Interview: Katelyn Benton


Katelyn Benton

Interview: Katelyn Benton
Text: Andrew Dex


1. Who is answering the questions?
Katelyn Benton

2. What do you want your latest release to do for the representation of your band/project?
My hope is to simply reach more people, and that the music I’m releasing connects with people who it might move. Music has a tremendous healing quality, I know I’ve felt the salve of the perfect song at the perfect moment, and I hope I can do that for other people.

3. How would you say that the sound of your band/project has changed since you first started out?
When I first started out I was just a kid who liked to sing and play piano – and I guess that’s still true, but now I have the privilege of working with so many other amazing musicians and producers. My sound now is so much richer, more developed, even cinematic in nature.

4. Touring wise, what are you up to this year, and how excited are you to have live shows back?
I’m thrilled that venues have opened up back in Los Angeles. I’m planning to stay in LA and play some of the newer spots, and return to some of my pre-pandemic haunts. If the venue has a real piano, I’m coming for it!

5. Can you tell us your best memory from a live show/or day on the road?
When I was growing up I had a mentor named John Magnie. He was a member of a well-known New Orleans group called The Subdudes, and when I met him when I was probably 11 or 12. He plays the piano like a maniac and was playing an accordion the night we met, and he put the accordion on me, which nearly made me topple over from the weight. We’d go on to write music together for many years. Several years back we teamed up to do a show, just the two of us, at a spot called Nissi’s in Colorado. We both brought keyboards and performed in a sort of “dueling pianos” style at times. The highlight of the night was we’d worked ourselves up into such a piano jam that we actually switched pianos in the middle of the song, playing throughout. It was kind of a silly trick, really, but sharing the stage with one of my role models and just having a great time with it has really stuck in my memory, and makes me smile every time I think about it.

6. Tough question time. What song do you really look forward to playing live in your set at the moment, and why?
There’s a song I wrote called “Not Enough” that I love to play, because it seems to hit a lot of people. It’s kind of a sad song about the end of a relationship, but it’s also tender. The end of a relationship is a really tricky time for people, and I think the song gives an honest voice to that, while also sweetening the bitterness of a breakup with a mutual kindness. I think we’ve all been there, and I enjoy playing songs that hit the heart of as many people as possible.

7. How does a song normally come together for the band/project?
I’d say a song develops twice. The first time when I’m writing it and feel the satisfaction of having a new idea and bringing forth. The second time is when I’m working with a trusted producer who integrates their own vision. It’s heart-stopping when you hear someone add to your work in a way that makes you fall in love with it all over again.

8. What themes & inspirations really influence your music?
I grew up studying classical piano, and still do today, and I know that there are shadows of some of my favourite composers (Debussy, Chopin) in my music. I also grew up loving Disney movies and folk, and singer songwriters. There’s a heavy emphasis on story telling in my music that I’ve actually tamed down over the years to move more into a popular genre, but story and lyrics have remained very important to me.

9. What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your band/project?
I think listeners will find a singer/songwriter that’s a little off the beaten path, a little genre-bendy, but memorable. But I hope listeners take away a part of themselves!

10. What else can we expect to see from your band/project in 2022, and what do you really hope to accomplish?
I’ll be performing in Los Angeles and releasing more music this year. My ultimate dream is to be writing music for movies/film musicals similar to Lala Land, Star is Born, and the likes.