Oh, do we have something special for you today! We know, like us, you enjoy music and well, we have someone you should definitely check out and her name is Kathleen!
Kathleen is an incredible, singer and songwriter, all the work she has released is so beautifully put together we are always in awe. It’s evident that she takes in every type of art that she can find, to help create her music. She has released successful tracks and EPs, and just recently released hit track, ‘San Andreas’ Fault.’ The track is a pretty serious one with a really meaningful message behind it. But before we say more, we think Kathleen can explain her track in more detail than we can. So here is Kathleen, as she talks about ‘San Andreas’ Fault,’ her writing style, her work on Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, and what the future holds for her talented self.
First, can we start off with an introduction of yourself, what words do you think resemble who you are as an artist at this current time?
I’m Kathleen, I’m 27, and I’m a Scorpio and a 4 and an ENFP – though, since quarantine, I think the E has flipped to I and I’m quite alright with it. Currently though… I guess I would say I’m much more calm, still perpetually confused, evolving quickly, antsy to create.
You released the track ‘San Andreas’ Fault’ which is made up of a diverse cast, with the people in your visual and your track art made by Tongva and Latinx artist River Garza. Why do you think it is important to showcase diversity not only in front of the camera but also behind it?
For me, it’s always about storytelling! I’m white, I’m sick of white stories, the world has been absolutely suffocated and made sick by nothing but white stories for the last few centuries so idk – I want to be a part of the shake-up! I hope to use my platform as a place for all kinds of stories from all kinds of people and all kinds of artists and thinkers.
Specific to this song, it was such an honor to work with River on this. He’s one of the most creative and most professional artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I really wanted to give him as much creative room as he needed to be able to tell his side of the story of the song and to make sure that he could feel like a part of it as I did.
I called the song ‘San Andreas’ Fault’ because – yes it’s a wordplay on the name of the fault line that threatens “the Big One” every minute we exist near it, but also because the name “San Andreas” (or Saint Andrews) is a Catholic saint name that arrived in California through Spanish colonization – I just got a kick out of how neatly the added apostrophe places blame on colonization. And though I feel it’s very important to talk about the land, I’m also aware that my voice and perspective is the voice and perspective of a white transplant/colonizer to California, so it’s incredibly backward for me to try and tell the whole story or for anyone else with my shared background to tell it. So it was imperative that the visual component of the song be told from a modern Indigenous voice. But equally as important – I’ve been following River’s art for years and I’m just a big fan!
When writing tracks with such a serious topic, did you decide on the topic before coming up with the lyrics or vice versa?
I think I’m just kind of a serious person generally! Like, I love cracking jokes and being the funny guy at the party – but deep down I’m very intense. When I went to write ‘SAF,’ it was after Amanda (MNDR) and I had come up with the track idea. I was listening to it in headphones in my apartment later that night and the “like freedom, like freedom” line came right away. The song sounded so angry and trapped, but also like something was busting out of it. So when I sat down to structure the lyrics, I just kinda went through all my notes and journal entries and collected a bunch of lines and ideas I’d been living with for months, maybe even years. I’m perpetually hurt and angry about how much trash and misuse and displacement there is going on in LA and how no one seems to be bothered because “the vibes are good.” But the vibes are not all good! So all those thoughts and images surrounding that frustration kind of just aligned themselves into a story and I guided them as they filed into place.
If your track ‘San Andreas’ Fault’ was a person, what would you like to tell them?
I love this because the song IS a person. She is Los Angeles, she is occupied Tongva land and she’s being taken advantage of. And throughout the writing and surrounding art-making process I’ve held a very clear message for her, which is, “I’m here for you bb, I’m going to tell your story as best I can and I’m going to get as many different voices of all those who know you and know your struggle to tell your story, too, because your story is bigger than anything – you’re the land sis! You’re our home. You’re us and when you’re hurt, so are we.” (As I say this, I’m coughing from wildfire smoke.)
Recently on TikTok artists have shown that they can see what playlists their tracks get added to, what has been your favorite playlist name that you’ve seen any of your tracks a part of?
Oh, I gotta check that out!
You have an amazing talent for writing lyrics, what made you realize that you can write really well? Is there a favorite lyric of yours that you’ve written? Any lyrics you wish you would’ve written?
Thank you so much, I always deeply appreciate it when people pay attention to the lyrics. I don’t know if there was or is a point of realization with writing (because I still feel like a word baby), so much as a constant excitement to explore language and all the ways that it both facilitates and prevents accurate communication. I’m in constant awe of words and of the authors, poets, lyricists, comedians, memers – writers of all kinds – and their shared love for and frustration with words.
In terms of songwriting, I feel like I’m always trying to write ‘Werewolf’ by Fiona Apple – the way she threads images and opposing feelings and responsibilities, sends them leaping and back bending onto themselves. I also love ‘Fish and Whistle’ by John Prine – he always tells the funniest and saddest and most enduring stories seemingly so effortlessly.
Because of that said talent, you’re known as a poet, so what is your all-time favorite poem? And why?
I don’t know about all-time favorite, it changes mood to mood, but I will always thank Frank O’Hara for his poem “Having a coke with you.” I think it’s because it was the first free-verse poem I’d really been exposed to and it really blew my mind open for what was possible.
You were featured as backup vocals for Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Favorite Crime.’ Would you say it is your fave song of the album, or do you have another fave? Also, could we be seeing a duet coming in the future for you two?
I actually sang some background vocals on ‘Happier.’ I didn’t sing any background vocals on ‘Favorite Crime.’ but I did do some vocal arrangement w/ Dan Nigro for it and Olivia sang the parts in. Unrelated to my part on ‘Favorite Crime,’ it is my favorite song on the album. When Dan showed it to me for the first time I definitely shed some hard tears and was not afraid to show him! Olivia is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, she’s so hardworking and an incredibly talented vocalist, songwriter, and performer so of course, I would love to sing with her!
Speaking of the future, what does the rest of 2021 hold for Kathleen?
I’m currently finishing up a whole new batch of songs that I’ve had with me for a while. The collaborators helping me bring them to life are truly top-shelf humans and creatives, so I couldn’t be more excited to finish them and share them!
Finally, do you have any parting words you would like your fans to know?
So stoked to play live shows and see you all irl :)))))
We have quickly fallen in love with the type of artist Kathleen is, and can’t wait to see what the future brings her. You can stream ‘San Andreas’ Fault’ here.
What did you think about our interview with Kathleen? What about her track ‘San Andreas’ Fault?’ Tell us in the comments down below, or tweet us @TheHoneyPOP and talk to us on our Facebook and Instagram!
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Featured Image Source: Chimera Singer and Emily Defoor – The Honey POP Graphics Team