Katie Ferrara’s sound places me in a coffee shop: I’m sipping a house blend and reading the paper in some folksy joint, letting her melodies clear my head. It’s Sunday music; it’s food for the soul. The Los Angeles-native makes “funky, ethereal indie pop.” Loyal to her acoustic guitar, Ferrara waxes spiritual in her lyrics and keeps her production simple.
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Natalie Durkin (TribeLA Magazine): Give yourself and your work a Tagline and tell us why.
Katie Ferrara: Alt indie pop singer songwriter with a funky ethereal flair. Why? Because my music is catchy and hokey, but does not fall into traditional pop production. I play acoustic guitar when I perform live and keep my full band arrangements true to my record. My songs are slightly groovy and rhythmically driven. The ethereal touch to my music comes from the melodies and spiritual topics I like to sing about.
ND: What got you started in music? What is the Reason you are here today?
KF: I started playing music when I was a teenager. I joined my high school choir, picked up the guitar and taught myself how to play. I always wanted an outlet to express myself and I was drawn to music because of the way it made me feel. When I would sing on my own, I felt like I was free to be whomever I wanted to be. I think I continued singing and playing music because I wanted to have that feeling with me all the time. I’ve been doing music for over 10 years, on and off, but I always tell people that what really kick started my music career was when I started street performing and sharing my journey on social media. Now, I am gigging – all the thanks to the support people have given me over the years. I’m here today because I want to share with you my creative process and let you know about my single called “Weightless.”
ND: How do you hope to Influence your audience?
KF: Through my music, I hope to inspire my fans to feel like they can do anything and be who they want to be. I hope to influence my audience to not accept the beliefs that other people have of them and empower them to tap into their own creativity.
ND: What do you do when your creativity is Blocked?
KF: I find new hobbies to dive into or use my free time to relax. I also find other sources of inspiration by going to local shows or taking hikes with friends. I find that if I can’t be creative in music then I can find inspiration in other activities where I’m not focusing my energy on one thing. Distractions and unpredictability help a lot. When I feel blocked, little day trips to the beach or the park help me let go of everything holding me back.
ND: What fires you up and gives you Energy?
KF: Coffee. Really funny comedians like Arron Crascall. Being in front of an attentive crowd of people while I’m performing music. Being around good people in general who are hard working and passionate about what they do. This might sound funny, but TED talks really help me. I also love listening to Tony Robbins or Trent Shelton.
ND: Can you tell us a Little known fact?
KF: I am actually from Los Angeles. No joke. I didn’t move from some small town. I grew up in LA.
ND: Where is your favorite place in Los Angeles and why?
KF: I’m really enjoying Highland Park right now. In the last 5 years, York Blvd has gotten really trendy. There are a ton of food options for vegans such as this ice cream place called Scoops and Doughnut Friend. There’s also an open mic I go to on Tuesday nights at the Highland Park Bowl. I love the relaxing atmosphere. They have vegan pizza and you can sign up for the open mic or go bowling. I love any locations in LA that have great food.
ND: How do you Make music? What’s your creative process?
KF: Sometimes making music can be a grueling process. It’s not pretty. It can be filled with self-doubt or not knowing what to say in the lyrics. Other times, songs can come pouring out within minutes because I have so many feelings and things I want to say!
There are different songwriting techniques I like to use to get the ball rolling. I love to keep melodic ideas stored in my voice memos on my phone. I come up with these as I go about my day – sometimes I’ll be driving or I’ll be listening to music and something I just heard will inspire a new melody. Going to jam sessions helps me come up with cool ideas. I also like to utilize my loop pedal while busking. After I’ve compiled a bunch of melodies, I start writing lyrics and finish the song. Other times, I may start a song with a specific topic in mind or I may have lyrics written down first that need music. It’s much more rare for me to write like this – which is why co-writing sometimes comes in handy. Writing with others brings out different ways of constructing a song.
However, I honestly prefer to write by myself. I think art is born from the observation and investigation of nature and that really requires a lot of self reflection. I think being alone is something that helps me find my voice.
ND: What is coming Up?
KF: I will be releasing a Live at the Hotel Cafe album and my next single in April!
ND: Describe your Style – musically and otherwise.
KF: I would describe my music as alternative indie pop. I used to describe myself as folk/pop songwriter but, since my last EP, my songs have evolved. I still play acoustic guitar on a lot of my tracks, but also feature electric guitar and keys. Most of the songs fall into a traditional pop structure with catchy choruses and hooks. I would also say that my music is pretty honest. I don’t like putting on appearances and creating a character; that’s not who I am. What you see is what you are going to get. I’ve been told by fans that this is what my music reflects and they like that it is authentic.
ND: What is the best advice you’ve received and the best advice you can Impart onto us?
KF: Always challenge yourself to shoot a bit higher than what you think you can. If you want to be on the same bill as a touring artist for example, send the email, reach out to people you don’t know and don’t tell yourself that you aren’t on the same level as someone else.
The best advice I can give to people in the industry is to never give up. It takes a long time to establish yourself as an artist. Most people give up after releasing one or 2 EPs or singles. It takes years and years of trial and error and meeting the right people to be successful. But, most importantly, working hard and knowing what you want to achieve will get you there sooner. Do not focus on fame and making a lot of money because, if you do, you will fail. Focus on creating a sustainable lifestyle that allows you to keep creating.
ND: Any Closing words?
KF: I appreciate all the support people have given me in the past few years with music and I can’t wait to share all the new songs I am releasing this year!
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