Artist/Band - Katie Garibaldi
Current Project (S) - Currently recording my new album 'Home Sweet Christmas' to be released this December.
Website + Social Media
Katie Garibaldi is a San Francisco based singer/songwriter and guitar player who has recently released her new EP, Rooted Clarity. Branching away from her previous countrified album, Follow Your Heart, Katie returns to her folk‐driven roots with songs that focus on self‐discovery and faith. “These wonderfully crafted songs will make you catch your breath and trap your heart” (Raw Ramp Magazine). The five-song EP brings a mix of classical and country strings together to bring an effective and effortless sound that perfectly highlights Garibaldi’s trademark, soulful voice. The Daily Country says, “Garibaldi’s light as a feather vocals exude a strength that makes you want to believe in yourself and pursue your dreams and most importantly, gives you the courage, and clarity, to be yourself, trust yourself and allow yourself to fly.” The sweet soprano weaves between airy and operatic delving into the emotional depths of the stories behind these five brand new original songs, one of which, “I Am”, premiered on The Boot, the top source for the latest in country music. Elmore Magazine describes Katie’s sound as, “sweet, smooth music that is equal parts old‐school pop princess and folk songstress,” and says that her EP, Rooted Clarity, “focuses mainly on the Americana aspect with melody, choral instrumentals, and roots rhythms.” - Click Here To Read Katie's Full-Length Bio
1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?
What made me get into music was just the innate love for it that I discovered when I was very young. I think I was always a songwriter because I would create melodies and lyrics all the time. I'd walk around as a kid humming and singing and then stop and think, "What song is this?" But I had just made it up. It was natural to me, but I really embraced songwriting when I learned how to play the guitar around 11 years old. I picked up the guitar then and I haven't put it down since. It's a lifeline to the songs inside of me. What made me want to get into the music business was the eagerness to educate myself about the industry since I knew I was smitten with music and pretty much a goner from the start. I couldn't be authentically me if I wasn't doing music, so I figured I might as well dive all the way in, start up my own business as an independent artist, learn the marketing and business side of the coin, and be armed with the knowledge of the industry no matter which direction it ended up taking me. I think seeing Jewel's rise to commercial success was a huge influence on me because that's what I was doing, writing songs, singing, and playing acoustic guitar. She made it look really cool amongst all the young pop singers who were just dancing around with little clothes on and singing other people's songs. Jewel was a badass in that way and I think she really paved a way for a lot of singer/songwriters, both men and women, in that generation. I would say my biggest role models are my parents because they both own their own businesses and they teach me a lot about how to invest in myself and how to take smart risks for what I believe in.
2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?
I guess this sounds cliche, but I've been working in this industry for many years and I've learned that the biggest thing that gets you noticed is being yourself. Do what authentically makes you who you are. It's easy to get caught up in looking at what other people are doing and feeling like you have to compete with that, but they're not you and you're not them. So I find that when I put my blinders on and keep my focus on the projects that I really believe in and am excited about, other people notice and word gets around. When I see other artists posting on social media about trendy things or posting videos of cover songs every week and not writing anything new, they just look like a dime a dozen to me and nothing stands out. I'd rather work hard doing things on my own time and be authentic about it. I think that's what makes certain artists have staying power and rise to the top because they're being true to themselves. Otherwise, getting out and going to industry events and meeting people face to face is key to networking in this business. Emails and social media is unavoidable, but nothing beats shaking a hand.
3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?
That's kind of a difficult question to answer since it's not always so black and white and obviously depends on the specific labels and agreements. But I think a big misconception that people have in the music industry is that independent means alone or by yourself. Independence isn't always a one-man band, no pun intended. It can and should mean a team of people who are working together in their respective independent businesses. For example, you're the artist and the CEO but you couldn't run your business as successfully if you didn't have your lawyer, your sync licensing agents, your photographer, your publicist, your website designer, or your distributor, etc. You'd be juggling all of that on your own, which is what a lot of us do, but it's hard to keep that up for very long and be effective. Those people help make up your team, so it's like your own independent label that you're overseeing. I'm an indie girl at heart, but I also love the idea of having more time and space to just be an artist and songwriter and allow other people in the business handle the other moving parts. A lot of major labels run powerful smaller independent label branches these days, so at the end of the day it's all the same book, different story. Just like with any sort of deals I sign, whether small or large, it has to be right for me and keep my music safe.
4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?
Oh yeah, that's been dead for a while. You no longer need a major label to discover and sign you in order to make music and be a successful artist. You can pretty much do everything without a label these days. Now that ProTools and the like exist, a lot of artists record their music at home studios and release it independently with a reasonable budget. You couldn't do that before. You had to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to go into a studio, and still needed the connections to do it. It wasn't just at our fingertips like it is now. You also needed A&R teams to discover your music. Now, we have YouTube and social media. We have the ability to reach a wider range audience independently and use web analytics to plan our tours, etc. It's all great, except obviously as indie artists and companies we have a smaller range of exposure than major label companies have access to. However, publicists and radio promoters can do a lot of good in getting your music out to a larger audience. Artists no longer need to sell out huge arenas in order to make money, but they can make a living off licensing royalties and merch sales. It's a different world now than it was when the majors ruled.
5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?
Referring to my last answer, the Internet and social media has had a huge affect on the music industry and the rise of independent artists. It's kind of surreal how quickly everything changed if you really think about it. Kids growing up now don't know what the world was like before YouTube and Instagram. I used to snail mail everything, including my marketing plan and printed photos with my albums to people in the industry. Now everything is basically digital. You send them a link to your website and your song on SoundCloud. It's convenient and keeps things better organized. And obviously, like I was saying in the previous answer, we have more avenues to expose our music to people without having to go through a label now. The only thing I think we have to keep our eyes open about is social media's facade. Since anyone and everyone can have followers now (or "fans"), they can build up this false sense of stardom, even if they're not even an artist but some pretty face that has a million followers. This diminishes the credibility of the real artist, who's working hard to maintain a following for their music in order to sustain a career to support themselves and their families. How can one person be a star on social media when everyone is a star? Who cares if someone really is a fantastic artist and a real rock star, when everyone is (i.e. thinks they are/has the perception of) a rock star? It's something to think about. In the '90s and years prior to that you knew who the rock stars were. You knew who stood out. Now there's so much content, it's a lot of stuff to weed out and dig through, and people can be unimpressed really fast without giving you a chance. The rise of technology and social networks have been a blessing to independent artists in getting their music out to the world, and yet there's something misleading and ugly about it too. As long as we can shift the focus of music and arts to a higher value, I think we can shift the perceptions of what people see as real and fake.
6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?
I wouldn't say that anything difficult led me to becoming a musician, it was only the love that led me. But certainly difficult things in life have led me to writing very meaningful songs, including losing people that I cared about. But I will say that choosing this career path has led to a lot of personal, artistic, and professional growth. I'm grateful that I knew what I wanted to do from a very young age, but it's not always easy. I think I've always been somewhat crazy in the fact that I tend to take the hard path because I know it will make me stronger and will mean more in the end. I don't want anything to do with what's quick and easy. Sometimes this is my weakness. But it's been a weird balance of being a naturally shy and unconfident person to put myself in situations where I have to be the boss and center of attention, and really wholeheartedly believe in myself. It's kind of awful and awesome at the same time, haha. Like, I hate the challenge but I love the challenge. I live for the challenge! That's just who I am. And all said and done, I wouldn't have it any other way and I don't really have any regrets because I'm having the best time doing what I love.
7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell-outs." Do you see it that way and if so, what do plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to "sell out"?
These days I don't think it's so cut and dry. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to make a living as an artist. So if an artist is doing their music and their own thing, but also on the side writing jingles out of their normal genre of music for commercials to make some extra royalties, I don't see that as selling out. I see that as being a smart business person. I actually know a lot of artists who do that, and I respect it. If an artist is recording and touring their music, but on weekends playing with a cover band at weddings to make more money to support their art, I don't think that's selling out. Nowadays you have to wear a few different hats to bring in income from multiple channels. It's not just coming from one source most of the time. But if you're talking about people who post a new cover song on their YouTube every day just so they can get more followers, I think they're losing who they really are. Why are they doing this? It's not to share their music and help touch and heal people. It's to get something out of it for themselves. Like, if a famous artist passes away and someone posts, "Check out my cover of so and so," because their name is trending on social media. That's not sincere to me and I guess you'd call that a sell-out move. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with cover songs, I think they're great and have their place, but you can tell when an artist is doing them because they love the song and want to be artistic about it, and when it's out of desperation for extra fans or money. I think any time an artist is making music that is clearly not genuine and there's a desperation about it, people can tell and it doesn't last long. As far as what I do to make music that's true to me, I just don't think about it. I don't plan to write anything specific. I let the music come to me when it's ready and I treat it with care. I'm not going to share a song with the rest of the world unless it touches and heals me first, then I know it's meant for someone else to hear too. When I put my heart into something, I believe it will reach the right people at the right time, and that care will come back to me as well. Even though it might not be sincere to be jumping genres all over the place, I do think it's important not to stay in the same "box" too. I like to stretch myself and make each album a little different than the last one. I think you can evolve as an artist and songwriter without losing who you are. It's just life and growth.
8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?
I love this question because to me, music is really the ultimate person to person connector. It's an intoxicating magic that can give a person what they need, which can be completely different from what it gives to someone else standing next to them. Someone might hear a song and be taken back to a memory of their parents and someone else might hear a song and think of their wife, and each experience different emotions, but both are healing. I love that. I hope that when listeners hear my music, it's a healing event. I'd really like them to connect with their own memories and emotions through the music and spiritually feel better after hearing it. Additionally, I'd love for people who listen to my music to feel inspired to dream and be brave enough to follow their own heart's callings, like I do mine. We all have our own light within us that's meant to be expressed and shared.