Words – Lyz Mancini

Sometimes you meet someone who is very obviously in the beginning or middle of realizing their childhood dreams. It’s generally pretty obvious as evidenced by an established sense of self and a calm and content demeanor mixed with an infectious energy. Pop vocalist Emily Katter is one of these lucky women, and having just released a single and music video with a very real message, it’s obvious her young self would be pretty pleased with her predilection for following her heart. From humble Mariah Carey beginnings and a music teacher who told her to quiet down,  to a coveted Soho art lifestyle and an appreciation for collaboration, Emily is set to take off. Her music would be an excellent soundtrack to follow her for the ride.

What music did you listen to as a little girl?

When I was real little, I used to say that my favorite singer was Bob Dylan because my dad would probably play it all the time. That was when I was 4, but I could probably only name a few Bob Dylan songs, but he hd such a distinct voice. As I started singing around age 7 or 8, I sang a lot of Whitney Houston and I was obsessed with Mariah Carey. She had curly hair like me, and I had a life-size poster of her on my wall. She was what made me want to be a singer.

So then you went on from singing 90s ballads to musical theater?

Well my parents started to enroll me in music theater classes because of something happened in music class in school. We did a concert for your regular music class you go to twice a week, and there was a concert and my music teacher said I was singing too loud. She kind of yelled at me that I was overpowering the other kids. I was embarrassed, but that’s what made my parents realize I could sing so they took that as a positive thing and put me in musical theater on the weekend. I also always sang pop, and that was where my heart was. I was passionate about musical theater too, but not as much. Then in college I studied classically and was in the music industry program. When I came to the city, I went back to pop because I never really wanted to be a classical performer.

Was your goal always to make your way back to pop music professionally?

I always planned on being an artist, and I thought learning the business side was a good thing to have under your belt. I interned and then got a job in the industry doing licensing at a publishing company. It didn’t feel right to work in the industry and try to pursue my career as an artist, it felt conflicting.

That is common, I think, to have that conundrum of either settling somewhere within the realm of your passion, or throwing yourself into it and committing to the hardship?

I did get a lot out of working there, and I developed knowledge about the publishing side of things. I then did day jobs unrelated, so I could do my thing outside of it. It was an interesting experience switching back to pop from classical singing in college. You are so trained to sing one way, like you always have to have vibrato and everything has to be perfect. In pop, it is all different, and so you have to kind of unlearn all of that.

You just released the music video for your newest single titled “Comfortable.” Are you working on an album?

I released an EP over a year ago and I will probably release another single in 2015.

“Comfortable” is a song that I think most people can relate to. That moment in a relationship where you are just kind of examining the possibility that you may not be in love anymore, that you’re just comfortable with each other. Maybe just getting used to a growing healthy relationship where the excitement has waned off. 

A lot of people can relate to it, I think. After the first two years of a relationship you get into habits and when you’re living together you end up feeling like roommates. It can get mundane because you’re going about your day to day life. You question if there is still a spark. It may not even be a question about loving someone, just the butterflies are gone. What can you do to make things exciting again.

Especially if you have a lot of single friends and you’re just hearing about random Tinder adventures, and things like that. 

The song shouldn’t be considered a break up song at all, it’s just about that questioning, and maybe you discover that yes, this is what you want and the relationship grows from that thought process. I think everyone goes through it. You don’t live with someone for 5-10 years and wake up every day the happiest you’ve ever been.

The video has a very unique and ethereal aesthetic, in the woods. Your wardrobe was gorgeous.

It was shot in LA. We were renting a house, so we shot in there. The director Aaron Katter, my brother, had ideas and I had ideas so they came together. The song isn’t about nature but the idea of being comfortable outside and wandering, questioning, lent itself well to the idea behind the song. It’s more of a pensive song, and thought-provoking. I loved the dress I wore, the green with grayer skies.

You have a great personal style; what are you normally drawn to?

I am all over the place, but I would say primarily boho-urban clothing. I love European fashion, and am  also really into kimonos these days. I’m drawn to pops of color. I’ve been really into Topshop lately, Zara, and Anthropologie. Living in Soho can be pretty dangerous for shopping.

Your music video release party was partnered with Musicians On Call, can you tell me about them?

Yes, we actually raised enough money that night to pay for one hospital room for a year to get live music for Musicians on Call. It is an organization that supplies musicians for hospital rooms to play for patients in their rooms. Whenever I do it, it is just so rewarding and it feels so good. People might smile for the first time that day, and you can just tell that they are genuinely appreciative. It’s a huge, great organization.

You can check out Emily Katter’s newest music video “Comfortable” here.

Musicians On Call can be found here. 

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