Katie Haverly is a singer, songwriter, musician, and performing artist whose music is flooded with raw emotion, dissonant tension, ethereal moodscapes, and gritty sensuality. She is known for her live performances, which meld her musicality and vocal prowess with one singular moment in time. “I never sing anything the same way twice,” Haverly says. “In a performance, I feed off the people who are with me. I’m improvisational and open to the moment, using my voice to find the tones and sounds that need to come out in that time.” The result is authenticity in every song played, every note produced.
Haverly has toured through the United States and Mexico, opening for artists including Jake Shimabukuro and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and has recorded two records with her Tucson-based indie-soul band Copper and Congress. She has also recorded and released three solo records and in December will be releasing her fourth, Aviary.
With Aviary, Haverly is stepping fully and without reservation into what she has to offer as a musician. The album is the cultivation of twenty years of refining her craft and cultivating her voice, and Haverly is writing, producing, and arranging the entire album. She is also honoring her commitment to and appreciation of collaboration by inviting a soundscape of Tucson musicians to play.
The Aviary is a departure from Copper and Congress’ more hip hop and R&B style and a return to the roots of the singer/songwriter tradition. Less heavy rhythm lines. More strings and story. More space for the voice to pour through. “I am focused on the vocals and the story of the song, working with layers of meaning, visually and sonically,” Haverly says. “Steven Lee Tracy, my co-producer, and I have been working to craft it together and envision the album. People don’t often make records like this anymore. We want an album that takes you on a journey.”
The root of these powerful songs is revealed in the album title. “There’s this sensation in a large aviary that there is freedom and movement with the exotic plants and flowers and water and different types of birds. But the fact is: the birds are not free,” Haverly says. “The songs in this album explore how we cut off our own ability to have an expansive life, especially as women. I’m interested in how we allow ourselves to be limited or confined by others’ expectations and assumptions, or too often, by our own.”
Aviary is threaded with a desire for women to be more fully honored and supported in a culture that does not always value them. Some of the songs’ tensions deal with Haverly’s experience and the experience of so many female musicians who have met with obstacles and condescension while pursuing their art. The message is clear: women artists need to be heard. Haverly counts among her inspirations intimate and powerful songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bjork, Laura Marling, Nai Palm, Stevie Nicks, and Erykah Badu. Visionary female artists integrate their power, their divine feminine energy to create powerful, embodied music. Katie Haverly is one of them.
Haverly was inspired to use imagery of peacocks in the album art because these birds don’t ask for permission to take up space. Peacocks come out bold and bright, ready to reveal their beauty to all. “When I perform solo, I work hard to go into a place of total release. It’s been a relief to let myself be myself as an artist,” Haverly says. “I’m always thinking, how do I use my voice and my words and my music to translate into something that makes the listener feel less alone, to feel more connected.”