1883 Magazine

Known for her extraordinary voice we speak to Darlington born, London based singer Katie Coleman. After her breakthrough appereance on X Factor 2015 she has been away in the studio focusing on writing and recording her new material and we are excited to have the premiere of her new track ’Illusion’ here on 1883.

We met up Katie at the Artist Residence Hotel to hear more about ‘Illusion’, her recent show at Birthdays in Dalston and her love for warming up in bathrooms

So you new track ‘Illusion’ is out today, what is the song about?

Well for a while, I’ve had a bad string of relationships (as every artist does and that’s what they write about) and illusion just sums up my relationships with boyfriends and friends, it’s basically about deceit really and somebody playing you without you realising it. The whole song and the lyrics are a play on a magicians show, an illusionist and you being under their spell, not realising that this person is lying to you and you’re happy going along with the situation, that’s pretty much what it’s about, any situation and anyone who’s going through something where you don’t realise that person is lying to you. So yeah, that’s basically what it’s about.

And what was your favourite part in creative process?

Obviously the writing process is amazing, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing writers through the whole of this new body of work that I’ve done. But for me it’s when the production and the music comes together and you see all of your ideas and have so much creative control, I control everything because I wouldn’t be an artist otherwise! I think it’s the finished product like when the track is finally mastered. But yeah, I think each part of the process, the writing, production and the mastering is all exciting in itself, but the end product is the best feeling in the world.

I guess there’s something lovely about having a final piece after so much work, something that you can share with everyone.

Yeah definitely, and it’s taken a long time to get to this position!

So how long have you been working on Illusion?

Illusion itself is a part of 8 songs that I have, a big body of work that I’ve been locked in the studio writing. I’ve been kind of evolving and growing up writing songs about things that are real to me and Illusion is one of the most recent pieces I’ve written. A lot of the songs that I’ve got are from 2-3 years ago that I’ve realised are still really good and need to be in my repertoire for the moment. But with Illusion I wrote a year ago, so it takes time. During the production I worked with a guy called Toby Scott who works with Xenomania, he’s just been so helpful and so open to all of my ideas. That’s probably why it took so long because I was second guessing myself all the time trying to get it right!

I guess you’ve gotta be a perfectionist!

Yeah I think so!

When is Illusion being officially released?

It released today (28th September), available to stream on Soundcloud and on a YouTube official audio and yeah, hopefully people take to it!

So what is your favourite gig you’ve performed and why?

Last week was amazing, I had my first gig of the year and it went down a storm, plus it was also my first gig with all of my new songs.

And this was at Birthdays?

Yeah it was at Birthdays in Dalston. It was going wrong in my sound check and I was panicking already because obviously it’s my new material and I’m thinking are people going to like it? What are they gonna think? But yeah a shit sound check and shit rehearsal led to an amazing show! Yeah that gig has definitely been my highlight because it was the first chance everyone got to hear my new material.

You’re known for your extremely powerful and controlled voice, what is your general vocal warm up routine?

To be honest, I should have more of a warm up. I just make sure that I sing the set over and over again. I also like to sing really big gospel songs on my own in the bathroom! I really should have more of a structure!

Well whatever it is you’re doing seems to be working!

Yeah, I just sing songs that challenge me to warm up.

Which artists/ albums would you cite as your biggest influences?

When I was younger and first started to realise how much I loved music, that came from listening to my dads album collection or his old songs, so it was a lot of soul divas like Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin. I grew up with Soul and Blues and when I was around 10/11 I got into big diva singers, I loved Christina Aguilera, her ‘Stripped’ album was a huge influence on me when I was younger, I also love Beyoncé and Jessie J. I’ve just kind of evolved really, I listen to everything, I think that as an artist you have to because that’s where you get your inspiration from. I also absolutely love Anne Marie who is currently fresh on the scene.

I guess you have to listen to a variety of stuff to discover your own sound.

Yeah, when I was younger I was a proper soul girl, but you know, you grow up and develop as an artist and a writer and end up with what your latest material is.

So when did you first discover that you had a passion for writing music?

I wrote my first song at 9 years old, it was about my big brother, he was being a terrible teenager at the time and I didn’t get it. I was watching what my brother was putting my mum and dad through at the time and yeah; I ended up writing a song about that. It was weird because I didn’t want to show it to anybody and I didn’t want to play it to my mum, then all of a sudden I was playing it on my own at 9 years old! Looking back now the song is absolutely terrible! It’s so babyish. But at the time, I realised that when I’m feeling a certain type of way I can put it down on paper and sing it or write it on the guitar. But yeah I was 9 years old, and from then on I just kind of kept at it! It became something that I always did; it became normal.

What is the music scene like in your hometown of Darlington?

Yeah, my hometown is small and everybody knows everyone. There isn’t much of a music scene in Darlington itself but I think the people growing up there had an influence on me, the situations I was in; having a hard time at school and being the alien person that wanted to play music and sing; I was always the outcast but for reasons I didn’t understand, but that was the best thing that could’ve happened to me because I wrote about it at home. So the music scene’s not that great but the place has given me so many different experiences. Growing up in Darlington was lovely because all of my family are from there, all my mums’ side of the family, so yeah; it influences you in different ways I think.

You were born into a musical family, what is your earliest memory of music being a passion of yours?

I’ve got really musical parents. My Dad actually taught me to play the guitar and my mum was a really big powerhouse singer; it’s on my mums’ side of the family that I get my voice from. So my Mum was a singer, my Nana used to sing in pubs and clubs back in her day, she used to tell me about her wigs that she used to put on. Also, her Dad (so my Great Granddad) was a singer I think. So yeah it’s just gone down in generations. Obviously by having a Mum that sings and a Dad that plays guitar and was a model/still is a model to this day, it meant that at Christmas’ and New Years or with any excuse for a celebration, we’d get the guitars, the bongo drums and the tambourines out and we’d all just have massive parties. I think I was 12 when my mum was like ‘you will sing for everyone at this party or you’re going to bed’, so I used to get my guitar out and sing my little shitty songs to everybody.

What is your song writing process, do you start with lyrics or music?

It’s a combination of everything I think, sometimes it can be a lyric or a situation that sparks one line and then I can put it to music or a melody. But for me it comes from sitting on the guitar, playing the guitar and getting a melody, I think a melody and a chord progression first and then some random lyrics come and then you start thinking about how things relate to certain situations, all of a sudden it comes together.

So finally, what should we expect from you in the future? What’s next for Katie Coleman?

The plans are to get my new stuff out there; I’d love for people to really take to what I’ve been doing and get people listening to my songs. I’ve got a gig coming up with 1883 Magazine actually on the 23rd of November at Cargo, so that’d be my second gig this year performing my new material so that is going to be an exciting one. So yeah it’s just the key gigs, which benefit the new stuff and get me out there! That’s all I want, just people to hear my shit!

It’s been such a long process that I’m itching now, I feel ready, ready to get out there!


Katie’s new track ’Illusion’ is out now and you can check it out below. For all of her latest news head to www.katiecolemanofficial.com

Words by Will Hawkins

Photography Carlo Zambon

Fashion Jon Revell

Hair and make up Chantelle Phillips

Shot at Artist Residence Hotel, London

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