“Music is a form of therapy to me, a way of expressing and dealing with my joys and sorrows. Life overwhelms me, and writing allows me to deal with everything that shocks me.”
Those are KAY’s words, singer/songwriter, keytarist,/pianist, and producer. KAY recently , january 2015, released her ep Heroine. The title Heroine refers to all women, shaped around the Greek mythological Goddesses. While her debut album It’s O-Kay (Kay Music, 2011) was a heady mix of pop, rock, soul, and gospel music, this time KAY chose to produce an electro album and perfrom in a small intimate setting, just Kay (on keytar and vocals) and the drummer. IN the mean time she released several singles, among which the catchy ” Mumbai, I am gonna find you” , co produced/mixed by the famous producer Holger Schwedt.
KAY (Katja ten Dam) studied jazz piano at the Amsterdam School of Arts. She debuted in the 1990s with a solo album entitled Kacha’s World, a jazzy P-Funk album for which she managed to get funk legend Bootsy Collins to put in a guest contribution. She recorded the album amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, but when her US management went bankrupt, she returned to her native Holland to fully dedicate herself to raising her daughter. But it proved impossible for her to suppress the urge to make music and she started writing new songs. Encouraged by George Laks, Lenny Kravitz’ keyboard player and an old friend from Katja’s New York City days, she decided to take up music again and record another album. “I ran into George in the South of France when he had a gig there with Lenny Kravitz. He stayed at my place for a few days, and we did some jamming. I played some of my music to him, and he was so enthusiastic about it that he advised me to keep making music. I thought to myself “I’d be mad not to.” Laks liked her songs so much that he spontaneously decided to collaborate on her album: he plays the organ and the Moog on her album ” It’s O-Kay”.
Her new EP Heroine has turned into a real poppy EDM record, “perhaps somewhat more polished than I am myself. The album sounds groovy, and dreamy, like I am: a bit ethereal, a bit weird. But in the end I am in no way attached to a certain style. The way I produce and compose is the result of years of listening to a wide range of different artists.”
Kay draws her musical inspiration from an array of different artists, ranging from Elliphant to Sly Stone, Joe Cocker to Lamb, Michael Jackson to Lou Reed, Ravel to Nirvana, John Coltrane to Poulenc. But Katja’s main source of inspiration is Jimi Hendrix. “Jimi is my king! That man is music, there’s nothing between him and his music. Whenever he plays, it is so real! He inspires me as a person to strive to become one with my music, very pure. Music is, after all, the most spiritual art form, as you create it from the depth of your purest feelings.”
KAY writes everything herself: music, lyrics, arrangements, and even the backing vocals. “The music just comes to you, often from where you least expect it. It is basically a spiritual process. Sometimes you’re led by a groove, or by a certain melody or sequence of chords.” In her lyrics, that is an important subject. As are people’s motives. “I studied psychology because I’m intrigued by what drives people. Who are you? Who would you have liked to be? Those are the questions I ask when I look at people. It’s almost a kind of clairvoyance; I always manage to get through to people’s core. And that’s what I write about.”
Kay not only wants it all on a musical and lyrical level, she also had specific wishes for the accompanying artwork. She wanted someone who could capture her contradictions in one image: the energetic tomboy versus the introspective spiritual recluse. I wanted the pictures to show who I am, even though that is difficult due to the many sides to my personality. I’m exuberant and serious at the same time, manically cheerful, yet not very optimistic by nature. It all turned out great.”