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Katey Brooks UK Singer/Songwriter

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Now you may think that there’s a surplus of singer/songwriters around at the moment here in the UK, and that’s really no surprise. But look a little closer and you’ll see that many of the most popular  female singer/songwriters actually have a writing team behind them - Jessie J, for example, had no less than six behind one of her major hits. So, there are real singer/songwriters and not-so-real ones. Katey Brooks is one of the former and based on the evidence of her debut album and newer songs is one of the most genuine and best. So here’s a little reminder, including my first interview, 2021 tour, and a new message from Katey.

Hello you lovely people…

I just wanted to pop into your inbox to remind you that my very first show this year is this Friday (!!!) at the very lovely Acorn Theatre in Penzance. If you are down in that neck of the woods then jump over here and get some tickets and I’ll see you there! Between you and me I’m doing a secret house concert down there the following night as well so you could get a Double Brooks Weekend! ;). The recent recordings in Manchester went well and there are three singles in the pipeline with the first one being mixed at the moment, due for release very soon - you will be the first to know when! I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again and hope to see you at one of the shows here - https://theacorn.ticketsolve.com/shows/873612809?mc_cid=794260b4d2&mc_eid=17f988e200. There is a tour of Northern Ireland planned which I’m really excited about as I have to confess to never having been there before.

Kateyx

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Background

Katey Brooks is a rising star of British acoustic music. Singing “splendidly sad-eyed modern spirituals” (Venue magazine) in a rich, deep voice lilting effortlessly across the scale, INDY Music Award finalist Brooks is “on the road to becoming a phenomenon” (Trevor Raggatt, Wears the Trousers magazine).A favourite at UK festivals like Orange Ashton Court and Bath International Music Festival, Brooks has played alongside and worked with the likes of US No.1 Grammy Award nominees Cutting Crew, Beth Rowley, and Patrick Duff (Strangelove), as well as supporting many notable acts including Newton Faulkner, Mercury Award nominee Lou Rhodes (Lamb), The Christians, critically acclaimed American singer-songwriter Joe Purdy, and folk hero Martin Simpson. She has also had the blessing of working with the great Graham Smith (Van Der Graaf Generator, String Driven Thing), who has played live with Katey on many occasions, and features heavily on her second EP ‘True Speaker’, along with her soon-to-be-released debut album.

As well as her growing UK fan-base, Katey has been garnering praise in Europe, and recently headlined the Bordeaux River Festival, in front of an audience of several thousands. She has played sessions on BBC Radio and other regional radio stations, and had airplay on BBC Radio 1’s much coveted Jo Whiley show. In 2007 Katey did a session to over a million listeners worldwide for the online radio chart show Pulse Rated. Following this, two of her songs, True Speaker and Hunger reached No.1 and stayed there for several weeks.

Over the past year Katey has become increasingly involved in music for charity projects, and in September 2009, had the privilege of shooting a music video, and recording vocals at Abbey Road, for the BBC Radio 2 Children in Need single ‘All You Need Is Love’, and ‘Favourite Things’, as part of the CIN album ‘Bandaged Together’. Katey has exclaimed this was a “…surreal and memorable day…” recording alongside Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones) and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) among others.

Katey also features on the release of ‘Beautiful Star: The Songs of Odetta’; a tribute to the late Odetta Holmes, with all profits going to The Fawcett Society (http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk) and The Women’s Resource Centre (http://www.wrc.org.uk) The album features songs from independent artists such as Marissa Nadler, Anais Mitchell, and Ane Brun, and will be released in both the UK and Europe, and the US.

https://kateybrooks.com/shop/

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Interview

Congratulations on your new album, PROOF OF LIFE, it’s great! When and how did your interest in music start?

Thank you! Well, music has always been a huge part of my life, ever since I was a toddler bouncing to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA in my cot!! It’s always moved me; whether it’s to tears of sadness or joy, or just to get up and dance! I remember listening to John Lennon, and Elvis and people like that when I was a little kid, on my tape player, and being fascinated by them, their music, and their stories. In regards to singing; my mum said I sung before I could talk! So I think this was always something I was going to do.

At what point did you feel that you wanted to take up the precarious life of a professional musician, and what support/encouragement did you receive from family and friends (if any)?

I think deep down it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and there were many seeds of inspiration planted when I was growing up, but I didn’t have the confidence or the belief to commit to it until I was about 20/21. Before that I was doing music, but I didn’t really have focus or commitment. It wasn’t until my second gap year when I joined a blues band that something clicked for me. We rehearsed for 9 months and did like 2 gigs, but after the second one, one of my sisters came up to me and said “Kate you have to do this. And you should really do your own songs.” And I got it. I felt it too. I then joined a now friend of mine’s song-writing group, and started writing more and more. I then decided to put on my own gig at Bristol Folk House; which went well, and from that I got a manager, started playing lots, and I’ve been doing this thing ever since! My family and friends were, and continue to be, amazing. I chose to leave my Psychology degree at Sussex 6 months in because I was juggling the two things and it was clear it was the wrong time to be there. I was burning out striving to do well at both things; and not that happy! So I chose music. They were great they just said “go for it, you can go back to uni in 20 years time!” So there it was. Bloody scary, but I’m so glad I made that choice.

Who are your primary influences and why?

So many it’s hard to say… Elvis, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, Joan Armatrading, Annie Lennox….the list goes on! I love so many artists, and feel I’ve been influenced by a wide variety of people. I love artists who sing with passion and emotion, and have quite ‘full-bodied’ voices. I love song-writers whose songs are really authentic, and that really come from the heart and soul. I also love music which makes you wanna move! I’ve often imagined what people might think I listen to when they listen to my music, and if they think perhaps I listen to lots of fairly melancholy music!! I wouldn’t blame them for thinking that!! But I love funk, soul, trip-hop…anything that makes me feel good!

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