We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Grahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
I love making music so much and cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. This of course creates the existential fear of “not making it.” My mom has ingrained the phrase “stay in your own lane” in my head from a young age. Basically she was telling me not to compare myself to other people and to stay true to my authenticity and originality. Although I do my best to follow that mantra, I am in fact a human being and compare myself to other people. Growing up it was more comparisons between bodies, beauty, and brains, but lately I’ve been struggling with the comparison of my success as a musician to other people’s success as musicians. I have friends who are further along in their career than I am and have to sometimes figure out how to balance my genuine joy for their accomplishments with my childlike envy. When I was applying to USC’s popular music program, I remember someone telling me that I shouldn’t go to college for music if I want to be an artist because by the time I graduate I will “be too old.” That poor advice along with continuing to see young artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish blow up at such a young age has made it very hard for me to “stay in my own lane.” A couple of days ago I was scrolling through Tiktok (as one does) and I came upon an SNL clip of Leslie Jones on Weekend Update. In this clip she made the following points: Harrison Ford was a carpenter at 30; Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40; Oprah was fired from her job when she was 23. This advice snapped me back into reality and reminded me that now more than ever, I must stay in my own lane.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
During the pandemic I recorded and released an EP with 6 tracks as well as a music video for one of the songs (“Untangling”). I like to play around with genre but it is primarily rock with a sprinkle of pop. I feel like there is a gap in the female rock world of music that I would love to bridge. There are definitely many incredible female rock artists out there who deserve way more hype. I’ve had a very privileged life in that I went to private school as a kid and then USC’s music program for college. That being said, I’ve had some tough obstacles that have driven a lot of my creative inspiration when it comes to music and songwriting. I was in family court for about five years where my mom was literally fighting for my life. I also was diagnosed with OCD and Tic Disorder when I was eight years old which lead to years of therapy and clinical trials. Any of the trivial parts of my life have just helped me grow as a person and an artist. I had to learn how to articulate my emotions at such a young age that it taught me how to be unapologetically myself which is a huge part of my brand as a musician.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was coming to town, I would take them to the Getty Villa in Malibu and then head to the beach after with a little picnic of wine and cheese (and bread of course). The next day, I would take them to Grand Central Market (specifically encourage them to get the pad thai from the Thai food stand) and then we would go to the Art’s District and check out “The Resident” to have a beer and see if any cool local bands were playing. Finally, on the last day, I would get tickets to Cinespia where we can picnic out in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and watch a movie on a giant screen.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s going to sound a bit cheesy but my mom is absolutely be the person I want to shoutout. She has not only supported my passion for music, but she helped develop it. There was music playing in the house 24/7 ever since I can remember. We sang and danced to music every night whether it was show tunes, Shania Twain, Kenny Logans, or Britney Spears. She saw a performer in me from a young age and she saw how much genuine joy I got from singing that she did everything in her power to encourage that passion.
Although my mom is the person who has been my biggest cheerleader from the start, there have been many people who have affected my music throughout my life. My professors in the pop program at USC gave me the skills and advice so that I could be a confident artist. Professors such as Patrice Rushen, Sean Holt, Jeffrey Allen, Richard Smith, and Chris Sampson to name a few. They have and continue to be excellent mentors when it comes to my career and my life in general.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3uKUYOnOlOpYj7quHnLtFv?si=4tGCAE9TS1GohYnwCzyg2g&nd=1 Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/kate-grahn/632097975 Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kategrahn Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kategrahn?lang=en
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