When you think of the Mile-High city, you think Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos but there is one woman in town that is bound to make waves bigger than that of Mr. Manning. Katey Laurel is a fun-loving, horse riding artist who expresses herself within her music. Katey’s music ranges from radio-friendly tunes to lush cinematic songs for movies and television. Her instrumental talent isn’t just focused solely on the guitar, she also plays the classical piano and the french horn.
She’s played venues across the United States including the world-famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee which gives you an indication of the caliber of artist she is. She’s also shared the stage with Howie Day (Collide) and many other artists who have made a name for themselves.
Her awards and nominations stack up as well including the Walnut Valley Festival New Song Winner, Tucson Folk Festival National Finalist, Great American Song Contest Finalist, NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Southwest Regional Finalist, Texaco Country Showdown Southwest Regional Finalist, and the International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist.
Katey was happy to answer a few questions about her journey as an artist
I’m All Ears: How did music become your passion?
I have a few defining moments as an artist, really.
One was when I was five and we were at a family friend’s party…she started playing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess on the piano and instantly I knew I wanted to play music, so I ended up taking piano lessons from her.
Second, I played French horn in school and I used to sneak into the empty gym sometimes after school and play haunting melodies like “O Come Emmanuel” and it would give me goosebumps to hear it echoing off the hard surfaces – that’s when I really knew I was a music geek.
Third, I found out that I loved sharing music in a community setting with other people in the audience at church in high school, and felt that giving a gift of performance to the congregation gave me far more than I’m sure it gave them – that’s when I found I loved to perform and share music with others that way.
Fourth, my best friend in college bought tickets and we drove across a bitter cold eastern Indiana and Ohio winter landscape to Cincinnati to hear a little band called Over The Rhine play their Taft Theater Christmas concert. I was hooked by the intensely emotional and spiritual experience of songs that they bring to their shows, and I knew that was what I wanted to try to do too.
I’m All Ears: What is your focus as an artist?
Katey Laurel: My focus as an artist is to write honest songs that capture what I want to say about life as it happens (sort of an ongoing journal) and to inspire people with the underlying message of hope that seems to permeate most of what I write.
I’m All Ears: What are some of your accomplishments as an artist?
Katey Laurel: It’s really hard to measure accomplishments in the arts and music in the same way that most people measure success in the business world. My biggest accomplishments really are hearing from listeners how a certain song impacted them in a life moment or helped them get through something difficult.
As far as the business side is concerned, I was really stoked to have my song “All The Way Home” played in Starbucks around the globe and finally make it onto Pandora (both of these tasks took five to ten years of encountering closed doors, so they seem like bigger accomplishments when they finally came through).
Of course, some recognition and validation in the form of winning or placing in song contests or getting placed in film and TV or played on radio is satisfying to my type A goal-oriented side, but really, creating good songs is rewarding in and of itself, that’s why I keep creating even when it isn’t that financially successful.
Take a listen to Katey Laurel’s music below:
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