Singer-songwriter KATIE MAC’s music isn’t easily categorised. “I used to say it was primarily acoustic coming from a singer-songwriter angle but it isn’t anymore really. Not when we add the band anyway. It can be quite energetic at times and not usually what people are expecting when a girl walks on stage with an acoustic.” And while she casts Laura Marling, Regina Spektor and Joni Mitchell as her biggest influences when she first began writing songs, Katie adds “It changes all the time now. I don’t think you’d necessarily pick up on those things if you watched the band.”
Katie, whose talents have been picked up on by Merseyrail Sound Station and LIMF Academy, grew up in Huyton and attributes a lot of her identity to the Knowsley town. “It’s funny, but I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t grown up in Huyton. You can think of it in the way that I wouldn’t have had the same friends, schools and jobs and those things are the reasons I’ve written a lot of my songs,” she explains before continuing, “I also grew up in a road that was full of other bands, half the dads and uncles played guitar and I remember really clearly that I used to watch people go in and out of the house opposite ours for piano lessons. It was everywhere.”
Drawing from the well of personal experience, Katie explains that all of the songs she has penned so far are about things that have really happened: “Mostly about my family and the people who I have grown up around and the people we have lost. I understand why artists feel the need to try and spread their [political] views and it can be very influential, but I have enough feelings about simple things without having to take inspiration from the nightmares everyone already knows about.”
Case in point, her latest release Into The Wild. “It is entirely about my realisation that life is too short to go to work. I wrote it a few weeks after I quit my job and decided to fully throw myself into making my life what I want it to be. I was bored and I don’t like being told what to do. There is no going back now.” It’s the perfect track to leap into the darkness with, emphatic and set alight by vocals that are uncompromising and stunning in equal measure. The other tracks on her SoundCloud page are of the same high quality, showing off her trademark voice, but are diverse in composition. The rousing Eye To Eye has the lilt of Stiff-era Kirsy MacColl, while Night Time is a slower, more pared-back affair and Drugs And Older Women starts off a slow baroque ballad, before picking up tempo halfway through and veering into a triumphant pop number.
She’s not resting on her laurels though and is eager for more people to hear her work, both recorded and live: “I have a lot more growing to do, many more songs to write and loads more places that I want to gig. It would be ideal if more people began to listen to those songs, giving me more things to write about and, therefore, giving me an excuse to play in great venues I’m not even aware of yet.”
Katie can’t pinpoint exactly what first got her into music – “I just always loved it. I don’t know how or when it started” – but can put her finger on why it’s so important to her. “I think music triggers memories which create really good stories. I remember loads of things simply because of the song that was on. Most of the things I took part in growing up, I was singing or playing. Also, people sing about situations and feelings that they wouldn’t necessarily tell you about, so listening to it can often make you realise that you’re not as mad as you thought and you’re not alone. And it’s a good release.”
Katie Mac plays Sound Basement on 22nd December.