13 year old singer/songwriter Kaatii just released her debut single “Swept Up” and surprises with strong, unique vocals and a high energy indie rock tune!
We talked to the Dallas based newcomer about her inspirations and aspirations and gained an insight into her songwriting/artist journey.
Kaatii, congrats on your first release ! Your single “Swept up” is a powerful indie rock song, that centers around feeling overwhelmed by teenage tantrums. You wrote it with Kara Connolly. What is the story behind it and what does the song mean to you?
The story behind Swept Up is that I was at a school outing and a girl in my grade, that I don’t talk to much, walked up to me and started going on about some drama she was involved in – I felt so oblivious to it all. I used writing this song as a way to vent about the trivial problems that seem to take up most teenager’s daily lives, when in reality they often don’t matter at all. In light of current issues, this song helps point out how we need to focus on what really matters.
You are still very young, but that doesn´t show in your songwriting and singing at all! Tell us, when did you start making music and what inspired you to write your own music?
I started taking guitar lessons when I was 7 after falling in love with a guitar on a family vacation and then started voice lessons a year or so later. But for me, I feel like I started making music when I was around 10 years old because that is when I wrote my first song. When I started out, I wrote very visual lyrics – I would literally surround myself with nature and look around for inspiration. Now that I have a done a bit more writing, I am able to put my own experiences in my songs, but I still use my surroundings for inspiration. I have always loved music, so when I was little I thought I might as well try to write a song, which kicked off my love for writing (even though the first song wasn’t very good).
You have chosen to work with some high ranked industry professionals on this track. Adam Hawkins, who has worked with Alanis Morrisette and Muse before) has mixed the track, and it was mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, who has worked his magic for Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga and others before). How did the collaboration start and what makes working with these professionals special?
My producer, Eric Dash, was instrumental in initiating these relationships and I was thrilled they were willing to work with a 13 year old artist. Collaborating with them was really cool and we worked as a team and communicated back and forth with edits and changes until we felt it is ready to release.
Tell us a little bit about the production process. How did you manage to communicate ideas effectively? I imagine it is hard to lay out ones ideas, without being an audio engineer yourself. How did you do it?
I always enjoy producing out my songs because I can watch my ideas form into reality. Typically, communicating what I want is not much of an issue, but it’s important to have a producer and a team who are open and willing to hear a young artist’s ideas. It’s not super easy coming up with exactly what I want, but I can try out multiple different things while in studio which makes it much easier. When needed, I also time-stamp specific things in my songs, just to eliminate any miscommunication.
When writing songs, what inspires you usually? Where do you go to find new ideas?
I usually draw inspiration from what happens in my life or the lives of people around me. When I need new ideas for a song, I usually do what I call brain dumping – getting a journal and writing down every thought that comes to mind for a few minutes. I often have ideas like that in my journal to refer to. This helps me get some thoughts on paper that I can use for various different songs.
Who are bands and singers you look up to? Who are your influences and what is it that you love about those acts?
Some of my biggest influences are Beabadoobee, Clairo, Chloe Moriondo, and The 1975. I love how they can all take their personal lives and transform them into relatable songs. I take inspiration from the grungier aspects of Beabadoobee and The 1975, while also incorporating the quirkier, more fun bits from Clario and Chloe.
When writing a song, do you have an overall idea of what it could sound like right away, or does the song create itself during the process?
When I write, my songs usually seem to create themselves while I go. I usually go into a songwriting session with either chords or an idea, but other than that it comes as we write.
You are still very young, and I´m sure you will achieve a lot! What is your goal in music? Do you have a particular dream?
My main goal has always been to help myself and others with my music. I use writing to vent, and if others can listen, relate, and relax it makes me feel great. I want to create music for the rest of my life.
What is your advice to fellow songwriters, that are just getting started?
If you are a songwriter who is just starting, take your time. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly in the beginning – starting a song is always the hardest part. It’s super useful to take inspiration from your favorite artists, so a good place to begin is finding what you like and trying to grow from that. Keep trying, music is art, if you love what you are creating that is what matters!
What is one thing that is a must in a song to catch your attention?
Honestly, I’m a sucker for really cool chords. No matter what, if a song has super sick, unique chords it’ll always catch my attention.
To follow Kaatii online go to:
Thank you so much for this interview and best of success with your release!
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and for supporting my release. It means so much to me that you did!
Follow us on Instagram
Also, check out our Spotify Playlist here
And do not forget to sign up to our monthly Songwriting Newsletter below!