INTERVIEW: Katy J Pearson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Two sales. That’s all that stood between Katy J Pearson and a place in the UK’s top 40 following the July release of her stellar sophomore album, Sound Of The Morning. “My label didn’t want to tell me – they thought I’d be upset!” she laughs. Certainly, it takes more than a couple of absent purchases to wear this Bristol-based songwriter down. A delightful interviewee, she raises the stat as just another sprightly anecdote, sandwiched between musings on the magic of antibiotics and her terror while learning to drive on dual carriageways. “I found it quite funny really,” she recalls. “It’s amazing to have got that far anyway as an independent artist. It’s always validating to write songs and actually have people think they’re good!”

Chart misfortune notwithstanding, the new record marks a significant breakthrough for Pearson, whose best-laid plans have rarely progressed without a hitch. After attempting an initial play in music with her short-lived band Ardyn, she seemingly found her calling on debut solo album Return; winning hearts, minds and significant critical acclaim – only for its release to fall during the cursed year of 2020.

“Because the first record came out during lockdown, I felt desperate to have another body of work to go on tour with,” she recalls. “I love Return, but there are songs on there that are five and six years old; I felt that for my own mental health I needed something new to mix with.”
Lusciously arranged, packed with ebullient hooks and spearheaded by Pearson’s distinctive vocal chime, Sound
Of The Morning has struck an even brighter chord, drawing legions of fresh admirers and going down a storm during appearances at Glastonbury, Green Man and Latitude. Having begun the album’s press release by stating ‘Katy J Pearson would like you to know that she is not a country singer’, the fact it’s also dispelled some of the more rankling preconceptions has only sweetened the deal.

I want to write rock songs. I want to write pop songs. I want to write country songs. I want to write them all! Why can’t they all be on one album?

“There are so many things you get pigeonholed as – especially as a female artist – but my styles and songwriting are very eclectic. This time I thought ‘Fuck it: I want to write rock songs. I want to write pop songs. I want to write country songs. I want to write them all! Why can’t they all be on one album?’ I didn’t necessarily realise I had that freedom on the first record.” So does Sound Of The Morning represent the holy grail – the archetypal ‘album she’s always wanted to make?’ “Not really, to be honest. I don’t think I’ll ever fully know what my sound is,” she admits. “I’m a songwriter first, then I think about how things should sound stylistically afterwards. It’s the way I’ve always done things – it’s fun and liberating, but also a massive headfuck!”

Rarely short of inspiration, Pearson is already plotting Sound Of The Morning’s follow-up – but first there’s the small matter of an extensive, largely sold-out September UK tour. “I’ve been playing with this band for three years now, and I definitely feel my gigs have progressed to another level,” she states. “I used to love partying on tour, but this time we’re doing it sober – I’m 26, and I just can’t hack it! It’s a crazy job, but I’m doing okay. I have regular counselling…I think that helps me!”

Katy J Pearson plays The Cluny,
Newcastle on Sunday 18th September. Sound Of The Morning is out now.


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