Kate McGill Interview


Singer/Songwriter Kate McGill

Plymouth singer-songwriter Kate McGill hadn’t the faintest clue what she was letting herself in for whenat age 17, she uploaded her first video to YouTube, but fast-forward four years and the talentedself-taught musician has now racked up over 128,000 subscribers and uploaded 100 videos. DYRT caught up with Kate just before she set off of her UK tour and released herdebut single, Replaced.

For people who‘ve never heard of you, how would you describe yourself and who you are as anartist?

I‘d say I‘m someone who‘s very organic and home grown. I haven‘t gone down the giging route, I‘vedone it all myself through YouTube and a very small team. I‘ve quite shy when it comes to it, I lovesinging and writing but the actual gig aspect of it isn‘t my friend (laughing)

You got to this point in your career using a less than conventional route—adding video‘s toYouTube—what made you do that? Tell us a bit about your journey so far?

I had recently got a new keyboard, as hadpreviously been using my dads old one, and wanted to show my friends that I could play and sing asong, so decided to record and upload it to YouTube so they could all see it. It was genuinely just forfun at first..I had no idea what YouTube could really do, that someone on the other side of the worldwould see my video.

It wasn‘t until I started getting YouTube commentsthat I realised WOW people are watching what I‘mdoing, then in summer 2008 my manager Charliegot in touch ..it was quite funny as I had initiallyignored him as I wasn‘t sure if he was for real ortaking the mick.. Thankfully he was persistent.That year I also entered a competition to open forLady Hawke in London.. At that point I realised Iwas going to leave uni, where I was studyingtheatre and performance, to pursue music as acareer.

How did your family feel about you leavinguniversity to attempt a career in music?

I‘ve been very lucky in the fact that my parentshave always supported me. I was expecting themto be like ―Oh you‘ve quit uni blah blah, but theyhaven‘t, they‘ve been amazing.

You‘ve said previously that you love the You-Tube platform as there is no middle man, it‘sjust you and your fans. Do you worry thatnow you‘re a signed artist you‘ll lose that?

No because right at the beginning I made a pointof saying that I always wanted to be the one writingon my twitter, YouTube etc—I always want tobe in direct contact with my fans. I‘m never goingto lose that, it‘s too important to me.It‘s the best part of what I‘ve done and how I‘vegot here, getting to chat with individual people,seeing what they do and don‘t like. I‘ve created areally close relationship with the people who‘vesupported me and in a way, its like they getto know me and when we meet at gigs Irecognise them.I really, really value that aspect of thingsand don‘t ever want to compromise that.

You‘ve just shot the video for yourdebut single, Replaced.. How was that for you?

It was a very nerve racking thing, I don‘tmind singing but video‘s aren’t‘ my forte..Itwas an amazing but slightly strange experience,laughs Kate, but I‘m really happywith it. I had a lot of input into the conceptand we all worked together to make it amazing.

Tell us a bit about your album?

I started co-writing towards the end of 2008 andrecorded in LA with music writers such TedBruner (Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Kesha) andCurt Schneider, who has written songs for folkartist Lissie. They were so amazing to workwith, they took my ideas on board and reallylistened to me. It wasn‘t just a hit making factorywhich I‘ve heard happens a lot..They reallyhelped to make it easy.The album has a new sound to it. I wanted it tobe easy to listen to but be pop music with atwist..I‘d describe it as having detailed, intricate,interesting tracks.

Is there advice that you would give to otherarising artists or people aiming to start a solocareer?

I‘d, obviously, advise them down the YouTuberoute. It‘s so easy and because there‘s nomiddleman, you don‘t get told how to write it orwhat to look like. You can just be yourself andcan literally upload a video from your bedroom.“I didn’t even knowwhat a subscriber was.”“I didn’t think anyoneother than the people Ishowed it to would eversee it.”Replaced is out now and available as alimited edition CD from Caffe Nero and as adigital download from iTunes.