She's one of the hottest women in music at the moment, so as Katy B releases her debut album 'On A Mission' this week, Gigwise caught up with the London star to see how she's coping with all the attention.
Here she talks about the record, touring with Tinie Tempah and her plans for the forthcoming festival season.
How have things been recently?
“I’ve just got off tour with Tinie Tempah. He’s so friendly and lovely it was a really great couple of weeks. I learnt a lot off him and his tour really inspired me. We did around eight dates but they were all quite big venues. The first gig we did was in Manchester to an audience of over 3,500 and I was like this is mental. Me and my band had been rehearsing all week and then suddenly we were in front of this massive audience.”
You had a pretty crazy 12 months – how have you found all that?
Really good, I enjoy being busy. I can’t moan especially when it’s doing something that you love you don’t really notice it as much. When my first single did so well in the charts that was such a shock for me. If I ever knew when I was recording ‘Lights On’ and ‘Katy On A Mission’ that they were going to get such a good reception it would have freaked me out. I never wrote them for that purpose, I wrote them just for the clubs and for my mates.”
How did you find the crossover into the more mainstream charts?
“I made all my songs for the clubs, so the fact that it went further than that is defiantly wicked. It’s allowed me to do loads of amazing things, like tour with Tinie Tempah and work with loads of amazing artists.”
When did your passion for music and writing start?
“I learnt the piano when I was really young. When I first started listening to Alicia Keys I used to steal all her chord sequences on the piano for my own songs as I didn’t really know too much about the structure of songs and stuff. After that I went to the BRIT school. I learnt a lot there, the fact that I was surrounded by some many talented people really helped me. There were loads of musicians and bands so it taught me to be really creative, they have their own studio so it felt like you could do anything and it gave me real drive.”
How did you start doing your own material from that?
“I started recording a bit whilst I was there. The kind of things that were available for me to do were singing on people’s beats and making music in their bedroom. If anybody needed a grime hook or lots of house and garage stuff then I’d get involved in that.
“I was into a mixture of music whilst I was growing up which helped me get into writing my own stuff. I was really into RnB like Destiny’s Child and Mary J Blige. At the same time there was loads of pirate radio with really big British tunes.”
Katy B - 'Broken Record'
When did you start work on the debut?
“It was around the time I finished at the BRIT school. I was writing and recording stuff and it was getting played on pirate radio. That’s how Rinse heard me and they were going to do an album where they were going to get all the producers together and I was going to sing across all of the different tracks. Then slowly it turned into my own album whilst I was at University.”
Do you enjoy writing?
“Yeah I love it. Usually the beats of a track give me the starting points, I work with a lot of producers so they give me a skeleton of a beat first, then I try and work from there. What ever feeling I have at the particular time it end to write about, I’ll put on my headphones really loud and go back to a certain place in my head and think of something that makes me want to dance.”
Did you have a set idea in mind of how you wanted the album to sound?
“I wanted to use a lot of electronic and dance beats with a real club sound. I guess once you see your tune in a club making people move and having a good time it’s quite an infectious thing. So I think I got that bug and thought I want to carry on doing this.
“I worked with a wide range of producers on the album including Magnetic Man, Zinc and Genius which really helped give the album a mixed sound.”
You worked with Ms Dynamite and Magnetic man on the album – how did that come about?
“I’m managed by the same people that Magnetic Man are managed by so that’s how that hook up came about. Then Ms Dynamite was in the same studio at the same time I was and she really liked the song so she wanted to be involved. I supported Magnetic Man last year which was really cool. I was really the only girl on that tour which was odd.”
What do you make of the UK talent in the music at the moment?
“I don’t get down to Ford as much as I’d like too but there’s so many new talented artists around at the moment. It’s a good thing to keep people on their toes with new sounds and beats.”
Busy year ahead?
“Yeah it’s going to be crazy. I’ve got the album out and then my own headline tour in April going into May. Then it’s summer and loads of festivals to do this year which will be amazing; Wireless and LoveBox should be really good ones and of course Glastonbury.”