We spoke with alt-country artist Kate Mills about her start in music, her influences, and much more! She has a single that dropped November 8, so be sure to check that out. But first, check out our interview with Kate!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I have been involved with music since I was a kid. I started out doing musical theater when I was 9. That's when I really got the performing bug. But as early as middle school I started writing my own songs. By college I had moved away from musical theater and had joined a band, so I think that’s when I made the official pivot. But I didn’t start my solo career until after I had been living in NYC for about a year or so. It was a pretty gradual path for me to finally be brave enough to pursue music more full-time."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"Sure! It certainly varies from song to song, but I’ve written enough that I’ve noticed some patterns in how I approach it. It usually starts when I get simple idea for a song. It could be a lyric, a title, or just a concept. Usually rooted in something that I’m processing or thinking about in my personal life. I’ll often start some melodic ideas from there. It’s always a bit of a dance between developing the melody and writing the lyrics. But I usually have to sit with most of my ideas before I finish the song. It kind of has to marinate in my brain a bit. It’s very rare I start and finish a song in one shot."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"I have been huge fan of Sara Bareilles for a while. Even though my overall sound is more Americana and folksy than hers, she has been really inspirational to me as a writer, singer and performer. I’ve also been heavily influenced by the songwriters of the ’70s that I grew up listening to. Dan Fogelberg, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"I recently got a small Yamaha MX49 keyboard. Though there is no replacement for 88 weighted keys, especially on an acoustic piano, they aren’t exactly portable. As I began flying for more gigs, I didn't want to keep renting keyboards everywhere I went. So this little one has been really great for traveling and I’m really impressed with the quality of the sounds."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"The vibe is usually a listening environment. My crowds are often made of people who really appreciate lyrics and stories behind the songs. The actual energy in the rooms changes depending on the song. If it’s one of my reflective, more folksy songs, the crowd can enjoy that and find themselves in the message of those songs. But if it’s a good old fashioned rock and roll song, we are all dancing and moving and getting lost in the music and the moment. In a great venue, there are so many things to enjoy! But most importantly, if a venue has great sound and a great sound engineer, that is key. Great sounds can really make or break the show."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"Hmmm. I want them to know 2 things I think. First, I want them to know that for these songs, I really made an album that I would want to listen to. We didn’t try to chase current trends, and make decisions based on what might be the most successful in the current music market. We made decisions based on what we loved. And second, I want them to know that writing and recording these songs are how I help make sense of myself and other people in the world. And my hope is that these songs, particularly this first single “Honest Mistakes,” inspires empathy and connection for listeners. Both for themselves, and for others."
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
"I do! The next single is coming out on November 8th, so stay tuned for that. And then the full album is coming mid-February. It’s been a loonnngg time in the making, so I’m really excited to finally be able to share it with everyone."