see that I wouldn’t ever live my dreams unless I believed. That belief came to me while driving. I was working three jobs, barely getting by, tired from going to school and work during the day and DJ-ing at night. I was driving home one night, so worn out, and needing a sign. A voice came on the radio, one I had never heard and sang the words I believed in my heart, it spoke to me & gave me the push to pursue this dream. I decided right then and there that I would do everything I could for as long as it took to pursue and achieve this dream. I immediately drove to the all night Wal-Mart and bought that CD. The very next day I got the word Believe tattooed on my wrist to remind me every single day that all it takes is one. That one was me. I am inspired by my heroes, EVERYDAY of my life. Hero’s are the reason we dream in the first place. The song was Baby Girl and the voice was Jennifer Nettles.
My musical journey starts here.
Part of achieving any kind of dream and success, especially in the music industry is; You need to be 99% positive your good enough. I say 99 cause that 1% of doubt we all have is what keeps us pushing to be different, new, and better than the rest. It seems glamorous and a blast to be doing this music business and it is but there is SO much hard work that goes into it before any of the fun, recognition or fame comes into play. I have been doing this for 14 years, I started in church, then sang karaoke in bars, won some contests, then started a cover band. I found a name for myself, we had a good following, won some more contests and then I knew I had to make the next move. So, I sat in my hallway of my house for 27 hours and taught myself how to build a website. I been singing all over the United States for anyone who will listen. Three albums in, I am still as motivated as ever. Never ever taking no, as the final answer.
Of all the songs you’ve written, what was the most challenging and why?
That is a great question and one I have never been asked. Two come to mind. Half of me was written about me finding my Biological father after finding out at 18 that the person that I thought was my father was not. I was lied to my entire life and didn't know that another person was in fact my father. The hardest part was that he knew, my whole life and didn't try to see me, meet me, know me. When I wrote Half of Me I was so angry, sad, trying to understand why I was this way and how he shaped me without even knowing me. I remember sitting on the floor of the studio after 12 hours of recording and just sobbing singing this song. It is so powerful still to this day to me.
"It feels like a stranger lives inside my bones 'm sharing a soul with a man I've never known
I'm following your footsteps, and I can't even see them
Just like you I bail if I get too close to someone
Cause if you taught my anything, it was how to run
You left me so empty
Don't have room for no one else
The love you couldn't give me
Is the love I deny myself
Here I am alone
But I won't own
Half of me is you
This hole in my life don't want to heal
And now that's all my heart knows how to feel
If I could just let go, I'd get on with my life
Or could I reach out to you one last time?
Cause you left me so empty
Don't have room for no one else
The love you wouldn't give me
Is the love I deny myself
Here we stand alone
And we both know he truth
That half of me is you"
Also I Got Your Freebird Right Here was difficult to write. The premise of the song was easy, but writing lyrics that helped people understand why I was flipping the bird to music was truly a task without alienating the audience. It took many re-writes and in the end I am very proud of the result. Still to this day my most fun song to perform!
How do you think music help promote world peace and social justice? Do you have a favorite social justice song?
Music can change the world. Any world. At any moment for any reason. Music brings us together. ONE song made me set out on this path. ONE. That is the most powerful motivation ever. Gosh I have so many. Same Love & White Privilege by Macklemore I Believe you - Fletcher You Say - Lauren Daigle For You - Aijia
What’s coming up in the future?
Standing on the Grand Ole Opry Stage. Its the only thing I dream and wish for every single day. Its everything I have ever worked for. I don’t know everything and I am still learning, but this is what I know for sure (Thank you Oprah- also one of my heroes) I'm still not where I want to be but I have been through all of it. I have turned down 2 record deals because I won’t sell my soul. I’m gonna do music my way, the music I wanna do. And if you won’t buy it that way, I ain't selling. I want to tour. I want to record a new album. I want to make a living playing music. I did music full time for ten years and I struggled so much. No one on the outside of music knows or understands how much work, time, money and commitment a dream like this takes. I would love to be able to do it freely without a burden of money or constraints. That's the goal.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Buy my albums here!
You can pick up a physical copy of the album on Cdbaby.