Behind ever album there is a story. These stories make the album worth so much more to the artist. For this reason, when a bad review is written it’s hard for the artist to understand, why. In light of this, we have created an interview format that will take the artist through each story that brought them to the completion of the album. The goal is to help bring the artist’s fan closer to the artist and hopefully help to make the fan feel the same as the artist when the album succeeds and or fails. Each question is designed to help bring the fans to understand why.
This Album Walk we speak with our Reverbnation contest winner Catie Waters. Catie has been described as a unique blend of jazz and soul, with rich undertones of R&B and funk grooves. Undoubtedly unique and unwavering in her commitment to her artistic vision, there is an intellect and maturity that penetrates through her music. Appealing to multiple genres, Catie knows exactly who she is as an artist. Dark, enchanting, soulful and haunting, Catie’s original music and lyrics are derived from early life experiences that inspired introspection and accelerated maturity, fostering the gifted mind of a uniquely talented artist. Billie Holiday and Marvin Gaye are among Catie’s first musical idols, with influences also coming from artists such as Amy Winehouse, Jamie Cullum, Erykah Badu, Adele, and Robert Glasper.
So, what the reason why you/the band started writing this album? What album are we talking about?
I felt inspired to create great music. I believe it’s a key element to the creative process. The album is a reflection of everything that had occurred in my life up to that point. I had a lot to say and music is a great way to tell a story.
We are discussing the history of making my debut album, ‘Stone Child.’
What was the first song that was written for this album and did it make the final cut. If it did and or did not make the album please explain why?
The title track, ‘Stone Child,’ was the first song I wrote for this project. It became the face and sound of the album and the song that is most recognized. When I started writing it, it was one of those songs where I knew, this is a song that’s going to change everything. I could feel the energy when my band and I played it together for the first time. The overwhelming positive response we felt from the audience was also magical. This song feels like coming home and I cannot imagine life without writing it.
Tell us about how the first melody for the album was created? What brought the idea? Was it a drum hit, was it a synth? What brought it to your mind?
I was sitting at my piano one afternoon writing the lyrics to ‘Stone Child,’ and the melody came to me. Sometimes I visualize or hear melodies and other times, I will dream a musical composition. I wake up at night and immediately record it so I won’t forget it. I wanted it to have a funk groove with some great horn lines. I sat down with my bandleader, Benjamin Bohorquez, and we worked out the kinks and composed and arranged the title track.
How did the overall concept of the album come about?
I started writing this album in December, 2012. It took me about a year to write all the songs. As I mentioned before, the album is a reflection of my life experiences. I wrote the songs in hopes that my audience could relate to them and give them inspiration to stand up, have a voice, and follow their dreams.
Are there any funny stories from the creation of the album?
I began recording during the winter months. There were days that I drove through rain, sleet, and snow to get to the studio to do the recording. My mom and I would pack sandwiches and snacks for my band to last through sixteen-hour days. The experiences you go through at times like these make you grow closer together. The guys in my band are my family. I truly appreciate each one of them.
What were some of the hardest parts in creating this album, from writing the lyrics to selecting the studio to record?
The most important thing you can do when creating an album is to make sure you give the writing, arranging, recording, and production the time that is needed to produce a great album. Selecting the right producer, studio, and engineer are essential. In order to do it right, it’s not something you can develop overnight. Each detail is important and sometimes waiting to finish and finally be able to release it is the hardest part.
What song means the most and why does it mean the most? What was the story behind the artwork?
I would say, ‘Stone Child’ means the most to me. When I first sat down and began writing, I did not know my sound. I didn’t have a recognizable signature note. I used to think to myself, what kind of performer would I be? What kind of songs would I sing? As I went through the creative process of writing, ‘Stone Child,’ it became very obvious to me. The song created a musical identity for me. It developed a musical space of freedom that I became confident working in.
The album artwork came from a shoot I did at a great abandoned cotton mill. It has a flare for an antique look (something that I love). It was full of old pull levers, pressure gauges and loose boards. It had a lot of history to it. I wanted something that could tell the story of someone losing everything and becoming hardened to survive. I could imagine just by looking at the old cotton mill, the kind of people that might have once been there and the struggles they faced. It created a perfect sense of nostalgia and depth that I was looking for.
How was the first single selected and why was it selected? Did you flip a coin, did management tell you to pick it.
‘Stone Child,’ was selected as my first single as it was the first song written for the album and it was my signature song that began telling the story of my life.
Was there some thought going through your mind when selecting the order each song would play?
Absolutely! We-my producers, management team and I- took great lengths of time trying to create seamless transitions between each song. We shared a vision and wanted the feel to sound effortless and well placed.
What was the first thought when the album was completed and you listen to it all the way through?
We did it! It had been a long year of pouring my heart and soul into it. I am really proud of the finished product.
What were your thoughts when you got the first review?
It’s always a little scary hearing someone else’s opinion of your work, your art. It’s really personal. I felt relieved after hearing the first review. It was a positive experience. It is strange hearing someone else’s perspective on something you spend an enormous amount of time on, but definitely worthwhile. It is a great testament to the work done in creating the album.
Did you accomplish what you set out to do with this album? And what was the goal of this album?
Yes, I feel like I accomplished my goals with this album. I wanted to make music that sounds good and most of all that says something to the world that matters to me. It’s important that we write, speak, and sing about issues that effect our world and inspire people to make a change. Whatever that may be to you…being an amazing friend to someone, empowering one another, and helping those around us.