An Exclusive Interview With Kat Orlando

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

My latest single “St. So and So”, lyrically is about looking for a hero. It’s about how we desperately need good positive influences, leaders that that have an ounce of decency. The media thinks we all admire bullies and self appointed rulers that push their way into the spotlight. People that do good and have class rarely get the media attention.

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?

I switch methods and process sometimes to see which way flows better. I have been starting with a musical groove that I put together in Garage Band and add a melody then lyrics. Lately I try starting with phrases or titles that lead to verses and choruses, that lead to the melody and then chords. I want the process to lead me instead me leading the process. That seems to lead to more solid compositions with possibilities of full-on
recording and completion. Themes: Lately the emotion has been frustration or just plain observation on today’s events. So I suppose I’m more social commentary lately. I’m trying to be more story-telling. I hope to do more introspective ballads then switch back to dance floor driven fun songs.

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?

It’s not easy to do, but I come from a background where I was taught to write short intros and get to the hook within seconds. But then I listen to my idols and it seems they broke many rules and wrote phenomenal song in spite of not adhering to that formula.

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?

Marketing and being heard above the noise. There is so much content, there are so many songs floating around. There is a technological gap that exists between older audiences that can’t or won’t use streaming services, subscriptions, sites, apps to get the music and the others who abandoned cds a long time ago.

How do your get your music to this demographic?

I’m an older artist. I’d like to think that what I do appeals to the younger crowd.
I see Spotify putting my songs in playlists next to other younger artists, some in more techno or rap genres. Lately they are putting my tunes alongside artists more similar to me. That’s a good thing.

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?

Sometimes I get on a site called Kompoz and contribute to songs with other writers and musicians from all over the world, mostly US and Europe. While I have stumbled across some real cool projects, I prefer the freedom of a collaboration where I can ultimately use the resulting song. Sometimes I can and sometimes I cannot, depending on who owns the original song and their preferences. I do hope to collaborate with my producer more as a
co-writer. He is definitely on the same wave length. I will say that working with others feeds the creativity.

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?

These days technology and social media is the dominate factor. There is still some word of mouth going on.

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?

I always come back to Stevie Wonder. I do listen very closely to Prince, early Beatles for things like structure and building a story and emotion.

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

My fanbase and relationship with them revolves around my live performances, mostly of cover material. As long as live venues that feature an artist’s own material ( and pay reasonably) are few and far between, this is how they perceive me as an artist. I’m always working to make people more aware of my catalogue of songs and make room for some of them at my shows, somehow. My closer circle friends tend to be my followers and vice versa.

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?

When I do a live show that features my music, it is very gratifying to see people react to it. As I mentioned they are few. I’m looking for good touring opportunities, the right agent to make that happen. My shows at the Detroit Music Hall Jazz Cafe were very memorable, when I had Ron Otis on drums back when he was off the road from Aretha Franklin’s tour.

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

I’ve said it before, I hope music consumption gets back to a physical form, complete with art work. I’m probably dreaming, but it’s nice thought. I’m hoping some young music lover, nerd-type kid comes up with something quick. I will say that online music consumption has made it easier of the artist to bypass the record companies as a means to put their music out. What I miss is the big media push needed to be heard above the rest. Once
again, I do appreciate the opportunities like this, to be heard and seen.
Thank you for having me!