Kate Cosentino

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015

Singer-songwriter and Blue Valley West High School student Kate Cosentino already, at 16 years-old, has an impressive list of musical accomplishments. She has performed widely in and around the Kansas City area, including the Kauffman Center and Fox 4, as well as in Nashville. She also has a growing body of work and mature approach to her craft that belies her age. We're happy to share Kate's music and videos with you on Listen Local.

Tell us about you and your work.

I am Kate Cosentino. I'm 16 and a sophomore at Blue Valley West High School. I love playing video games, making art and music. I've always had a love for music and am a huge bibliophile/logophile, so writing has always been a passion of mine. I've been playing guitar and singing (formally) since the first grade. My music is a conglomeration of all of the styles I listen to, jazz, indie, alternative and pop being the most prominent. I like to write songs because they're art for the ears. It's really beautiful to me that I can write a song that means a certain thing to me and means something completely different to someone else. People are really important and fascinating to me so whenever my music touches someone in some way, it's the most surreal experience. That being said, I write a lot of serious story songs but I've also written songs about Batman and Indium, so I do laugh once in a while haha.

Where have you performed?

I have performed at Take Five Coffee Bar, the Italian Festival, KC Superstar, several different fundraising events, the Vivano Variety show, on FOX 4, Old Shawnee Pizza, the Commodore in Nashville, the Kauffman Center in the opera Turandot and several others. On January 30th I'm releasing my new EP, Smart, with a concert at RC's in Martin City and everyone is invited!

Describe your songwriting process.

Most of the time when I write, a lyrical idea of subject just randomly hits me. After that I'll vamp on the guitar and just start singing until I come up with a melody and the words flow out right. Then I add and edit and add etc. On the other hand, if i'm not struck with an idea, I will sit down and brainstorm. I come up with a bunch of little things until something sticks. Typically if I figure out a prompt I like, I'm pretty speedy and creative!

How do you balance school with songwriting?

School and music have gotten a little harder to balance as I've hit high school. I'm involved with a lot less school activities and devote more of that time to music. I also incorporate music into my school day by taking choir and teaching myself theory in Gifted or study hall. I'm fortunate that I don't struggle very much at school so I can devote a lot more time to music.

Who are your musical influences?

The one artist who truly inspired me to start writing was Regina Spektor. I'd never heard anyone do such creative things with their voice and write the weirdest, most unique songs. And they just WORK somehow! I think she is really phenomenal. I also really enjoy Bombay Bicycle Club, Nellie McKay, Snarky Puppy and the list goes on and on. Witty lyrics, risky moves and just pure art really keep me going.

Kate's Recommendations:

1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

I am a huge fan of this classic book. I am also a language nerd so reading a book containing its own language (nadsat) got me hooked immediately. The questions this book raises about violence, crime, the treatment/rehabilitation of criminals and human morals and motives captivated me.

2. Scranimals by John Prelutsky

This book was my favorite growing up. Sometimes I still check it out for the nostalgia of it. I love the artwork and the creativity of this book. You get taken on an adventure to this crazy new world and I love it every time.

3. Dovey Coe by Frances O'Roark Dowell

I read this book when I was quite a bit younger but it really stuck with me. I'd never read something written in this way and I really felt like I was inside the mind of Dovey Coe. It was cool to see her grow up as I myself was growing up. Plus the story is really unique.

4. Short Term 12

I originally saw this movie on Netflix but was very excited to see it was offered at the library. This movie really moved me because it displayed how regardless of your age, you can still have emotional problems and still be haunted by the past. It also had a great message of how important it is to care for other people and to be kind.

5. Mary & Max

I watched this movie of recent as I am a huge fan of claymation. I really love how creative the animation is, how creative the characters and set are and how unlikely the relationship between these two pen pals is. Oh and of course Phillip Seymour Hoffman. End point.

6. Making Sense of People by Samuel H. Barondes

In a nut shell, this book deals with the science of how our personalities form backed by several experiments and studies. I loved reading about our memory in particular and how sometimes we alter our memories based off of how our personality and beliefs are currently. Definitely makes you think!

7. Lazaretto by Jack White

One of my favorite albums and favorite writers. Anything Jack White, all the time. The lyrics on this record in particular are very fun and brilliant.

8. St. Vincent by St. Vincent

Annie Clark is an inspiration to me in guitar, music and fashion. She is zany and wicked smart. Definitely worth a listen.

9. Invisible Stars by Everclear

One of my favorite things to do is to pick a random album from the library and leave it in my car, making it the only thing I listen to as I drive. This was one of the randoms and it was very different from hat I typically listen to. I really enjoyed the singers voice, the vibe of the music and the crazy lyrics.

10. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It shows that people are gifted and smart in different ways. It constantly gives the reader riddles to solve. This book brings out the genius in everyone and also the adventurer.

Bryan V.

Written by Bryan V.

Fun fact: I once met a guy who met Captain Beefheart.