Considering her age, Olathe resident Kate Rose is already a confident songwriter and experienced performer with a growing body of work. She is also an accomplished guitarist and singer, and her songs reveal real talent. Enjoy our interview with Kate and listen to a few of her recent songs.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
I'm fifteen years old and a sophomore at Olathe East High School. I've been writing lyrics since I was able to put sentences together. I play guitar, ukulele, cello, and sing. I am an assistant teacher of basic guitar and ukulele at Rocker's Music Lessons (currently, operating out of The Great Mall of The Great Plains in Olathe). I've been singing, pretty much, since I could talk, playing the cello since fifth grade, guitar since sixth grade, and I started on the ukulele about a year ago. After one of my performances at Groundhouse Coffee- I was approached by Michael "Seven" Summers, who is a producer at Strange Music in Lee's Summit. Strange Music is Tech N9ne's label, and they are looking to expand their base beyond rap by engaging with songwriters and performers of different genres. I have, recently, started working with them by writing "hooks" on forthcoming singles that are being produced for artists on the label.
Where have you performed?
I started at a place in Overland Park called The Refuge. Unfortunately it has since closed. Through Rocker's- I played a couple songs at Groundhouse Coffee in Gardner, I did a short set outside Mildred's Coffee Bistro in KC for First Friday in September. I've also played Homer's Coffee House in downtown Overland Park, Black Dog Coffee in Lenexa, and Old Shawnee Pizza in Shawnee, KS. I have future gigs scheduled for Great Day Cafe in Overland Park, and Holy Cow Market and Music in KCMO.
Describe your songwriting process.
I usually start with some random chords and a rhythm I like and then I just sing on top of it. Really, whatever comes out of my mouth until I come to an idea for lyrics that I like. Then I build that idea and just keep singing until I have some good lyrics. Once I've got the lyrics down, I play around with the guitar part a little more. I like songs that speak to me, and I can relate to their message- So, I write songs with that purpose in mind. I want my music to speak to others, and I want them to relate to the lyrics.
How do you balance school with songwriting?
School always comes first. Homework is my first priority when I get home. After that, I block out time to practice my instruments. I play cello in the Olathe East Concert Orchestra- so I need to practice my scales and pieces that are in upcoming performances. Songwriting, and music in general, is a very important part of my life. At school, we actually have block scheduling. On Thursdays, we start later than usual- so I bring my guitar, grab a practice room, and try to write and/or jam with some fellow students. We also have a study hall on Thursday- so, unless I need extra study time, I do the same thing.
Who are your musical influences?
I would say my greatest musical influences are Sara Bareilles, Death Cab for Cutie, Priscilla Ahn, John Lennon, Colbie Callait, Christina Perri, Iron and Wine, Never Shout Never but my music is also influenced by the books that I read and the people around me.
How did you get involved with Tech N9ne’s upcoming album “Special Effects”? and What’s the nature of your collaboration?
In August of 2014, while participating in a recital of students and instructors at Groundhouse coffee shop in Gardner, KS - I was approached by Michael "Seven" Summers, a producer at Strange Music.
Initially, he discussed the prospect of having me write songs for the daughter of Travis O'Quin (the co-founder of the label) and a band that was yet unsigned.
Nothing had come about with the co-writing, but Mr. Summers approached me about writing a hook for Stevie Stone, a rap artist on the Strange Music label. We went back and forth, but the project got put on a back burner- so they could finish Tech's album.
Mr. Summers contacted me again, and asked if I would try writing a hook for Tech himself. They were running out of time, and they still wanted to add a couple songs to the album. I wrote and home recorded a demo of the hook, and it was presented to Tech. He loved it- so I went into Strange Music's studios in December, and recorded the vocal track. I was told that it is slated to be released as a single, and they're going to make a video of it in April.
What will you be performing at the Let’s Get Creative program on April 11?
"You Hold The Power": my song about having self confidence and a sense purpose, but offering friendly support for time when it seems all else has failed.
"And People Will Remember": is about how inner beauty is more important- and what people will remember.
"Pieces": my song about how we're all pieces in a puzzle- different, but needing to get along- so we can fit together.
and until I write a better closing song..
"My Happiest Days" - originally written during the GRAMMY Music Revolution Project as a way to tell my fellow participants how much fun I had, and how I would be sad to see it end- but now I use it to close because each occasion that I get a chance to play is so enjoyable- that I don't want them to end.