DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Kathryn & The Soul Engineers | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Today’s Doorstep Interview comes from soulful diva Kathryn Lowdon, whose band The Soul Engineers launch their new EP at Hoochie Coochie on Sunday 21st February.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
I’m Kathryn and I’m a soul singer, writer and performer from Newcastle.

What inspired you to first start making music?
Listening to my Dad’s old record collection when I was knee height. This was where I was exposed to Johnny Cash, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, The Pogues and Dolly Parton from such a young age. My Grandads were both jazz singers so I also grew up listening to Nat King Cole and many of the greats. I also had an inspirational piano teacher who taught me Elvis’ greatest hits at the age of eight. It was really playing the piano that got me hooked.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I’m generally influenced by strong and talented women who sing like they have four lungs! I am in awe of Aretha Franklin for her soulful presence, Ella Fitzgerald for her quirky style, Billie Holiday for her tragic delivery and Dinah Washington because she was often underrated but I think she could sing jazz and blues with equal brilliance. I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Eartha Kitt simply because she was crazy.

How would you describe your sound?
My sound is soulful, hooky and outspoken. A lot of my music is based around blues, gospel and soul which is where I started off. My music has often been described as tales of triumph over adversity.

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?
I’m not sure because this is such as early stage. I think my music and especially my on stage performance is very different so it is hard to pigeonhole me.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by you?
My life performances are very different from the record. I have different live arrangements for which I collaborate with my musicians to work around my movements. I really spend time working through my unique interpretation of lyrics so my body responds naturally to their meaning on stage. Performance and delivery are very important to me and I want that to be perfect for my audience.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?
I have a launch gig on Sunday 21st February at Hoochie Coochie in Newcastle which one of my favourite venues in town. Tickets cost £5 and it tends to be a lovely crowd. I can’t wait to perform there.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?
We are relatively new as a band but out greatest achieve is definitely this EP.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?
My major challenge has mainly been through record labels trying to change my sound or push me in a direction that I wasn’t happy with. I think the creative process is very individual for each artist and we should all be free to explore our art without external pressures. I also have strong socialist principles and I am quite committed to making sure my band get paid a living wage which can be shockingly difficult to negotiate in the wide world.

Kathryn & The Soul Engineers play Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle on Sunday 21st February.

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