We’re delighted that Katie Kittermaster has joined our Young Ambassadors Board! Katie is a super talented singer/songwriter from Kent who’s opened for some amazing artists including Olly Murs, Jools Holland and Ronan Keating and has toured with Keith Duffy, Brian Mcfadden and Lucy Spraggan!  We caught up with Katie about how she started songwriting and so much more.

What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing it or were you a fan for a bit first?   Sounds corny but I think I have always knew that I wanted to sing. My earliest memory was at a school nativity play when I was 4 and I sang a solo in a fairy outfit! I sang throughout my childhood and had sporadic lessons here and there (as we moved around quite a lot during school days). We moved to Dubai for 3 years and it was there that I had the opportunity to perform publicly. I was asked to sing on national TV (it was organised through the school I was attending) – it was like the UK’s version of This Morning. I sang Skinny Love by Birdy. From this I was approached by the organisers of Global Gift Gala, hosted by Eva Longoria and Ricky Martin, to open their event in Dubai. That was the moment I knew that this is what I wanted to do! I was 14 at the time.  I wrote my first song when I had my heart broken (probably an exaggeration!) at 15. Until then I had not been able to even start to write – I had no idea how to begin. I am dyslexic and cannot really read music, I’ve taught myself to play the guitar and the piano. I use both instruments to write but would like to improve (may be now we are all self – isolating, I can dedicate some time to practice).

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  It’s not something I have thought about before but recently I have been collaborating with other writers and producers and I have really enjoyed that; it’s definitely something I am keen to do more of. If I was to pinpoint one moment of the process that gives me the most pleasure is the first time I play my new song once I have finished it.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I take inspiration from the things going on in my life, things I see, people I meet. For me, there is no set process (unless I am writing with others and therefore we are writing on demand!). I write alone most of the time. I haven’t had so much time recently as I have been pretty much on tour since I left school. However, with the COVID19 situation that we have found ourselves in, I have had a lot more time to be creative. I don’t think there is a magic formula to writing, but if I have an idea or hook I am very happy to lock myself away until I have finished. I love to write and my favourite songs haven’t taken much time at all – T-shirt, which was one of my early songs took me about 10 minutes to write.

What achievement are you most proud of?  That’s a hard one. I feel very lucky to have been touring since school, initially with Brian MacFadden and Keith Duffy (Boyzlife) and then with Lucy Spraggan. I was on my 2nd tour with Boyzlife when the COVID19 virus hit. Singing to 2K+ people a night with the boys and singing on stage with them was incredible. But I think my proudest moment (and it may seem small to others) was selling out my first headline show. I was worried that nobody would come but it sold out in a few days!!!! Sadly it is now postponed until further notice.

Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why?  Although I wrote it when I was 15, I still think T-shirt is one of my best songs. So many people say that they can relate to it. I feel my writing is developling and maturing I guess but lyrics are the most important thing to me. I want to be a storyteller. I have written over 30 songs but have only released 5 as I have been so busy touring. The time will come soon I hope.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  Cliche perhaps but 100% Ed Sheeran.

Do you feel like you’ve mastered your craft or are you still learning? If you’re still learning, what’s your next milestone?  I am definitely still learning. Each time I have a writing session, I learn from others and about myself, I have performed over 100 times since I left school and this has taught me so much – not just about performing and stagecraft but also about writing and what songs work live. Sometimes you may believe that you have a great song if you get the chance to perform it over and over then you can change it up to make it even better. I am not the sort of person to set milestones; that could be an error. But I just want to keep performing live, I want to collaborate more and I am hoping to have a headline tour in 2021.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet? Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing?  Try and write something every day. However small.  Keep a notebook/phone with you as if you are like me you will think of a hook/line/lyric at the weirdest times.  Gig as much as possible so that you can test out your songs.  Believe in yourself, grow a thick skin and keep going.

Favourites round! Don’t think about it, just say what first comes to mind. Who/what is your favourite:

Artist? Maisie Peters

Songwriter?  Ed Sheeran

Song?  Naive (Kooks)

Album?  Harry Styles – Fine Line

Chord?  C Flat Minor

Gig you’ve been to?  Reading Festival

Lyric?  You feel like home to me

Genre?  Indie/Pop

Catchphrase?  Cut off your split ends and I’m not just talking about your hair

Fruit? Raspberry

What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?  Guitar – Guitar!

What are you non-musical hobbies?
Friends, baking, skiing

What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds?  Wellbeing – Happiness – Friendship/relationships – Grades

What do you like about Song Academy?
Love that Song Academy supports unsigned artists and young artists and encourages them to experiment with their creativity.

Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs?
Then enter The Young Songwriter 2020 competition before the 31st March 2020!