We had a chat with touring Queensland singer/songwriter Kate Leahy about music, videos and how touring is going. Here is what she had to say…
First up, who is Kate Leahy and how would you describe the sound of your music?
Man… straight in with the tricky questions! I guess I’m a QLDer who is obsessed with travelling, foreign languages, baking, and spending time on my beach with my dog. And my music… Well it’s got soul. There’s an acoustic, rough around the edges feel, and a real connection with the stories I tell.
Where was your first ever live show?
First ever? When I was 16 I lied to my parents one Friday night, and told them I was off to stay at a friend’s house, when really I was performing at a big charity concert. I’m not sure why, but it took me a while to tell my family about my love of music. I was totally found out though… in the audience of the concert was a teacher from school who blew my cover! Probably a good thing!
What does your record collection look like? What are the albums you have always listened to, and the ones that never get old?
It’s a total mish mash of sounds. From Blues in the 50’s to Brazillian collections and some French pop songs. Some of the tracks I never get tired of? There are so many. Right now I’m listening to ‘Rich Girl’ by Hall and Oates, and Ann Cole’s ‘I got my mojo working’ is gold!
You mentioned that somebody in Germany threw male underwear on stage at you. Is that the craziest moment that has happened when you’re on stage, or have there been others?
Yes not the one pair… a whole group of guys threw underwear… 5 pairs in all and one of them landed on my shoulder. I thought it was hysterical and literally couldn’t sing for laughing so much. My band had to just keep playing the same chords until I could start again (which was a good while later). I’ve had some great moments on stage but that was definitely the craziest!
How do you go about making your music? What is the first thing you do when writing a new song, or does it vary?
It definitely does vary. But generally I’d say I fiddle on my guitar (or piano) just playing and experimenting, until I stumble across a beat and sound that connects with me. Once you’ve got that… the song basically writes itself I think.
Having already released your debut EP ‘The Life Raft’, did your approach to writing and recording ‘Reborn’ differ from the first EP?
Yes. With ‘The Life Raft’ I was with a band at the time, so all of the songs were a group effort. By the time I did ‘Reborn’ I was solo, so it really was just about me spending time with my music and creating something that I loved. Once that was solid, I got a band together and recorded.
Do you have a song that is a particular favourite of ‘Reborn’? Why that song, what is the story behind it?
My favourite song changes depending on my mood. When I heard ‘Lie for you’ for the first time I was stunned. I guess I loved the fact that it really connected with how I felt. It’s a story about the loss of friendship beyond the breakdown of a relationship. Having said that… ‘Reborn’ is my favourite to perform. It’s fun. It’s got a real groove and it’s about wanting to escape the chaos (general life chaos) and just go home.
You are currently on a big tour in support of your second EP ‘Reborn’, is there any gig that you are particularly excited for?
Yes! The tour so far has been amazing. I’ve been on the road for a month travelling through Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunny Coast… but the most exciting show is still to come. In a couple of weeks, I get to support Lanie Lane at the Cairns Festival. I’ve played with a lot of amazing musicians along the way, but I’m a huge fan of Lanie’s, so this will be big!
You released a couple of music videos for songs from your first EP, some stop motion videos that got a lot of attention… do you have any plans to do more videos for ‘Reborn’?
Yes, although I’m not sure I’d got down that same stop motion path again. For ‘The Life Raft’ that video took an entire month of me working in secret (because I wasn’t convinced it would work). Over 100 hours of animating scenes against a wall! It was fun, and turned out great, but I just don’t have the time! I’ve recorded some acoustic videos for songs from ‘Reborn’ which are up on Youtube and the official ‘Reborn’ film clip will be getting made in about 2 weeks time!
In your tour you are also doing ‘Sofa Sessions’ shows. Firstly, how to you get to host a ‘Sofa Session’?
Yeah sofa sessions are great. Really I was just looking for different ways to connect with the audience, and get more people to hear my music. They are very chilled out nights where we all sit around chatting, getting to know everyone, then at some point I’ll pull out my guitar (while sitting on a sofa) and play a few songs. People ask questions sometimes, and there’s a nice conversation that flows, rather than a straight performance. And all people have to do is contact me through my website (www.kateleahy.com)
2012 has seen you take some big steps with the new EP and massive tour, what does 2013 have in stall for Kate Leahy?
Life is really busy right now… true! And it looks like I’ll be filling 2012 up with tours around Australia. From here I head to Cairns then down to Sydney for a week of shows. And I will be heading down to Melbourne before the end of the year too. As for 2013… more of the same I hope. I’ve got some festivals already booked in and hopefully I’ll get some time later in the year to do another recording. I want to get to as many parts of Australia as I can, so I’ll be keeping myself busy that’s for sure!
Be sure to check Kate out at facebook or her website, and be sure to get to her shows!
Aug 24 Cairns Festival supporting Lanie Lane (Tank Arts Centre ) 7pm
Aug 24 Kool Bario Cairns 11.30pm
Aug 27 Kelly’s on King St, Newtown (Sydney) 8pm
Aug 28 Beach Rd Hotel Bondi 8pm
Aug 29 Cat & Fiddle Balmain 8pm
Aug 30 34 South (Bondi) 8pm