Songstress, Kat Holland, is a genre-busting tour de force. Her influences include Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, and Maroon 5, three artists as varied as they are talented, and Holland is a product of all of them. Her sound combines jazz, pop, and soul and is not only a reflection of her influences but a reflection of her idea that genres are becoming a thing of the past. In its stead is a mixture of styles that is a groove-pop sound that you can dance to and relate to as she sings about love, loss, and the hardships surrounding both.
Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Holland via email to talk about her latest EP, Retrovision.
Your bio references longing for something in the present or future. Do you have something specific in mind, or do you mean longing for something you don’t have in a more general sense?
When I wrote the song “The One,” it was about a very specific relationship in my life. At the time, it was long distance, so a lot of it was about longing for the time we spent in the past.
Can you speak to what inspired your EP Retrovision? Had you encountered a breakup or some major hardship? Was it a healing and cathartic experience channeling that experience into your songwriting?
I actually had not encountered a breakup during this time. It was more about being in a long-distance relationship and longing to be closer. It was definitely a very rough time because we were barely able to speak. Music was very instrumental in keeping me afloat during that time. It was sort of like my therapy.
Where did you record the album, and what was the recording process?
I recorded the EP in The Village Studios in LA with some amazing studio musicians. We spent about 10 days recording with the full band in the studio, and then over the next few months, we took it to a smaller studio for mixing and mastering.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I think a live aspect to the recording is important to me. I also think it is really important that everyone working on the music vibes well together. If the vibe isn’t good, you won’t be able to create anything good.
Is it challenging singing songs live that remind you of a maybe not so great time in your life?
It can definitely be challenging. You sort of have to relive those tough moments which is hard. But it is all worth it if even just one person can relate to my experiences.
Any pre-show rituals you do to get in the zone?
Vocal warm-ups, lots of water, and being surrounded by people I love.
Do you have a favorite song you like to perform?
For sure! I absolutely love performing “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse. It’s just got such a catchy feel to it—not much can compare when you get in the zone with that song.
Is there a particular guitar you’re drawn to – either in the general sense or at the moment?
I have always been drawn to Taylor guitars, and at the moment, I am completely infatuated with my Taylor 312ce that I recently purchased. It is such a beautiful guitar and plays really beautifully as well.
What is your creative process? From where do you draw your inspiration?
When writing music, I usually just start off by thinking of ideas or concepts. From there, I will try to branch out and write some lyrics. A lot of my music is based off of personal experience, but some of it is just fantasy stories as well. It can be fun to experiment and try different things.
What are you listening to right now?
One of my favorite songs recently has been “Same Team” by Labrinth and Stefflon Don. I love the minimalistic production in it, and their vocals are amazing!
What would you tell your younger self who is just starting out as a musician?
I would tell my younger self to be patient. Building up a career in music takes time, and it can be really frustrating and discouraging at times. It is really important to learn that it isn’t going to happen overnight, and it takes a lot of hard work to get where you want to be, but it is possible!
Alive or dead, who is your dream collaboration? Who would you love to play with? Who would you love to have a conversation with, musical or otherwise?
I would really love to have a songwriting session with Hozier! I think of him as a lyrical genius and think it would be really cool to write a song with him and learn some of his techniques. I would also really love to play with Amy Winehouse, even though she is gone, she was such a legend.