Shazam Meets… Katy B
Katy B has been a fixture on our radar for a while. With her singles ‘Katy On A Mission’, ‘Lights On’ and ‘Broken Record’ all featuring in the high end of our UK New Music Chart, her debut album has become one of the most anticipated debuts of the year. Growing up as a musically obsessed teenager in Peckham, South London; Katy honed her talent at the highly influential BRIT School - former students of which include Adele and Amy Winehouse.
After her early tracks found their way onto the playlist of the influential Rinse FM, the pirate radio hub that gave Dizzee Rascal his break, they quickly caught the attention of the station’s founder Geeneus. He wasn’t the only one who was taken aback by Katy’s powerful vocals; the singer quickly amassed a list of collaborators from Ms. Dynamite, Zinc and Magnetic Man; on ‘Perfect Stranger’ and ‘Crossover’.
We grabbed a few minutes with Katy to find out more about the making of her debut album, what she has in store for upcoming live shows and what new artists have been pushing her buttons.
Your debut album ‘On A Mission’ is out April 4th. The title follows on from the single ‘Katy On A Mission’. Is it fair to say that you were always determined to get to the level you’re at now?
Yeah I guess I’d always had it in my head that I’d like to sing for a living, it’s what I love and I feel very privileged and hope to be able to do it for a long time.
You started out at the BRIT School, which has also seen the likes of Adele and Amy Winehouse climb through their ranks. I’m guessing that Funky House and Dubstep weren’t on the curriculum. When did you start getting into dance music?
When I was 16 I started singing that type of sound, my tracks were getting played on pirate radio and doing PAs and when I started working with Rinse I was in the clubs even more.
How did you first hook up with the guys from Rinse?
Geeneus, who founded the station, heard my songs as they were getting played there and he invited me to the studio to work on a tune with him and Zinc. We really clicked and decided to work more together.
Was it important to you to make sure your album came out under their imprint?
Definitely; I’ve been with them from the beginning.
The production credits on the album read like a who’s who of UK bass music, with Zinc, Geeneus and Benga all appearing. How does the writing process work?
It started off with them giving me instrumentals to work with and I’d write a song over the top. But as time has gone on some of the later tracks such as ‘Disappear’ were made from scratch with me and Geeneus in the studio with a blank canvas.
You also worked with Benga again on the Magnetic Man album. How was that experience?
It was great, they’re such characters. I love that album!
You’ve been christened in one the tabloids as the “first lady of dubstep”. How is it being one, of only a few, female voices in the genre?
I really don’t see myself as a dubstep artist, the production on my album spans across the whole of the UK underground sound.
You start your UK tour next month. Will you be taking a full band out with you? What can we expect from the shows?
Yes I’ve got a 7 piece band! I want it to have a really feel good vibe to it, I recently saw Soul II Soul in concert and the audience were dancing away and the performers looked like they were having as much fun as the audience. I’d love my concert to have that kind of vibe.
Finally, are there any new artists on your radar we should know about?
P-Money’s album sounds heavy. Live hip hop band The Illersapiens have such a unique, refreshing sound and Jessie Ware, a singer working with producer Subtrakt, has such a beautiful tone.
Katy B’s debut album ‘On A Mission’ is out 4th April through Rinse. Head here to order through iTunes.