Katie Nicholas is making a name for herself in the British Country scene, and has recently self-released her album, Dizzy. We first saw Katie perform at London’s Water Rats back in March, and invited her to tell us her story.
EP: Give us the Katie Nicholas story! What style of music do you sing? How did you get into it?
KN: So I’m a Liverpool born, London based country pop singer/songwriter who tries to take a twist on combining music and creative design by designing all my own music videos, social media design and more! With that, I am totally unsigned and self-sufficient, yet I am cherishing the creative freedom and building a community around what I do organically! I was awarded a Liverpool Music Award sponsored by the Mayor of Liverpool for my first quirky track, Chemistry which went viral at 100,000 views in a matter of days! So that’s kinda where it started, uploading a valentine’s video for my boyfriend in my bedroom.
EP: Love your album, and love your album cover – it’s very beautiful, which is no surprise given you’re a designer. How do you go about combining your day-to-day work with your music?
KN: Thank you! Well, I’m a designer to keep myself in London with a stable career, at least until I feel ready to fully commit to music (which I will)… and I have to admit, at times it’s very hard to keep everything afloat with my 9-6. However, I do believe if you have a passion, you make time and you do what you love anyway – I have had a few too many nocturnal nights though. But at least I know I give it 110%!
EP: What are the pros and cons of being an independent recording artist?
KN: I think there are plenty of pros and cons, but it’s dependent on the sort of artist you are. I think the main things that stick out to me is that I am having full control of my image so then perhaps at a later stage, when I have the right audience and following and what I do is successful, that a label may trust my decision making a little more and I have already moulded the fundamental part – who and what I am! And it’s genuine too! With that, I would love to be in a position to do this full-time, with the backing and driving force that independents don’t have without a budget, resources and platforms to reach even wider audiences.
EP: You’re an integrated designer – what does that involve?
KN: Well it was a bit of a combined job role – I applied for two different job titles and they decided to give me both (digital and traditional designer)… so that means I can work on both print ads and digital media… and I’m also able to work in different forms… even animation and illustration! The job is all about consistent branding, and I think that element really struck a chord in me to want to do the same with my own image as an artist (musically).
EP: What’s your advice for anyone wanting to get into the music industry?
KN: I really think it should always be about “being yourself” and not to really think about the music industry or to conform to expectations of an artist in a certain genre. If it’s high up on your priorities to be get into the “industry” rather than write music, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. You will be noticed and picked up by “industry folk” if you do what you do confidently and consistently.
EP: Who are your musical inspirations?
KN: I often say Dolly Parton, but more so in terms of her wit and warmth! She’s got her head screwed on the right way business wise, yet has an ability to make people melt with her open and bright personality. It’s very inspiring! Musically, my main inspiration is Ray LaMontagne – which isn’t probably an expected one. I think it’s his ability to come up with the most beautiful yet unexpected chord changes. Oh, and sixties songwriter Melanie – she’s unexpected too.
EP: Who would be your dream collaboration, living or dead?
KN: Dolly Parton of course. I could write a list of many artists I’d collaborate with though, but I don’t know where to start!
EP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
KN: Doing this full-time (songwriting, performing and making music videos!) while running my online community and expanding it at a wider scale – Busy Bee. I set it up to appreciate likeminded unsigned and self-sufficient artists who work hard to create a buzz around their music! Check it out www.thebusybeegroup.co.uk
EP: What songs would people be surprised to hear are in your music collection?
KN: Oh dear, people would be very surprised. I could listen to anything really – it could actually go from John Mayer to Green Day or Queen to The Carpenters. It’s such a complex answer that it now becomes a generic one haha!
EP: What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wish they had?
Erm… do you like to perform other styles of music?
Well! Essentially Pop, funny you asked, I started out doing a bit of musical theatre (I’m fairly dramatic!) and would love to do more of that again. 😉