Kat Kiley, with a soulful tone similar to artists like Jewel or Miranda Lambert, recently brought her own brand of alternative music to The Parlour as part of Motif’s Between the Notes podcast. Kiley’s skilled acoustic guitar playing is accompanied by lyrics that are equal parts relatable and poetic, and her emotions shine through the darkness that haunts everyone sometimes. In this interview excerpt, she shares a bit about her musical journey both as an artist and as a member of her band the Young Guns, and talks about what it’s like being a part of the music scene in Block Island and Providence.
Skylar Batz (Motif): You and I have known each other for a quite a while, and this is going all the way back to Girls Rock – or, Riot, now. It’s been a while, and I’m standing over there singing your songs. And I’ve heard this song at least 150 times – at least! How does that make you feel when people are singing your words?
KK: It’s crazy! I hope to hear it more. Like the feedback on my first EP was amazing, and I didn’t expect anyone to listen to it at all. My aunt was saying she was listening to it in the car with her husband, and he was like, “Who’s singing this song? It sounds really good.” And she was like, “This is Kat.” And he was like, “Oh my god, what?” And it was crazy that I come up on people’s Spotify discover – it’s so wild to see.
SB: Yeah, I love when you’re walking down the street and people are like “Oh, you did that thing!” And you’re like “Yeah – that one. I did that one.”
KK: I’ve been working and singing with a band on Block Island during the summer ever since I was 14, and I get that a lot there while I’m waiting tables – because I work so many jobs out there. I’ll be in a big rush and they’ll be like, “Aren’t you the girl that sings down the street? Are you old enough to be working here?” And I’ll be like, “Yes, I can assure you.”
SB: Is it different playing at shows here than on Block Island?
KK: Yes, I feel like on Block Island, people come and wanna hear the kinds of songs they want to hear. The kind of people are usually there for only a week, so it’s kind of part of their ritual for staying on Block Island. But I think when I play out in Providence on the mainland, people aren’t coming expecting to hear something from me. So I have more freedom to play whatever I want.
SB: How do you find your creative aspect? Like “No Man’s Land,” where did that come from?
KK: “No Man’s Land” is the first song I ever wrote – ever. I was in high school, and my friends were in a big fight, and I was at the same time, learning about World War I. And I felt like I was in the middle of the fight, and I was watching a documentary about World War I (because I had to), and they were talking about how No Man’s Land is the part that’s in between the two sides of fighting, and it got totally decimated. It’s the part that was the worst – like nothing grows there anymore. And that’s kind of how it feels to be in the middle of a fight between any two groups of people. It was like “I love you both, and I don’t want to hurt either of you. And I know you don’t want to hurt me, but this is hurting me so much.” And for me, even though it’s kind of a small, childish situation, it lent itself to be more in the way that I think about it. It can apply to a relationship – or lots of other things.
Listen to music by Kat Kiley on Spotify HERE: https://open.spotify.com/artist/78a4OFsFIPR47QWKv9WItm?si=Gxu0l6jRRli5CyOVJlBFug. Find Behind the Music on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.