Interview: Isn’t It Lovely, Katie Costello?
by Brian Willett
Halloween is over, which means Katie Costello can breathe a big sigh of relief – as you’ll see in the Bloginity exclusive interview below, the introspective and immensely talented young singer has a frankly, quite rational fear of zombies. And we’re hoping that after Costello unleashes that sigh, she’ll breathe in deeply to fuel her angelic voice, because we’re taking all we can get of her sound.
Katie Costello has the pipes of your favorite studio-polished pop star, but also boasts an added bonus: an intellectual depth and an eye for insight that translates your world into her poetic, lyrical songs. If you thought you didn’t like poetry, you’ll be surprised how catchy it sounds when Katie Costello sings.
If you’re still not a believer, perhaps Costello’s upcoming album, Lamplight, will convince you, as it has a philosophical and “academic perspective” that feels more like the soundtrack to your biography than a class project. Or maybe The City in Me EP will be more your speed, especially if you’re accustomed to the struggles of finding yourself, and a home, in a new place.
Katie Costello – Isn’t it Lovely
Brian: When did you discover your musical talent was capable of taking you to the next level?
Katie: There was a moment where I felt music was the only thing I could do in order to help myself, help others, and hopefully help perfect strangers. It suddenly didn’t feel like a choice, but like a personal responsibility to myself, because I knew it was the only thing that made me happy (or some version of that feeling). I didn’t realize that I could only do music, as in, without having a day job to support myself. When I landed my first TV placement on 90210 and subsequent placements after that, I was flabbergasted by the fact that it was not only a great opportunity, but it let me sustain myself as a musician only.
Brian: The music world is a crowded one, but writing about the human condition helps set you apart. What else do you think makes you distinctive as an artist?
Katie: I like to think that my music presents a different and fresh perspective – one that regards “who am I and what am I doing to be a good person?” more than love issues. I think more people worry about the former than the latter. I don’t mean to downplay love as worldwide and universally acknowledged concept that people deeply care about, only that it’s difficult to focus on love when you’re trying to figure out yourself. I like to approach songwriting from an academic perspective, in the sense that each song is a project and it’s attempting to say something significant to me and to others. I work on it, I study it, and then I present what I know, or what I think I know. I approach every aspect in that sense, which is why I love making album artwork, taking photos, making music videos, and etc., because it offers a great opportunity to turn “the project” into something tremendous!
Brian: Your music has a poetic and conversational feel. Do any of your songs begin as poems or prose?
Katie: Certainly! Although many songs have started as poems or short story ideas, they more often than not are born from things that I or someone else has actually said in my own life. I feel like the songs sound conversational because a lot of times they started as conversations, or because when I write I like to see what comes out naturally, while also presenting things in a somewhat abstract manner. Often times, I believe poems are more accurate than detailed prose, as poems are injected with a distinct atmosphere and tone.
Brian: You seem to bring a lot of your own personality to your music, but are there any artists or writers you find influential?
Katie: One of my best friends in middle school introduced me to a lot of amazing punk rock, jazz, and rock music. I credit her as one of my main influences, as she sort of jumpstarted by interest in music. The band X is one of my favorite groups ever. Their perspective, lyrics, looks, and musicianship is completely unique and impressive. Fiona Apple’s Tidal completely turned my world upside-down. My first real music-love was definitely The Beatles. They are perfect in every way imaginable. Every few months or so I have an “Existential-Beatles-Freak-Out-Moment” where I cannot believe how good they are.
Brian: Which of your songs is most special to you, and why?
Katie: I think my song “Fading Lately” from my new album Lamplight is the most special to me on a personal level. The song is about losing yourself and disappearing from yourself. When you don’t take the time to love who you are and what you’re doing, you can get utterly lost. I really experienced that feeling and when I picked myself up after that, I learned a lot about how to maintain my own happiness.
Brian: The City In Me has a definite concept of finding a place in the world. Did that project begin with such an intent?
Katie: Yes, definitely! All of the songs on The City In Me EP were written in various stages of my move from Los Angeles to New York, and subsequent journeys to and from various places. Finding a city or a place that you genuinely feel a part of is the most wonderful feeling. I am forever indebted to New York, as I found a very unique part of myself there and because of that, I feel like I can take that part of me wherever I go. But with that being said, I am similarly indebted to everywhere I have been, as every place opens your mind to the fact that places are different, but people are not, and in a good way.
Brian: How did it feel to have your music featured on shows such as One Tree Hill?
Katie: Absolutely incredible! It’s such an honor to hear your music alongside such a popular television show. It’s not only a thrill, but it’s very surreal. I am still in disbelief!
Brian: What has been the most memorable tour experience you’ve had thus far?
Katie: It’s extremely moving when people tell you that your song has helped them get through a difficult moment in their life. Writing music and listening to music is the ultimate catharsis for me, so I couldn’t be more overjoyed to know that it’s having that same effect on someone else’s life.
Brian: Is there anything about you that you don’t normally let your fans know, but for the sake of this interview are willing to spill?
Katie: I am absolutely frightened of Zombies and I hate whomever created that concept. Also, I am equally afraid of frozen foods, excluding frozen desserts.
Brian: What does the future hold for Katie Costello?
Katie: I shall definitely continue to write songs and I hope to collaborate with as many art mediums as possible!