I found myself approaching the Spider House Ballroom last Friday night to see the Katy Starr show, unable to find out how exactly I was supposed to get in. There was this white picket fence that completely surrounded the front entrance, and it took me a little bit to figure out that I had to go around some food truck. After checking in at the door, I slowly walked in, intensely examining everything in this dark as hell venue.
The Katy Starr EXPERIENCe
Due to my confused Fasten driver, I was a little late to the album drop party that was being hosted by Solstice Live. By the time I found a seat against a wall, I had actually missed the first act of the night, NÄM. Soon afterward, a young woman approached the stage with only her acoustic guitar and her huge flowing hair. It was Christina Cavazos, whose vocals were tremendously strong and striking, and whose guitar chords were simple and sweet. When Christina was done, she left the stage and everybody was left waiting around for the highlight of the night: Katy Starr.
While Katy and her band set up the stage, everybody at Spider House gathered suddenly on the floor and huddled at the front of the stage. Decked out in an all denim outfit, Katy and her band played a collection of songs from both her first official EP, “Soulingo,” and songs she had written in the past. The performance was very impressive. Her music could be described as new jazz, with a strong emphasis on funky and soulful melodies. It is music that is easy to chill and dance to. Katy has a very particular way of singing – a mixture of impassioned and enticing tones.
The Katy Starr story
After the show, I met up with Katy, to find out more about this mysterious up-and-coming singer. She told me an abundance of things, some of which I was surprised to hear. I was surprised mainly because I greatly admired her tenacity and determination to be a musician here in Austin.
As a native Austinite, Katy has always been in the Live Music Capital of the World. She obtained her appreciation of music from her father, who exposed her to all types of classic rock. Katy said that she holds the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Lou Reed, amongst others, as her foundation in music. By the time she got to high school, Katy had been enrolled in the Paul Green School of Rock, where she got the opportunity to play at various venues here in Austin. It was during this time in the program that Katy had received plenty of encouragement to further pursue music, due to her distinctive voice. Katy’s moment of clarity came when she was told by an audience member after a show that her singing made him cry. From then on, she knew she wanted to pursue music.
Having never actually been classically trained in music, Katy taught herself almost everything she knows. Despite this, she began writing songs when she was in college and even said that she “probably has about over 70 songs at this point.” Many of these songs can be attributed to the multitude of musical projects she’s been a part of. Katy herself admitted that her current “discography” is a mess, because it is scattered across multiple mediums, the main one being SoundCloud – for the time being. “Soulingo,” the title of Katy Starr’s first EP, is what Katy wants to be considered her first official release as a musician, because she made it with the intent that what you hear on it is really her “sound.” Katy also commented on the long and arduous process it’s been to make her first EP, and that she feels like she’s “doing almost everything by myself,” but that she’s learning as she goes.
Katy was also willing to share with me about her thoughts on the local music scene. She said that she simply wants “bring everyone up” because “it takes a whole community for this thing to work.” I couldn’t agree more.
In the future, Katy said that she plans to expand on the sound that she laid out in “Soulingo.” Her other future plans include continuing collaborations with local artists, to “throw showcases,” and to keep “confusing people” with her music.
No matter what Katy decides to do, I am sure she’s going to be great at it. And yes, Starr is actually her last name.