Five Questions With Kate Stevens

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Moerman

At 18-years-old, Calgary’s own Kate Stevens has already released her debut EP, Handmade Rumours in 2017 and now she has released her new single, “it’s real”. You can check out the single below and find out more about this talented young artist in our newest segment of Five Questions With.

Introduce yourself to our readers.

“I live for music and music is my life.”

Born and raised in Calgary, I have immersed myself in music during my 18 years on this wonderful planet.  Becoming an emerging singer-songwriter and entrepreneur, while feeling enthusiastic about young adulthood, has given me so much to look forward to.

I love performing and remember tap dancing and singing at a talent show with a huge audience when I was just 2 years old – it felt so comfortable, just as if I was at home. Growing up, there was always music playing in our house. Although my mother is not a musician, she would play a variety of music styles on the stereo; anything from classical to blues to pop. I think I learned to love and appreciate Jazz because of my grandmother. When spending time at her house, there was always a steady supply of great Jazz beats playing. I was scavenging through a garage sale once at the age of twelve when I found an old Ukulele. That Ukulele has been the ultimate catalyst for my musical songwriting journey. I have fully dedicated myself, for the past 6 years, to working on my initially set musical goals – writing and recording my songs. I released my debut EP, Handmade Rumours in June 2017, and I have just launched my newest single, “it’s real” in March 2018. I have another single coming out by early June of this year. It is a true summertime bop.

I have been performing music with intention and a serious mindset since I was 10 and realized, there aren’t many opportunities for youth performers in Calgary. This realization provided the incentive to start YOMOMMA (Youth Musicians of Music Mile Alliance).  I am the founder and artistic director of YOMOMMA, a not-for-profit organization focusing on connection, mentorship and performance opportunities for young, aspiring musicians. We have collaborated with the iconic Calgary music institution the Blues Can, creating Blues’cool, monthly sessions for young musicians, as well as hosting the youth singer-songwriter night at Calgary’s trendy Gravity Café and a Youth Open Stage night at the Inglewood venue Without Papers Pizza. Striving to ensure youth have more performance opportunities within the community, I am always searching for different openings for youth. Last spring, I was appointed to the National Youth4Music Advisory Council; a nationwide youth network collaborating with the common goal of advocating for the importance of music in our schools, communities, and lives. Currently, the NY4MAC is organizing a National Summit on April 14th and YOMOMMA is hosting the Calgary Hub. YOMOMMA is also involved with Music Monday on May 7th down at the National Music Centre.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My musical style and sound is an eclectic mix of emotive folk and soulful jazzy pop, with major influences from timeless voices such as Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Joni Mitchell. I like to describe my blended genre as “if Amy Winehouse and Carole King had a lovechild”.

I draw inspiration from various styles of jazz, blues, pop, and many life experiences. When creating songs, I learn and grow during that process. It is such a positive way to deal with all that life throws at you; good or bad. I am deeply touched and continuously inspired when people tell me, that they too have connected with one of my songs. It is incredible to have people thank me for expressing their feelings in my musical work – ultimately it is all about connection for me.

I love to share my energy and music while engaging with the audience, and I thrive on the varied connections taking place with the concertgoers. My goal when I perform is to touch each person, either through my lyrics or my melodies or both. I feel true happiness and content when I sing and get to share my passion. Every interaction that I have with fellow artists and the many audiences gives me further incentive to keep traveling on this amazing musical journey.

Do you have any shows coming up? For someone who has yet to see you how would you describe your live performance?

I have a few shows coming up in Calgary, which I am tremendously excited about.

I am honored to have been asked to support David Beckingham on May 1st  for Gateway at SAIT in Calgary.

I will be performing with the Springbank Big Band on April 15, 2018, at Junction Stage Food Bar in Calgary. It is a brunch event and I will be singing a variety of Jazz standards.

On April 29, 2018, the Kate Stevens Jazz Trio is be performing for the United Nations International Jazz Day. Details to follow and can be found on Kate Stevens Facebook page.

I continue hosting monthly YOMOMMA events; on the 2nd Monday of each month, YOMOMMA Open Youth Stage at Without Papers Pizza takes place and the 2nd Thursday of each month we have the Youth Singer Songwriter Circle at Gravity Café scheduled.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Without a doubt it is my new single “it’s real”. Although I love all my songs on my debut EP, Handmade Rumours, I am incredibly proud of this newly released song, as I am sharing an emotional truth that is pure and raw and worthy of this heartfelt melody; an endeavor I have never sought out before. Unlike other songs, I wrote this piece on the piano, which is a departure from my usual writing on the ukulele. The lyrics blend with the piano and guitar to give it a dreamy vibe that I think the readers/listeners will really enjoy. I feel it showcases my love of Jazz, yet has an approachable pop sound. “it’s real” tells the story of a relationship slowly declining where both individuals try and grasp on to every last part of it, begging the other to tell them it’s real. It feels intense every time I perform this song; emotions are raw and at the surface.

Who are your current favourite Canadian bands/artists?

Canada has an enormous amount of musical talent. My fave Canadian artists: I am absolutely in love with Andy Shauf, his writing, his melodies both create a newly found appreciation of folk music for me. They seem effortless and timeless Daniel Caesar’s way of melting R&B with mainstream music to make it accessible for every demographic is iconic. Bahamas are my go to when I need a pick me up; the song of choice is “Show me Naomi” such a bop. Robi Botos, (Hungarian/Canadian) is a phenomenal pianist and he puts on a killer live performance every time.

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