How to have a Beatport number one with Katherine Amy
Euphoric, electronic music has been a passion for ICMP vocal alumna Katherine Amy ever since she watched Brit flick 'Kevin and Perry Go Large'.
But, from these comic beginnings, she’s become a serious proposition as a dance music vocalist thanks to a combination of determination, hard work and willingness to collaborate.
Such hard work has begun to pay off in spades of late with Katherine hitting the top of Beatport’s trance chart with her track 'Let It Burn' , made in cahoots with producer Darren Porter. We caught up with this alumna to find out more about her musical career and how she found herself at the top of Beatport's hit parade over the summer...
How did you get started in music?
I remember from a young age dancing and singing along to my dad’s records, a bit of Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson, and I would always imagine I was singing to an audience. However, the music that had a real impact was trance - it sounds silly but I remember watching ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’- it had such a good soundtrack!
I heard this one track ‘Adagio for Strings’, a remix of an amazing classical piece by producer, Tiesto. I just found it so emotive and euphoric; it’s probably the tune that has had the greatest influence on me.
Which artists are your biggest musical inspirations?
I’ve always really liked a group called Above and Beyond. I find their music so moving, and when I write I try to make my melodies as impactful as I find theirs. For vocalists, the one lady that stands out to me is Tina Turner. I was working in Spain and one night after a gig I went to this cosy little bar, they were playing a DVD of one her concerts. I knew she was good before but that night I just sat there and watched in awe, she has so much fire and energy and it comes across so naturally. I always aim to inject that much passion into my own performances.
What drew you to electronic music?
I like upbeat tracks, music that makes me feel good and makes me want to move. I don’t know why but I much prefer the sound of synths rather than live instrumentation and I love lush, emotive chord progressions which is probably why I have a real passion for trance, a genre laced with layers of melody and harmony. I also love the groove and energy in tech-house and house music.
Congratulations on your Beatport number 1 - could you explain a little about the track, how it came about and the inspiration behind it?
I’d met Darren, the producer of the track, a number of times and when he said that he was looking to collaborate, I knew I had to move quickly. I had a few ideas already written so sent them across the next day. Luckily Darren liked them and got to work building a track around one of the vocals. He lives in Germany so the whole process was done online - we Skyped and shared ideas, I recorded and edited the vocals in my studio, made a few alterations to the melody and sent them across. I wish I could say the lyrics were inspired by some grand event but to be honest it’s not a personal recollection! When I write I start with the melody, sometimes the words just flow from there, other times I have a specific message in mind, on this occasion the melody dictated the lyrics.
What other projects have you got lined up?
I am chatting with a few producers - I just need to get writing some new ideas! My plan is to continue collaborating and build upon that. I also want to do more live work, I have a few gigs coming up in the next few months including an acoustic performance of my dance tracks, and I’m looking to start up another project where I can branch out into further genres.
Which musical collaborations have been the most rewarding for you?
I did a track with The Thrillseekers that was named ‘Progressive Pick’ by Armin Van Buuren, a well renowned artist/label that I have been a fan of and followed for years. That was a proud moment and totally unexpected.
Reaching the top of the Beatport trance chart with ‘Let it Burn’ was amazing but it’s been people’s reactions that have really made this track a bench mark for me. The feedback and support has been so positive and watching the reaction when it has been played at events has been unreal.
How did your experiences at ICMP help you prepare to enter the wider industry?
ICMP music college was a place where I felt I could progress, being around people, both students and teachers, who not only shared a similar passion but also really believed that it was possible. There was nothing like that when I was growing up and so to come and be part of an institution that supported my aspirations and helped me see the possibilities really put me in the right frame of mind.
For anyone contemplating studying at ICMP, what would you say?
There is so much that you pick up along the way - not only in the lessons but also from spending time with teachers active in the industry and sharing experiences with your friends.
ICMP creates a positive environment for you to practice and prepare for real life situations but with the guidance of people that have actually experienced the things you are working toward.
Have you any advice for new and emerging artists?
Listen to 'Let It Burn'.
Visit Katherine Amy's website for more information.
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