Kate Graves: An Inspiration in Music and in Life
Welcome Kate Graves. An amazing singer-songwriter whose passion for music has lifted her spirits and allowed her to find solace, peace, and creativity in this world. Her music is touching and inspiring, and with her album coming out this summer, she’s definitely looking forward to the world’s hearing what she has to offer. We can’t wait for her performance at our benefit concert, Requisition (February 23rd), and for young girls to be inspired by her talent, lyrics, and creativity. Enjoy our interview
GR: How old were you when you first started to sing/to play music?
KG: I learned to sing in a tiny classroom at the santa barbara middle school, with fifteen other kids gathered around Maureen Hazard’s piano. We sang everything from old Irish ballads to burning down the house by David Byrne. Maureen’s passion for singing and playing her heart out was contagious and we all stood around and just sang our little hearts out alongside her.
GR: What has inspired you to become a musician?
KG: I wrote a couple songs in that time period and I loved it. But I became distracted with the darker roads of life that included depression and drug use. I fell away from my creative side for quite some time. It returned to me in my early twenties.
I was lugging around a broken little heart after a bad breakup. My sister was writing songs at the time and dragged me along to a songwriter’s conference on the St. Vrain river in Lyons, Colorado.
I sat by the river alone for the first two days and cried. On the third day I went to a workshop with Paul Reisler who asked participants to pair up with another person in class. We were asked to tell one another a story and then charged with writing a song using other person’s story as a base to dig into writing. The exercise forced me to get out of my own head and listen to someone else. I wrote a song and shared it with my workshop partner who cried and recorded it. I realized I could take pain/sorrow/suffering and make beautiful and healing work with it. The songwriting took. I haven’t stopped since.
GR: Who do you aspire to be or any musician that you really feel connected to?
KG: I love people like Aimee Mann. I enjoy songwriters who can get into characters and write like fiction writers. I like it when a songwriter takes me into a scene and makes me empathetic to the character in the work just like good prose does. I don’t want to be sympathetic … I want to empathize with. Empathy, meaning “to suffer with.” By giving me the details of a characters surroundings, thoughts, and fears, I get to “suffer with” or “triumph with” the character in the song. It’s beautiful and cathartic.
GR: Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
KG: I love turning to other people’s writing to get inspired. I recently wrote a song “Golden Girl” after reading through letters from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his wife Zelda as she was struggling with a decline into mental illness. They loved each other so thoroughly while experiencing intense struggle. It’s my favorite piece among my works right now…probably because it’s one of my more complex stories.
GR: Besides music, what else do you enjoy?
KG: I like to cook. I also ove to spend time with my sweet husband and our three dogs. I like entertaining in small groups. Oh, and I love reading and discussing and debating media related theory.
GR: What has been your biggest challenge as a musician?
KG: Battling my “ego”… Not listening to the voices of despondency or grandeur. Despondancy yells “you’re never gonna be good enough. just give up now.” Grandeur wastes my precious time by saying “What monologue are you gonna do when you get on Ellen?”
GR: What’s your favorite song on the radio right now?
KG: It’s not on mainstream radio but I’ve been listening to Anais Mitchell’s tune “Young Man in America” on repeat for weeks.
NPR voted her record one of the 10 best folk/Americana albums for 2012
You can read the blog and hear the song at:
GR: Who’s your guilty pleasure artist you just can’t get enough of?
KG: I signed up for Massage Envy about 5 months ago so I could get a monthly massage at 50 bucks a pop. They get you though, because after you pay your 50 you can go in for 39 bucks on the second massage… which sounds cheap right!? Let’s just say I’m weaning myself back to one a month. Slowly weaning.
GR: What’s one musical goal you would like to accomplish in your lifetime?
KG: I’d love to have Daniel Lanois produce a record for me.
GR: What can we expect from you in the near future?
KG: Well, I’m putting out an album this summer on Spectra Records. It’s called “Long Night” and I’m really proud of it, so I’m looking forward to getting it out there to the world.
GR: Where can we listen to your music?
KG: You can hear two tracks from the record on my website at:
GR: How can we get in contact with you?
KG: Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
GR: What motivated you to be a part of Girls Rock SB!?
KG: I’ve known Jen since we were teenagers at a summer camp up in the high desert. She’s always advocated and promoted musical advancement for a number of artists. Now she’s taken those promotion/advocating skills, working them into this incredible organization for young women.
I know from my own experiences that tapping into one’s creativity has the power to change one’s life dramatically. It saved mine. And how cool is it. Girls Rock will bring people together to fire up creativity, support one another and make music. It’s rad.