Twenty-six-year-old songstress Kate Walsh on touring with the charming Mr Nutini and why she couldn’t keep up with pubbing it with Mick Flannery.
Was it always music or has your life gone down another path at any stage?
It’s always been music. I started learning piano aged five and never looked back – I’ve been very lucky in that sense. I have plans to use my music in other ways in the future, such as in music therapy and teaching, but it will always be music I’m sure.
You’ve said the music industry is “fickle, selfish, impersonal and backstabbing”. How do you maneuver your way through such an environment?
It’s very important for me to surround myself with genuine, caring people, and so far it has kept out the rats, so to speak. You need to be sure why you’re doing music, not for the money or the fame, but for a genuine passion. And if you find like-minded people to work with, you can’t go far wrong.
You’re currently living in Brighton; is that home to you or are you still an Essex girl at heart?
Brighton is definitely my home now. I’ve been here five years and am now putting some real roots down. My parents are still in Essex but I don’t think for much longer, so Essex will be an important part of my past but not my future.
What are your connections with Ireland?
My grandfather came from Mayo, and I still have family there. Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to get over to the area but am planning to in the not too distant future.
Do you get to spend much down-time with friends and family?
I’m lucky that I have a lot of time at home – touring takes me away for stints at a time and then its home for a good while. I love cooking and walking the dog to relax and riding my racing bike makes me smile.
Best memories of touring?
I spent a month touring America with my old tour manager a few years ago. It was the most bizzare, amusing and tiring experience, which I’ll never forget.
You toured with Mick Flannery recently. What was that like?
Mick and his band are all really lovely, and his audience was so appreciative of my music. Everybody made me feel so welcome but I tended to leave them to it when it came to the bars, I couldn’t keep up…
Every girl wants to know – what was it like touring with Paolo Nutini?
Paolo is lovely; a very intelligent and funny guy who was obviously born to do what he does. He’s very grounded too; it must be quite hard to deal with the fame and success at such a young age, but he’s just like you and me, and he’s obviously extremely handsome!
What are you looking for in Mr Right?
There’s no man at the moment; I’ve got far too much on my plate right now that if anyone did come along I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Mr Right would have to be Mr Right Time – it’ll happen when it’s supposed to.
Career plans for the foreseeable future?
We’re releasing this next record and we will see how we go with it. It’s hard to get heard out there at the moment but we will try, I’m just going to see what’s around the corner…
What’s your ultimate goal?
I just want to be happy like everyone else. My values are changing as I get older and my life is becoming much simpler as a result. We will just have to see what happens; it’s much easier if I can stay in the day as much as possible instead of wishing and dreaming my life away.
What is the biggest difference between life as a struggling artist and life as an established and respected musician?
I think for me the biggest difference is flow of creativity, for certain. There’s nothing like a struggle to get your creative juices flowing.
Is becoming famous everything it’s cracked up to be?
It’s nice to be recognised for your talent but I would hate to lose my anonymity when it comes to things like going to the supermarket or walking the dog.
What do you put your success down to?
I owe a lot to the team around me; my manager Jonathan and my producer Tim – they’re both pretty pro-active and do give me the occasional kick up the backside when it’s needed. I tend to have my head stuck in the clouds sometimes. These days you need to be very hot on the online front and it’s not really my forté, so that’s when my manager comes in – he gets everything done that I just can’t get my head around.
What does it feel like to wear all your innermost feelings on your sleeve through your music?
People ask me this a lot; my lyrics are so personal and you can nearly always tell exactly who and what I am singing about. I’m always very honest with my emotions, but it’s the only way I know how to write. It’s my therapy, the way I deal with what’s going on in my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Having the confidence to do things your way and not follow the crowd takes a lot of courage; did you make a conscious decision to just do it – or have you always done things your way?
I think I just have to be honest with myself throughout and if something doesn’t feel right, I have to change it. Nowadays, you have to be all singing, all dancing to be successful in the music industry and I don’t really have it in me to be ‘the entertainer’ so we look for other ways around it, more like going in through the back door.
Kate Walsh is the only unsigned artist ever to have had an iTunes No.1 album in the UK or US. She’s had several big syncs on US and UK shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and her single ‘Your Song’ was featured on the 2008 film ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’. Her fourth album ‘Peppermint Radio’ is out now.