Behind the Song
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Kate Magdalena is an independent singer-songwriter out of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, whose songs have been aired on country radio nationally. Most at home in folk-pop and adult contemporary, 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 (Boston) as one of 2020 Women to Watch: Best Female Independent Artists, and her recent album “The Water Is Wide” was just awarded Best Album in the Adult Contemporary genre 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 original songs crafted from well-loved poems like “The Waking,” (nominated for Best Song, Social Justice 2020 W.A.M.) “Sea Fever,” and “Cloths of Heaven.” On this album is also Magdalena’s song “Backstory” about some of what we are witnessing now; the song was nominated for a W.A.M. Award in the social justice category.
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! Rich, soulful, provocative. I write music to inspire, heal, and awaken. I am particularly moved by Celtic music, but my genre is somewhere between Americana and country.
When you are writing a song, where do you draw inspiration from? Or what topics do you like to sing about?
I wish I knew that. Inspiration is a most fleeting creature, and of course must be captured when it arises. In the past few months honestly I have not been as inspired as usual to write. But I draw on my notebooks, my journals, and current events bringing about songs that must be heard. I also just might get inspired by a bed, a groove, or the work of another artist, or even poet. I have put many poems to music. On this particular album, there are three poem songs.
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy reading, playing music, planting flowers, and bringing my country back to its independence and freedom.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? Or is there a song that means a lot to you that you can describe for us?
The most emotional song I have ever written is My song for the homeless, #StreetsOfAnyTown. BWH Music has already released this song on one of their radio shows. This song came to me as an inspiration when I was visiting Nashville for the first time. I had an encounter with a homeless man, and the next morning the title was there, the streets of any town. The song followed like a river flowing through me. It was one of the most joyous experiences of my life.
What was the first song or piece you ever wrote!? The first song I ever wrote is one that’s actually on my first album, and it’s called #StarsWhenYouAreOld. You can hear it on Spotify, and it’s quite a beautiful song actually. I wrote it just singing through a poem by WB Yeats, and then finally recorded about 10 years afterwards. The poem by eights is called #WhenYouAreOld.
What is your dream gig? Is there a gig that you really want that would be the ultimate show for you?
Oh there really is, I have in my mind large audiences, thousands of people and singing opening a show for a big artist. With a wonderful band put together by the great musicians that my producer knows in Nashville. But now with the current situation, those remain dreams only.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
After the release of this album #TheWaterIsWide, I released a Christmas LP with six Christmas carols, and then next year we are working toward the release of yet another album. I’m hoping to get back to Nashville, to complete the recordings. But that remains in the hands of something larger than myself. I’m also working on a new song right now, but I just love called #GreenUponGreen. It’s about the seed in your heart finally coming into balance with life, and the land of Ireland.
Tell us where fans can access your music.
Stream on Spotify.
For more information on Kate Magdalena's website.