Monday, November 01, 2010

Musical Monday: Interview with Katie Todd and Giveaway!

Traveling around the internets, I manage to stumble across all kinds of interesting things. One of my favorite things to find is new-to-me music. And a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to come across Katie Todd. What a treat! As a keyboard player and woman, I'm always thrilled to run across other female musicians who rock it out, and Katie does just that.

Lauded by iTunes.com as having one of the “top buzz bands in the country”, Katie claimed a spot as the website’s “Artist of the Week”, earning nearly 300,000 downloads of their single “Face Down”. On her album: Make Some Time For Wasting, Katie’s captivating voice and signature percussive keys-playing are showcased most boldly on her haunting single, “Leave," which tells a tale of woe that has radio and TV programmers hailing it as “one of the most perfect pop songs to come along in quite a while.”

Many of Katie’s songs have been chosen as themes for major motion pictures including: Leave in the soon to be released movie, Chasing the Green, staring Jeremy London; The Polite in The Mini; and In And Around in Other People’s Parties. The National Geographic Channel chose Katie’s song In And Around as the theme song for their ‘Go Green’ campaign. And Larry Smith, author of Six Word Memoirs, chose The Polite as the theme song for his book tour. The video is available for viewing at www.smithmag.net/lovevideo.

After playing to a packed House of Blues, Ravinia and Lollapalooza, Katie returned to the studio and completed her third album, Mumbled Speech, available now. Since the release of Mumbled Speech, Katie has been selected to perform as a part of Lilith Fair 2010 in Chicago, as well as other great shows such as opening for Huey Lewis and the News, Green River Ordinance, O.A.R, and Train. Keeping a very busy national touring schedule, Katie is putting herself and her music out there. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy it!

I had the chance to talk with Katie last week. She was a delight to talk to and I'm so happy to be able to share this with you.

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Big Mama: Who are some of your musical influences?

Katie Todd: I have a lot of musical influences, but right off the bat what comes to my head would be first and foremost The Beatles. Also Jeff Buckley. More recently Fiona Apple and Wilco.

Big Mama: How long have you been playing the piano?

Katie: I started taking classical lessons when I was four. I did that all the way up through high school. But also in high school I started playing with friends of mine and we started to create our own bands and started composing our own original stuff. When I graduated I went to college and was a music major at Lafayette College in Eastern Pennsylvania. It’s a small liberal arts school. It’s about an hour outside of New York City and about an hour outside of Philadelphia, so it was really convenient to be able to go and check out new music of all genres. The predominate major at the school is engineering, and I got a lot more attention from my professors because a music major wasn’t as big at my school as it is at other schools.

Big Mama: You mentioned that you were writing some in high school. Were you doing it seriously at that time, or was there a later time when you started focusing on writing?

Katie: I was always really intrigued by composing of any sort. So when I was taking classical lessons when I was about ten years old I tried to write my own sonata. Which now looking back, it’s hilarious, but I really got into writing from an early age and it’s stuck with me. The thing I like about how I write now is that I’m kind of a big lyrical kind of person, so being able to put words to music is kind of the ultimate fun.

Big Mama: When you’re writing songs, do you tend to come up with a lyric first, or a melody?

Katie: For the most part I’ll have a feeling in mind and I’ll come up with a melody first. I’ll come up with a melody on the piano and once I’ve got the structure of the song and the feeling in mind, then I’ll go back and put lyrics in accordingly.

Big Mama: Where do you get most of your inspiration for a song?

Katie: It’s definitely emotional.  Right now I’m trying to get away from that because I feel like I do it so much. Most of the stuff is about day to day life. About people I meet and the impact they had on me in one way or another. Or not just me, but maybe watching two people interact. My writing is definitely drawn from an emotion that I feel when I see something during the day to day.

Big Mama: Mumbled Speech is your fourth release. What are some ways that you feel that you’ve grown as an artist?

Katie: The first album called Changing Faces, I was really happy with how it turned out, but looking back at it I can tell in the vocals, I was just so nervous in the studio. I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve always had a passion for music, but when you’re in the studio and your recording and it’s costing money, it’s a whole other story. So I’d say now I’m much more relaxed. I still have a long ways to go, but compared to the first album, I feel a whole lot more relaxed and that allows me to open up my mind creatively speaking.

Big Mama: What are you working on right now?

Katie: We’re working on new material right now. We got off of a really nice roller coaster ride from this summer. We got to play some really great shows, like Lillith Fair this past summer in Chicago and got to meet some really amazing artists. We’re at point now where it’s slowed down a little bit, which has allowed us to work on new material. So we’re trying to get new material together as a band. We’re still playing live shows, but we’re focusing a little more on the recording side of things right now.

Just for fun:

Big Mama: What are you reading right now?

Katie: I just started reading Water for Elephants, but I’m only ten pages in! My mom recommended it. I was saying I needed a new book and she said this was a must-read.

Big Mama: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure movie?

Katie: I can tell you my favorite guilty pleasure TV show. I’m embarrassed to watch, but I’m totally addicted to True Blood. It’s terrible! The acting is horrendous, but I find myself watching every single episode, so obviously they’re doing something right for me.

Big Mama: What’s your favorite time of day?

Katie: It depends on the season. If it’s summer and spring, I really like getting up early in the morning before everybody else does and grabbing coffee and sitting outside. But I’m from Chicago so in the winter I would definitely not pick morning at all, I would try to sleep in as late as I could!

Big Mama: Where would you take a friend for lunch?

Katie: There are so many good food choices in Chicago! There’s a place called Oven Grinders in the city, but they only accept cash there. It’s totally mafia owned and it has been for years. There are all of these stories that echo in the place. They serve these pizzas and they flip the pizza over. And they bring this bread out that fills the whole table and everyone kind of nibbles at it at the same time. It’s the most delicious thing ever, not to mention a really cool dining experience as far as the ambiance goes, with the feeling of old-school mafia in the joint.




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Katie Todd has very generously offered a copy of her latest cd Mumbled Speech to one lucky reader! It is really good and I know you'll like it as much as I do! This contest is open to the US only. If you don't want to wait, you can get a copy of the cd here.

Mandatory Entry:
  • Like Katie on Facebook and leave a note on her page saying you're visiting from Big Mama's Blog.
Extra Entries (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Follow Katie on Twitter.
  • Follow my blog publicly on Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow my blog on Networked blogs.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Like Big Mama's Blog on Facebook.
  • Tweet this contest using the following: Win a copy of @katietoddmusic's Mumbled Speech cd from @bigmama247! http://bit.ly/boCwW0 #giveaway #win #music (2x per day at least an hour apart)
  • Blog about this contest. Leave a link in your comment.
Please make sure that I have a way to contact you (if you leave an email in your Disqus comment, I'll have it even though it's not visible to everyone). If I can't contact you, I'll make a different selection. This contest will be open until noon EDT, November 12. I will choose a winner using the Random.org random number generator. I will send an email to the winner who will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another comment. 

Thanks and good luck!

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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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