Campus Celebrity: Catie King

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Looking for some new music? Check out the talented Catie King, a junior Public Relations major from Raleigh, who just released her first music video for her single “Maybe Tonight”!  On YouTube, the video passed 1,600 views in just over a week. With a heavy focus on pop rock, Catie sounds similar to Colbie Caillat with her own rock band as backup. If you like The Fray, John Mayer or Missy Higgins, then you won’t be disappointed by Catie’s music! Check out her thoughts on the music industry, what it’s like to be a student artist and more in her interview below:

HC: When did you first become interested in music?
Catie: Like seemingly everyone else, I grew up taking piano lessons but it didn’t really stick. I switched to guitar at 13 and I was immediately obsessed.  Since I can remember I’ve lived my life to music in the background, and guitar finally granted me the freedom to create my own.  I used it more as a vehicle for songwriting than anything.

HC: How did you go about recording your own album earlier this year?
Catie: I’ve been working with producer Dick Hodgin (Hootie and The Blowfish, Craving Melon, Flat Duo Jets) of Osceola Studios in Raleigh since my freshman year of high school.  He took me under his wing and by 2010 we felt I was ready to put out my first full-length album. We put together a really awesome team of musicians and I think everyone put a piece of themselves into the final product.

HC: You recently just released a video for your song “Maybe Tonight.” Could you explain more about that process and what it was like filming?
Catie: It was such an incredible experience. I’m lucky enough to have really talented friends who were willing to help me put the whole thing together, which is definitely a plus as an independent college musician. We gathered everyone who was willing to participate on my parents’ back deck and told them to have a blast while we filmed the plot around them.  For the most part, I think everyone was able to participate and still have a really fun night.  For me personally, it was an interesting experience trying to take myself seriously while I was being filmed. I’m a pretty big goofball so it took restraint not to joke about how awkward it was singing semi-seductively into a camera, haha!

HC: What are your future places as an artist? Do you plan on pursuing a career in music after graduating?
Catie: I want to chase music as far as it will take me. As long as there’s an audience, I’ll keep playing and singing. I have an incredible family of fans who allow me to do what I’m passionate about and I’m hoping that it continues to grow so that I can continue to pursue this dream. Music has helped me to understand and define my life and my only hope is that my music can in some way do the same for others.

HC: What would you say makes you unique as a singer-songwriter?
Catie: I see a lot of uncharted territory for female singer-songwriters of all genres. I think some people expect female singers to sing happy, dainty, bubbly songs about love and life and do it with this innocent smile on their faces. My songs reflect my experiences, and therefore span the entire emotional spectrum. I’m not scared of being reflective or even somewhat dark; I would even say having a deeper voice makes me better suited for those types of songs.  I think it allows people to find bits and pieces of their own lives in my songs.

HC: Where do you get your inspiration for songwriting? What influences your sound?
Catie: Most of my songs come straight from my life experiences.  I use songwriting as a way to organize my thoughts and understand how I feel. Music paints pictures that words could never depict. It’s a good feeling when you can step away from a song and say, “yeah, that’s what I meant to say.” My sound is influenced by the music to which I listen. It also evolves a lot the more I learn about guitar and music.

HC: Could you explain in detail your songwriting process? Do you write the music before the lyrics, vice versa, or at the same time?
Catie: I usually write the music first. I’ll be playing around on the guitar and I’ll come across a chord progression or guitar lick that I really love. I’ll hum out a melody and start filling it in with words. Getting started is the hard part, after that it’s usually pretty easy to hear where the song wants to go.

HC: What are some of your favorite artists? How does their music influence your own?
Catie: I don’t claim to have very unique musical interests; they’re popular for a reason! I listen to pretty much everything but country. I love artists like The Fray, Anberlin, Matt Wertz, Jason Reeves and Paramore. And I think Jay-Z is the greatest rapper of all time!  Their music influences me during the songwriting process. I think they all have in some way mastered and influenced the way that people clearly communicate messages and feelings through music. Good music can take you places in the matter of seconds, and from them I’m learning how to effectively do that.

HC: What are your thoughts on the struggles in the current music industry? What do you think needs to change? Do you think innovative ideas like Spotify and Pandora are the key to saving it?
Catie: I hate what’s happening to the music industry, but I think I’m getting closer every day to accepting it. It’s a shame that no one will pay for music anymore. The work and heart that goes into a single track is no longer worthy of compensation for the general public. So, the music industry needs to find another way to sustain itself, whether it’s through artist interaction, merchandise, shows or bundled subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.  Pandora and Spotify are great because they provide at least some sustainable model of compensation for artists, but it’s going to take massive amounts of innovation for the crumbling music industry to get back up off of the ground.

HC: As a DIY artist like yourself, how have social media tactics helped you gain more exposure? What websites and tools do you find most useful?
Catie: I would not have anything that resembled a music career if it weren’t for social media.  More than ever, it’s vital for artists to communicate with the public. Facebook is obviously the key platform because it is the one social networking site that really enables artists to communicate most effectively to the widest range of people. I’ve also recently discovered that free email managing sites (I use MailChimp) are AMAZING. They offer really easy to use design and analytic services at no cost! Also, I recently learned an important lesson: music placed on YouTube is much more likely to be played than music by itself. YouTube has become the modern music directory and if you’re not on it, you’re not being heard.

Be sure to check out Catie’s music video for “Maybe Tonight” on YouTube.  Also, to get more information about Catie and her album check out her awesome website.


Catie Playing Guitar (photo): Courtney Navey of Always Autumn Photography
Solo Shot of Catie (photo): Courtney Navey of Always Autumn Photography