“What kind of music do you do?” is probably the most common question asked of any musician. While some scratch their heads or say, “Everything,” Katey Laurel typically pauses for a second, glances upward, touches her lips as if deep in thought and says, “Folk-pop.”
This nebulous genre has grown from Jewel’s “Pieces of You” days through Norah Jones’ radio heyday to rule primetime television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and modern film soundtracks with tunes by Ingrid Michaelson and Sufjan Stevens. Today, Folk-pop has come to be synonymous with introspective lyricism supported by beautiful melodies and sweeping acoustic or piano-driven production. It is the perfect blend of catchy and intelligent. For Katey, this definition hits the nail straight on the head.
The Denver-based songstress has a degree in music performance on French horn but these days prefers to write and perform on acoustic guitar and piano and play water glasses, tambourines, triangles and trumpet to color her recordings. She is always two steps ahead of her current recording project and is constantly writing new material in genres ranging from Bluegrass to Pop Country. Just ask her co-producer, Paul Andrews (formerly of A&M Records) what the next slated project is, and you may be surprised. With almost one hundred twenty songs in her catalog, Katey is always ready for a new session.
Her free spirit and variety of musical tastes and styles began during her childhood in the ‘80s in a Volkswagen bus, a teepee and a one-room log cabin with Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Emmylou Harris spinning on a record player. “My favorite music is the kind with a good song behind it,” she says. The songs she’s penned have depth of lyricism and an irresistible radio-friendly “hook” that makes them memorable and singable like the tunes she grew up on.
Her debut studio album Upstairs, Downstairs is a collection of just those kind of fabulous, classically good songs. While tapping your foot along to the opening track, “Twentysomething,” you may forget that the song is about loneliness and learning to live life on your own. Similarly, “You” is an upbeat, catchy, straight-ahead Pop-rock tune about a “love-hate” relationship with someone you can’t live with but can’t live without. Much like two of her modern influences, Ben Folds and Adam Duritz, Katey has a knack for writing upbeat tunes about otherwise introspective or somewhat depressing topics.
Her voice tells the truth, and nothing but the truth. Reminiscent of so many of the classics she cut her teeth on and contemporaries she admires, Katey’s songs are tongue in cheek and chock-full of love, philosophy and lyrical grit. While her sound has drawn comparisons to greats like Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant and Jewel, Katey has a characteristic voice and style to call her own. And like these revered artists, she always tells it how it is. Live shows are engaging, “listen-up” experiences for the crowd. She has shared the stage with Nashville Star finalist Tamika Tyler, Bill Mallonee (formerly of Vigilantes of Love), Katie Herzig (formerly of Newcomer’s Home), Universal recording artist Trevor Hall, and The Bittersweets.
Few artists have the ability to relate to and touch people of all ages and walks of life, but Katey Laurel is the “real deal”—just ask her growing, devoted fan-base. In a world of trendy music that is here today, gone tomorrow, Katey writes songs that will last. She lives by the philosophy that good music has always been, and will always be, soul food. From Katey Laurel, expect nothing less.