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  • Behind the Song

Kate Magdalena


Kate Magdalena is an independent singer-songwriter out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently Nashville, TN. Most at home in folk-pop, she calls her genre ‘Timely Americana’, as she is inspired to write for the particular times in which we live. Kate was selected by BWH Music, (Austin) in both 2020 and 2021 as a Women to Watch: Best Female Independent Artists, and her recent album “The Water Is Wide” was awarded Best Album in Adult Contemporary in the 2020 W.A.M. Awards. The album, released in August 2020, contains 9 songs of water and land, including the iconic covers “Downtown” and “I Know A Heartache When I See One,” as well as several originals, most notably “The Waking” a setting of the poem by Theodore Roethke. On this album is also Magdalena’s political song “Backstory” about some of what we are now living through. Kate is dedicated to using her music as an art form that can and must bring about awareness, and ultimately change.


For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!!


Shimmering Brightening Beautiful Royal Inspired Gifting Loving Awakening Aware Cosmic


What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.


I love everything about it. I'm just so mad that I avoided it for so long trying to fit myself into other professions, some of which I also loved, but which were never a total fit, like teaching. Loved the kids and the learning, not so big on discipline and correcting homework! But back to being an artist: my favorite part, my very favorite part is writing the song. My second favorite part is recording it with my amazingly perfect (for me) producer Billy Smiley, who manages to get the best from me....it's great to work with people you genuinely like! Performing is something that can be more fraught with anxiety!I actually love doing it, but I'd love to do it under good conditions. My experience performing is more limited than I wish! I look forward to some great experiences performing!


Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?


Tremendously exciting....vibrant....sexy....mystical.....spiritual. No joke. It's my favorite part after the songwriting. I hate to admit this but I really like the sound of my singing voice! So I like to hear it back in my ear, and in fact, that feedback is essential for me to make a great sound. I am convinced the secret to a great voice is in the ear.


Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?


I am an earnest seeker of and delighter in truth. I have spent my life seeking it, and having found it, I like very much to study it. I am an Orthodox Christian, and so I love to pray and read spiritual literature and the Bible! I even love going to my Russian Orthodox Church even though I don't speak Russian! I also can be found unraveling the lies that we are constantly fed by the media, and nose diving to the truth behind it, and then sharing it as best I can. I also adore my husband and close friends, and spend time with them. Nature is huge for me. Exercising too.


Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?


Always Madonna. There is really no one I can even speak of in the same breath. In my opinion, she is the greatest performance artist that ever danced on any stage. Her confidence and her total artistic vision and commitment to excellence are a standard that I now hold against myself. I am so lazy! However, I am horrified by her recent material, dark and demonic. I also admire Britney Spears tremendously. She is also immensely talented. I am so inspired by both of these incredible dancing singers which is really odd seeing as I came into making records singing ballads, and now I want to go to hip hop light rock pop! Isn't that funny?


Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it?


The most emotional.....there are a couple. "A Larger Dance" catapulted me into spiritual ecstasies because it was about the amazing Providence of God. The song was really inspired by meeting my producer. I felt that finally I had a chance to make the music that I always wanted to make. What led me to him was a long series of steps like a ladder, that when taken together helped me to understand something about the mysterious workings of God, and how He weaves our lives like a cosmic dance. "Canyonlands" was also emotional for me. It's a song about the music that inspired me from the 1960s, particularly Joni Mitchell and Crosby Stills & Nash. The liberation of that time contrasted so starkly with the fascism that has overtaken my once free state of California; this was particularly emotional for me to see how in my generation, the majority of the Baby Boomers of the post war, had mis-stepped completely, following instead the very "agencies" they opposed 50 years prior. But then, most of them have no idea that these "agencies" have been infiltrated. I speak of this theme in my song "Backstory" about the shadow government.

Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?


I've got a new album just around the bend, with several new originals coming. I've released several singles from that album which I think is still called "Canyonlands." My husband and I will be spending more time in Nashville next year, and I hope to have the opportunity to both perform, write and record. Thank you so much to BWH for the opportunity to do this interview and to share with you about my work.


Tell us where fans can access your music.


Please direct fans to my website where they can see a broad range of my stuff, plus if they are inspired to connect, I would love them to join my email list to stay in closer touch as releases come, and news develops. My website is katemagdalena.com. Or please find me on Facebook or Instagram as KateMagdalena. It has been a pleasure to interview, so thank you for the opportunity.


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