Katie Kittermaster articulates the melancholy of young adulthood with a unique warmth, wit and clarity. On her 2019 EP Coming Home At Dawn, she parcels up her songwriting craft in the humblest of sonic spaces, leaning predominantly on guitar and voice.
Opening for the likes of Jools Holland, Olly Murs and Ronan Keating and touring with Lucy Spraggan, and Boyzlife (Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy) over the course of the past two years has made it abundantly clear for Katie that crowds really homed in on her honest, conversational songs. As her words were sung back to her manifold, she was compelled to explore the potential of her music a little deeper.
New single ‘One Of A Kind’ introduces a more condensed, pop-focused direction for Katie, without sacrificing the down-to-earth magnetism that marked her previous material. The song holds the looking glass under a long-term relationship in your teens and the quandary of knowing you need to let go.
“It’s something a lot of people can hopefully relate to”, Katie comments. “Because there are so many songs about being heartbroken, but the other side of the break-up is rarely spoken about. For me, song-writing is almost like writing a journal and sometimes it takes writing a song to work out how I am feeling. Writing ‘One of a Kind’ made me realise that the shoe being on the other foot can be equally as upsetting, as you never want to hurt somebody that you care about.”
Katie reveals that the coming material she’ll release will not only explore different types of relationships but expand sonically into the realms of floor-filling, widescreen pop. ‘She Should Be Here’ is essentially written as a spiritual successor to ‘You Needed Me’ off her previous EP, written from an individual with slightly more miles on her soul. “It’s about being on a night out with my friends, trying to have a good time but being unable to escape the constant memories of a friend who should be there with me; someone who wasn’t part of my life for a while.”
Homing in on specific situations like waiting for the taxi and going to the kebab shop creates a vivid image and one that many will be able to relate to. Sonically, the song is heavily inspired by Robyn, combining a supple dance floor sensibility with wistful lyrics. Katie even makes a cheeky reference to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s iconic hit ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’.
All in all, in her new songs, Katie Kittermaster dares herself to ask the harder questions, albeit juxtaposing them with the immediacy of contemporary pop. This alliance helped expand her vocabulary to bright new levels. ‘The Problem’ marks this stylistic shift most cogently. “It was the night before I was flying to LA for a writing session and I was feeling the pressure of working with seasoned writers and hit makers.” Katie channeled all that nervous energy to pen ‘The Problem’. “I think I’ve become a worrier this year. With more pressure put on you or you put on yourself, you feel a responsibility to deliver. There are obviously things in everyone’s life that go wrong: friendships that fall apart, relationships that don’t turn out the way you wanted them to. “The Problem’ is a reflection on these sorts of things that happen when you grow up; ‘What if I was the problem? What if this is all my fault?'”
Instead of spiraling down in resignation, the song bursts at the seams with vigor. “Sonically, ‘The Problem’ is very upbeat. I think the song personifies who I am; I am perceived as lively, chatty and bubbly but there is a lot more beneath the surface. On the first listen, that’s probably what ‘The Problem’ sounds like, but if you listen a bit deeper you’ll realise there is more to this song.