Singer-Songwriter KAT SOMERS Discusses Her Debut Album ‘Bloom,’ Getting It All Stolen and Then Rebuilding It!
Posted On 19 Oct 2018
Meet the performing artist and singer-songwriter, Kat Somers! On September 28th, she released her fully self-produced album, “Bloom.”
Somers started playing on the streets when she was 15 years old. After graduating from high school and then later college, she began pursuing her music career full time, booking 35 gigs in under a year, many of them in the summer, and continuing to play on the streets.
“Ghosts” was her very first single released. 3 months after that release, she started learning music production. Then in April, just as she was about to released her debut EP, her computer was stolen, along with every copy of her debut album. However, Somers refused to give up and immediately worked extra hours and received generous donations from family and fans to purchase a new computer and get back to work.
Since then she has released the second single “Jump In” and then finally the whole album, “Bloom,” just last month.
Connect With Kat Somers Here:
Learn more about Kat Somers in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
Currently I’m at my “office” aka the coffee shop, listening to some Monday motivational music by a few of my favorite art
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
2018 was challenging. I had only started learning music production near the end of 2017 but was working to start 2018 with the release of my first single ‘Ghosts’ in February as a preview of my EP that was originally going to be released in April. Unfortunately, while visiting DC for a concert by Third Story and Grace Weber, our car was broken into and all of our things stolen, including my computer and my only copies of the album. I was completely devastated to have months of hard work ripped out of my hands. Despite my efforts in working with the DC police, my computer was not able to be recoverable and I lost everything. I lost pictures, music I had created, important documents, and at some point it felt like I had lost all of my hope and drive to do what I love. I remember driving back from DC crying the entire drive back to Nelson County. I woke up and it felt like a nightmare and then it all came rushing back. That it really happened. I had a gig that weekend and I almost cancelled it. It hurt to play guitar, to sing, to share my music.. but something in me felt like I had to, that performing and sharing my vulnerability through my music, it’s really what I’m meant to do with my life. I went to my show that weekend and had one of my best performances. I felt connected and grounded by my friends and family who came out to support me, I felt reaffirmed in my dreams.
From that point I made it my goal to create a new album and release it by the end of 2018. In June, two months after the incident, I purchased a new computer with the help of friends, families and fans (as well as working extra hours and booking more gigs), wrote and produced and released my second single, ‘Jump In.’ I then spent the next two months continuing to write and produce music and at the end of September released my EP ‘Bloom’ fully written and produced by myself. This EP is made up of songs that weren’t on the original album that I had planned to release in April. Emotionally, it was really difficult to try and recreate those songs. I still play them every now and then, but for now I’ve decided to keep moving forward and create new material.
2018 was almost impossibly challenging, but it was rewarding and successful and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Can you see yourself ever doing anything else?
My parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was 5 years old, so it’s absolutely been the biggest part of my life. It’s hard to pinpoint the first experience because it’s always been woven into my life. When we took road trips we had a John Mayer CD that I would request to play on repeat. I still have the CD. When I was in middle school . started guitar lessons. Every day I’d come home from school I’d run up to my room and play until it was dark. In highschooI joined show choir, marching band and musicals. When I turned 15 I started playing on the streets of Charlottesville. When it came time to apply to college, I was scared to pursue a music degree. I had seen people drop out and lose their love of music and I didn’t have the confidence in my craft yet to believe I could do it. So, I went to college and studied biology. While I was there I started a jam circle with my friend in my dorm building, I joined and later lead an all female accapella group, and I had gigs in the area. When it came time to graduate I was stuck between considering a PhD program or following my passion for music. I realized that time wasn’t going to drown out the need to follow my dreams. More than anything else I know music is what I’m meant to do. Performing and writing is all I see for my future.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Probably how much time I’ve had to spend marketing. I’d say around 80% of my time is marketing between scheduling instagram posts, updating my website, reaching out to blogs, spotify and youtube playlist curators, booking gigs, sending out updates to subscribers… it’s an endless list to keep up my social media presence and it can be incredibly draining. So draining that sometimes it can be exhausting to go back to the creative side of things instead of restorative. It’s a balance I’m still trying to get right. But staying on top of it has been rewarding because I’ve been able to get my music further, make new connections with other artists, and use my platform to engage with others about the importance of taking care of your mental health.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
I started playing on the streets of Charlottesville when I was 15 and this definitely impacted me as a musician because I got to meet incredible musicians all with different styles and sounds. It helped me keep my mind open to all types of writing styles and genres of music as I was developing my sound. I was also really fortunate to grow up in Nelson County and be a part of the music scene in Lovingston at Rapunzel’s Coffee and Books where I still go to open mic nights held monthly as often as I can. Be able to perform in a welcoming community allowed me to become a better songwriter and helped me gain confidence in being vulnerable on stage and off.
Let’s talk about your newest self-produced album, “Bloom.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
(besides the road bump of the first album being stolen)
It was fun. It was experimental and creative. It was tough and frustrating. I’m still learning a lot of what it means to produce my own music, how to work efficiently and create the sounds I can hear in my head. It’s a rewarding process to have complete creative control but it can also be tough trying to figure it out on my own sometimes. I knew it would be challenging from the start, but the biggest surprise has been that every time I sit down I still learn something new, it’s been my favorite part.
While it’s difficult, can you pick a few of your favorite track on “Bloom”? How did they get to be on this album?
Lyrically, ‘Bloom’ (the song) is my favorite track. I wrote this song about my anxieties, especially a lot of the anxiety that I felt when I lost my first album. About how it’s easy to feel like swimming back to the top is too far. More than anything I wanted this song to resonate with my listeners. The last lines of the songs are a mantra repeating “we’re just chasing light.” I want people to hear it and feel less alone. I want people to feel like they can get back up, they can swim to the surface.
My other favorite song is “Faded Out Love.” It was a song that I finally let me get some things out that I wasn’t able to for a long time. So it meant a lot to finally get those thoughts out on paper.
What affect on your music did your computer getting stolen have on you? How did you overcome that huge setback?
I was devastated. It felt like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. But I did my best to see it in a positive light. I kept telling myself that I was given the opportunity to redo the album and make it better than it was before. I don’t know who stole it or why, if it was a kid trying to prove something as a result of peer pressure, maybe someone thought their family’s financial situation was bad enough that they had to result to robbing cars, maybe it was just an evil act with no explanation. But I don’t have those answers, I chose to see it as someone needed it more than I did and I started over. I pulled myself together with the support of my friends and family and got back to work.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period or is your music more of an escape from all that?
I write music based on how I’m feeling, it’s a release for me and it’s also a way for me to connect with others, again, hoping to reach people who feel like they’re alone to remind them that they’re not. The current political environment that we are in has proved itself to be extremely triggering to individuals as well as collective groups based on previous incidents and traumas. I hope my music can be a distraction, a meditation, a way to help heal and feel like someone’s on your side.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
My favorite way to connect with my fans is at my shows. It’s real. When I’m playing at my shows the only thing I want from my audience is to be there and be engaged. We’re all stuck to our phones all of the time I think we forget to put them down and just enjoy a moment. Social media is a projection of our best selves, a selection of what we want people to see. It can’t replace real engagement of people sharing an experience together.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Andy Grammer, Third Story, Chelsea Cutler, Lorde, Dylan Dunlap, Lauv, Julia Michaels, Chance the Rapper, John Mayer, Coldplay.. There’s a lot of artists that continually inspire me through their lyrics and accomplishments, as well as the ability to be vulnerable about their mental health and use their platform for more than their talent but to make a difference. If I could work with any artist I think it would be Andy Grammer or Coldplay.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
My guitar, Lulu. Me and my guitar is how my music career really started. When all of the production and software is stripped away it’s just me and Lulu.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
The only TV show I’m really attached to in anyway is Law and Order SVU, but I don’t know that I could imagine one of my songs on there but it’d be really incredible!
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? What has been a favorite performance of yours? What do you think makes an idea show for you?
My favorite performance so far is the first night that I opened at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall in Charlottesville. I opened up for The Rob Cheatham Band and Lord Nelson. It was an incredible time, and it was my first time playing at a real music venue (opposed to bars and house shows and stuff like that). It was a really awesome night getting to have that experience and share it with other musicians.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
I want my listeners to feel like they’re not alone. I’ve spent a lot of time, years, trying to understand and live with my anxiety and depression. I’ve had days where getting out of bed feels impossible, and sometimes it is. I’ve had days where it feels like no matter how hard I try I can’t get a full breath in my lungs. Sometimes it’s more than days and it feels like I can’t get out. It can feel like I’m drowning or trapped but it always feels like I’m alone. Sometimes it’s hard to find words that communicate how my anxiety and depression affect me. But I hope that what I wrote in my album reaches someone and makes them feel like someone is on their side.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
More music is coming soon.