Katie Rush

by Rachel Vancelette
A rare glimpse into the world of musician and songwriter Katie Rush, whose inspirational music has impacted a new generation of activism, call to action, collaboration and new-found unified musical creativity among her community during COVID19 pandemic.

What inspires you? 

Spirituality holds a big place in my life, and that has inspired me, as have different aspects of love, friendship, and spacetime, which best explains how the universe works.  In the case of World Leader, I was inspired to write by current events, but especially by the environment and global warming, which I believe are issues that need to be faced immediately.

Can you tell us about your career in music, and what advice you would provide to your younger self?

I always sang, but I didn’t start making music until about seven years ago when I met my former collaborators Zak Mering and  Sam Mehran.    They taught me songwriting and produced for me.  Before then, I had been a major music fanatic, going to a ton of underground shows in NYC, but hadn’t believed in myself as an artist.  Zak and Sam really showed me that I could make music. When Sam moved to LA, I continued to work with him on periodic visits to make my second and upcoming third album.  Sam passed away in 2018, and it’s been difficult to get the third album finished but I’m proud to have released World Leader, the first single off of it, right in time for the US Presidential election.  The advice I would give to my younger self would definitely be “don’t be afraid to ask people to collaborate, and learn how to play an instrument because you deserve to know that you can actually really write!

You mentioned that music sends a message and can evoke activism…etc etc, can you tell us a little about your inspiration for World Leader?

I started thinking about writing World Leader when Trump was elected President four years ago. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, I’ve become horrified at his indifference to both the planet and to all of us living here.  His extreme narcissism, outrageous behavior and hollow beliefs pushed me to release my song in an effort to both express myself and to spur on voting.

When did you first start singing and who is your musical inspiration?

I first started singing as a little girl, pretending to be Cosette and Eponine from Les Miserables. Musical theater was my musical world back then, which translated into a love of the very theatrical David Bowie and Lady Gaga as I got older.    My tastes evolved into more lofi pop as I started going to shows, but the thing that will always get me no matter what style of music I’m enjoying is a dramatic and catchy pop hook.  Interestingly, my late collaborator Sam’s solo act as Outer Limits Recordings is my all-time favorite music, blending all the factors I love most: irresistible catchiness, lofi recording, and a thrilling dramatic flare.

Do you write your own music?

I do write my own music.  And while melody and lyrics are my strong suit, I’ve been able to work with great collaborators, like Sam and Zak. They’ve helped  me take songs like  Stage Life and  Disappear  to completely new and elevated levels.   

Speaking to a year of many changes, how do you think the music industry can improve in this time of COVID19?

I’m really glad you’re asking about this. As much as I love making music, the business of music can be really difficult. And right now in the pandemic, the few artists who were actually able to make a living off touring are of course not able to do so.   I think the music industry could do a much better job of boosting independent, talented artists who may not have the perfect marketing package, but I frankly don’t see anyone trying to do anything like that. I come from DIY music culture, and since I’m not seeing it being done, I’m doing it myself.

I’m in the process of building a platform called  Wavculture that will address what is most immediately needed during the pandemic; a simple directory of live-streamed concerts organized by date and genre.  Wavculture will help independent musicians like me get their music heard, and make it easy for fans to find musical gems among all the noise – beyond what’s already popular. From there, I’d like to organize my own super interactive concert live streams featuring other artists.  

What are your future goals and hopes for 2021? 

I plan to release my third album with Sam, “Out of a Dream” LP, and launch Wavculture, the concert Livestream directory I mentioned.    I’m also working on and hoping that Sam’s final solo album will be properly released. One of the things that really hurt Sam before he passed was the difficulty in making a living off of music despite his incredible gift; because of this, I will always fight for the musical cream to rise to the top in a sustainable way for artists in 2021 and beyond.

Quickfire Tips:

Website: https://www.katierush.com
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/
Instagram: Rachel Vancelette @rvancelette
Website: www.vanglobalart.com

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