The northern-most tip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is an unlikely place to breed the warmth of soul music, but for twenty-three year old R&B singer Katie Marie. It turns out to be just that.
According to a local music critic, “Katie’s sound takes its genesis from music born long before she was, but she makes it her own. Katie sings with soulfulness, even a melancholy that 20-somethings are not suppose to have”.
From the time she was young, Katie had a passion for music and expressed this passion by constantly singing around the house to the music of such artists as Natalie Cole, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. After encouragement from her vocal coach at the end of her senior year in high school, Katie became involved in an opera called Caveleria Rusticana. This was a production put on by the Pine Mountain Music Festival. Katie began college the following summer at Central Michigan University, but the thought of a musical career never left her mind. At the age of 19, Katie decided to test her vocal ability and recorded a 3 song demo CD. Not long after the demo was recorded, Katie’s Dad passed the CD off to Bernie Larsen, a local producer/musician/songwriter who has played for Melissa Etheridge, Public Enemy, and Lucinda Williams, and who’s songs have been recorded by the likes of Jackson Brown. He listened to the demo and saw enough potential that he decided to set up a meeting with Katie. They met at a local coffee shop in November 2003 and decided to record a song Bernie had composed with friend Michael Anderson. Michael had also written a song called “Maybe it was Memphis”, which became a number one hit for country star Pam Tillis. One song led to another, and over the summer of 2004, the majority of an album was recorded. In November 2004, the album “Reach for Me”, a collection of original pop R&B songs was released. Bernie Larson was the producer and primary writer for the CD. The record included songs co-written by Katie herself, and current Paul McCartney band member Brian Ray, who also wrote the Smokey Robinson #1 song, “One Heartbeat at a Time.”
The first song on the CD, which the album was named after (Reach For Me) received a great amount of support and airplay in many parts of Michigan. For the majority of the summer of 2005 after her fourth year in college, Katie rehearsed songs from her album along with a few cover songs and performed with a band at a local coffee shop. A week later Katie performed at the Marquette, MI seafood festival, where she found out that the song “Reach For Me” had become the second most requested song of the year on the Marquette radio station 107.7 WMQT.
Katie returned to college for a fifth year in the fall of 2005. While she was away at school, Katie’s dad contacted current CBS recording artist PJ Olsson in hopes that PJ would meet with Katie to discuss her musical ambitions. In 2007 Olsson was nominated for a best surround sound record grammy and received a Mix Magazine award for best surround sound record. In March of 2006 Katie and PJ met and decided to work on writing and recording a few songs over the summer.
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a double major in health/fitness and dietetics, Katie returned home for the summer excited to work with PJ and fulfill her ambitions of writing and recording more original songs. Katie and PJ began what was supposed to be a few songs and eventually turned those “few songs” into an entire ten-song second album. The songs on this album demonstrate a mixture of musical versatility. They exhibit a combination of today’s soulful R&B and pop feel while at the same time incorporating harmonies and instrumentation that is representative of the 1970s. “I think music will always be a part of my life.” Katie says, “I would love to stay as involved as possible and hopefully more opportunities will turn up in the future.”
Katie graduated from Central Michigan in 2006 and completed her dietetic internship in New York City in June 2007, which was her final educational step in the process of becoming a registered dietitian.