In this exclusive interview, we have the pleasure of speaking with a remarkable indie musician who has embraced music as a lifelong passion and career. They take us on a captivating journey, sharing the inspiration behind their musical pursuits and the challenges they have faced along the way. From an early age, music played an integral role in shaping the life of Kat Orlando. With records, radios, and TVs as constant companions, she was deeply influenced by the sounds and rhythms that filled her world. It seemed only natural that her love for music would eventually lead her to pursue it as a career. Despite trying her hand at various jobs and even earning a degree in graphic design, music remained a constant force in their life, pulling them back time and time again.
However, Kat Orlando aims to convey themes and messages that touch on both personal and universal experiences. Recent works reflect the world’s current events, channeling frustration, anguish, and suffering into songs that offer insights into how to maintain hope amid adversity. Her earlier compositions were more autobiographical, delving into the complexities of love and loss. She also injects a touch of happiness by dedicating songs to her husband, inviting the audience into their joyful world.
We are left inspired by the unwavering passion and resilience of Kat Orlando. Her dedication to her craft and unwavering commitment to creativity shines through in her captivating music. We eagerly anticipate Kat’s future endeavors, eagerly awaiting the growth and success that lie ahead of her.
Can you tell us about your journey as an indie musician? What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Music has been a part of my life since I can remember. As long as there was a record player, radio and TV in my life, it affected me. I listened to 45s given to me by my relatives that had jukeboxes in their restaurants. I watched Motown and rock bands on all the dance shows, how they moved and sang. Since songs were always running around in my brain, it seems natural that I would do it for a living. In fact, after many jobs, other career attempts, a degree in graphic design, music jobs seem to be the constant.
How would you describe your unique style and sound as an artist? What sets you apart from other musicians?
With all the Motown rock funk and R&B I soaked up over the years, I think it comes out in my music. Add the sax and flute and there is an added jazz element. For me to attach a genre to it is tricky because it’s very much of a blend. As a woman who sings and plays, I think that in itself makes me sound unique. I was taught by a jazz bebop guy so his approach to music affects my playing and phrasing.
Could you share some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an indie musician and how you overcame them?
You name it… I was too young, lately, too old, too black-sounding, too white, “How will we place your music?”, “Don’t play, just sing.” “don’t sing, just play.” I just never let these things stop me. The challenge still is how to get it out to the listeners without having the big money push that national artists have. Then there is the challenge of how to turn music into dollars with outlets like Spotify. It’s a double-edged sword; your music is out there but they’ve devalued it to a ridiculous level. I still curse the guy that started Napster.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach songwriting and composing music?
Something tends to inspire me like a performance or song and I have to sit down and play on the keyboard. This leads to a chord progression which leads to me putting a beat, melody and lyrics to it. Every so often melody and lyrics come first. I put my ideas into my phone or Garage Band. Hopefully, it makes its way to the studio.
Are there any particular themes or messages that you aim to convey through your music? What inspires your lyrics?
More recently I’m affected by things going on in the world today. I’d like to think I can turn frustration, anguish suffering into insight on how to be hopeful while still feeling a driving beat or hearing beautiful chords and melody. My earlier songs were more autobiographical. Songs about losing love. Then there are my songs “about Larry”, my husband and these are the happy songs about love. I announce my songs like that when we perform them. People seem to love that.
What are your long-term goals as an indie musician? Where do you see yourself and your music in the next few years?
I hope to keep growing as an artist musically and in the business aspect of it. I’d love to have a show with a larger band, backup singers, and a horn section. That’s more of an ambitious goal that maybe I can pull off while I still have the energy. I hope to not be put off by the hurdles of getting music out with limited resources or outlets. I have to keep the creativity flowing no matter what. I appreciate the exposure and support that I do have. Thank you for sharing my story here.
About Kat Orlando
Fascinated with the talents of artists like Herbie Mann, Jethro Tull, and Traffic, she began taking lessons and playing the flute at the age of 15. She was also influenced by the singing of Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Grace Slick. She studied
with Jazz Bebop Sax Player George Keith. As a songwriter she is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder and Prince. Kat recorded 6 albums, Happenstance: Scenario II
in 2018 which is a follow-up album to her previous release Hypothetical Scenario in 2017, both produced by Grammy-nominated Maurice “Pirahnnahead” Herd. Her most recent EP “There I Said It” was produced by (gospel-influenced writer and vocalist in his own right) Gayle Brannan. Kat Orlando Band performs in the Detroit area. She also performs in Florida along with guitarist husband Larry Pinho. Her songs are currently on all major online outlets.