Upon first listen of Katey Brooks’ newest single, “Never Gonna Let Her Go”, I was instantly captivated by her raw passion for song and her ability to share this so extensively with her listeners. Brooks’ career is intercontinental, collaborative and fueled by not only her love for music, but the winding, but sometimes painful, path her life has taken. I had the absolute pleasure of having Brooks answer some of my questions. Read all about it below.
MFL: You said that a “couple of years ago I just thought screw it; I want to sing completely honestly. It felt like a weight lifted.” What were the events leading up to this moment and do you look back on it with a sigh of relief?
Katey Brooks (KB): I think moving to London really helped. London is so intensely diverse and so vast that you feel a sense of anonymity, and a safety to be you. And then I met and fell in love with someone a lot younger than me who just wasn’t phased or afraid by it at all – I was inspired by that. Slowly but surely, my fears fell away. I think yes, it’s been a massive sigh of relief. I’m very grateful I can be out and free.
MFL: How did you find music amidst your chaotic upbringing in the cult and when did you realize music was something you could count on?
KB: There was music everywhere when I was growing up. Both of my parents were huge music fans – my father previously a singer-songwriter, and my mother a dance teacher in later life. I was fascinated with songs, artists, instruments, singing, you name it, from a young age, and I was always encouraged to pursue those fascinations. I don’t think I realized just how much of a saving grace music was to me until I started songwriting properly when I was sixteen. Then the penny dropped, and I haven’t stopped since.
MFL: Tell me about the EP, I Shall Be Released, that you recorded with Tom Moriarty. How did you two come together and what was that recording experience like? Your voices are truly stunning together.
KB: Thank you! One night we both played a show together in Bristol, my hometown. I had started covering Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released”, and I asked him if he fancied doing a duet with me. He happily agreed and we had about 5 minutes to rehearse before performing it. It went down a storm and we both loved it, and so afterwards we said, “Hey, why not make an EP!” 3 years later we followed through haha. We recorded it with the wonderful Tristan Longworth in London. He produced it so my job was super easy, I just came in and sung! We had fun, I love Tom he’s a lovely and talented man.
MFL: Is there a particular audience you want to reach the most with your music? If so, who/what is that audience?
KB: Not especially, no, just anyone who connects. But if I had to choose, someone who felt a strong need for connection in their life, and someone who would take some peace, catharsis and or solace from the music and the words.
MFL: Some of your music has a powerful gospel sound to it. Where does this sound come from for you personally and how does singing music with gospel undertones make you feel compared to music that has a more folk undertone?
KB: That’s such a great question and not one I’ve been asked before. My mum played a lot of gospel or gospel-esque music when I was growing up and we’d go to concerts and singing workshops. We loved it. There’s something so raw about it, I can’t help but be moved. I’m not religious, but singing to something bigger than me (for me I guess it’s universal love) is beautifully powerful and moving. I feel that singing my folky songs too though. Anything feels good if I mean it.
MFL: Your new record is under construction! Do you have an album title or a taste of a story line you can share with us?
KB: I do!! Oh go on then… 😉 It’s going to be called Revolute
MFL: When you are not writing, recording or performing, what are you doing?
KB: Eating pizza, drinking red wine, hanging out and laughing (as much as I can) with friends, watching movies (Netflix addict) and making plans to go climbing and never getting round to it.
MFL: Where are some of your favorite places you’ve lived and how do you think they’ve influenced your music?
KB: Wales. I just love Wales. It feels like my adult homeland these days. My folks have a house in the countryside and I based myself over there for a while during long periods of touring. It’s so peaceful and picturesque in parts. The people are also lovely. I think the peace and scenery really help my writing.
MFL: Besides the release of your new record, what does 2019 hold for you as a musician?
KB: Some special shows in some beautiful venues, more writing, and I’m going to start other side projects I’ve been meaning to start for years! Very excited about that.
Featured Image PC: Johnny Morgan