CommitmentNow.com: You were named a Music Connection Magazine Top 100 Unsigned Artists of the Year in December 2009, WomensRadio.com has featured you as one of the “Hot Up-N-Comers” predicted to make big waves in 2010, and you have released six full length albums – and you are only 26 years old!! When did you first start making music?
Katie Garibaldi: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Before I knew how to play an instrument, I was always making up melodies and singing short songs. My mom taught me how to play piano and it’s a beautiful instrument, but it never stuck with me as far as triggering serious songwriting. I sang in the school chorus in elementary school and my teacher led us with an acoustic guitar. I loved singing immensely, but I remember also just staring at that guitar. I was mesmerized! I thought it was so amazing. The next year, when I was about 11 or 12, I started taking guitar lessons. I fell in love instantly with the guitar and I remember coming home from my first lesson and writing a song with the three chords I learned. It felt so natural and so right and I finally had the tool I had been missing to unleash the music inside of me. I wrote like crazy those first few years of learning guitar and started performing when I was about 15, and have been doing it ever since.
CommitmentNow.com: Your most recent album, Next Ride Out, features ballads, pop music and Americana Roots Rock. How would you describe your music?
Katie: It’s always such a challenge to describe my music because I think a lot of artists can relate to the feeling that it’s not an easy thing to slap a label on your art or your creativity, especially when there is a mix of styles blended together like mine. Labels can also be very misleading. When I tell people I’m a singer/songwriter, a lot of times they will automatically assume my music is folk music, which I wouldn’t describe it as. I have a heavy influence of pop music, but when I say that, a lot of people think of boy bands or Britney Spears. I would call what I play pop music with a evident tinge of roots and country. I grew up listening to pop and rock and roll—music with melodies, like the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Huey Lewis. Then I listened to more modern pop like Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Once I picked up the guitar, Jewel broke out on the music scene and she was a big influence on my writing and playing. Throughout this, I was always a huge fan of country music and then I got into bands like the Wallflowers and Sheryl Crow. That’s a wide range of musical genres, but all of these artists influenced my style in some way.
CommitmentNow.com: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Katie: I find inspiration in my every day life and mostly relationships. Since I grew up listening to a lot of pop and country music, the main topic of songs was often love. It’s always what moved me the most, in particular love ballads. It’s such a universal topic that everyone can relate to in some way, whether it’s falling in love, losing love, or anything in between. Inspiration can hit me at any random time and sometimes I never really know what’s going to come out of me. It’s like something inside of me will say, “I’m ready to say something. Grab the guitar!”
CommitmentNow.com: In addition to writing and performing your work, you actively tour, you own your own music label, Living Dream Music, and you are the San Francisco chapter coordinator of Songsalive!, a non-profit organization that supports artists and songwriters! How do you make time for all of these activities?
Katie: Truthfully, I make time because I love what I do! As corny as it may sound, I wake up and I go to sleep feeling blessed with a sense of purpose and with a fire burning inside of me to keep going. There are definitely times when it can get overwhelming, especially touring can take a lot of time and energy, but it’s all worth it because I love doing it. Actually, stress has always been somewhat of a motivator for me. When I have a lot going on, I work really well. But I’ve learned to be careful about not letting stress cross the line to where I’m feeling unbalanced, since balance is key to living happily. I love the business side of my career, and I’ve been pretty driven with it since I first started performing. I graduated college in Communication and Business in order to learn the tools of running my own label and marketing myself as an artist. As for heading the San Francisco Songsalive! chapter, it’s been a great way for me to encourage other singer/songwriters to get out and play and share their music. Many artists look at the music business as competitive, but I think there’s plenty of room for everyone’s creativity. If you’re good at what you do, it all starts with getting out there and getting your music heard, and that’s what Songsalive! is all about.
CommitmentNow.com: What do you like best about performing live?
Katie: Performing live is I think the best part of my job. It’s such a special thing for me because I have the opportunity to share my songs face to face with people—to tell them my stories that I wrote and hopefully get them to feel something. I’m a pretty spiritual person so I believe we’re all connected on some level. When I can sing a song and convey an emotion, and a listener is inspired to feel something as well, it’s a shared human experience. If I can get someone to laugh or cry or crack a smile or just feel something by my music, it’s so amazing and humbling. It’s like I’m right there with them in the moment and in the feeling. I am a huge music fan so I go to concerts all the time and when an artist moves me to feel an emotion, it’s amazing because it’s like they’re talking about me. (How do they know exactly what I’m feeling?) So I’ve been on both ends of the experience and it’s a really extraordinary and beautiful thing. On top of that, it’s just plain fun! I feel like I’m 100 percent ttotally “me” when I’m onstage. I played a show recently and when I got off the stage, someone told me, “You look like you were born to do that.” It was the biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten.
CommitmentNow.com: Where can we learn more about you and your music?
Katie: Click over to my website at www.katiegaribaldi.com. I’m also on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and you can find my music at various sites and stores, including iTunes and CD Baby.