Today we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Cain.
Katrina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been singing since I was really young, and had my first public solo performance at age four. That’s how everybody’s story starts, I know. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, and there’s nothing else I’ve ever wanted to pursue.
I was involved in every musical opportunity I could find growing up but they were all classically based. I had no idea how to form a band and zero understanding of the actual music industry. I would go to my choir and orchestra rehearsals and then go to my musical theatre rehearsals, and then come home and try to write songs like Tori Amos, which probably just turned out weird.
I decided to go to college for music and got my degree in Jazz Studies. After that, I was gigging fulltime, and eventually spent a good amount of time in the studio doing commercial work and jingles. I loved studio work so much, but all the rest really wore me down, and I knew I had to start doing original music somehow. I started a band and started writing music. We performed all over Texas and Louisiana and played awesome shows like SXSW. We opened for Phantogram and Com Truise once at a smaller festival and it was a super cool experience.
Pretty soon after that, I was contacted by casting for The Voice and ended up on Season 15. Reality TV was a wild experience and led to me finally pursuing my own solo music, with my husband as the producer and sound engineer because I was way too broke to book a studio. I’m so grateful to have such a cool partnership.
Other than Andrew (my husband), I’ve had no real support, in that I’ve never had a manager, agent or any label support. It’s about as indie as it gets. It can feel really frustrating to not have anyone advocating for me or for our music, but it also has been such an incredible learning experience and so much fun. I’m grateful to have a lot of support from those listening to my music- and that’s what it’s all about anyway.
Now we live in LA, and I am basically starting over- I don’t know anyone, I don’t have any of the connections I used to have in jingle singing or in the gigging scene. It’s honestly incredibly scary but it’s a move I should have made years ago. I’m happy to be here now, and I’m so grateful for all of the good things that have come my way and those yet to come.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggles I’ve experienced mostly have to do with not having a team or any kind of financial support. It’s so expensive to be a musician, for so many reasons. I’ve spent my life savings on recording costs, on touring, on broken instruments, on new gear, and once on PR which was overwhelming, to say the least. While others have retirement funds, my husband and I build up (and quickly deplete) accounts for “music stuff”. I don’t regret it at all, but when you don’t have label support or even management, it’s a full-time job to even get shows booked or tracks mixed, and you have to have a full-time job to pay for it all.
I wish that college had taught me more about the industry, but my school focused on theory, technique, and pedagogy. I’m lucky to have been able to study and receive so much information, but it left me bewildered and lost and is a big part of why I floated around settling for wedding gigs instead of bigger opportunities for so long. I didn’t even know how to copyright my songs or become a member of a PRO until after college.
After deciding that I had to learn more and move out of that tiny town, we packed up and drove three days to LA. The journey has been amazing and I’ve learned so much about myself, about marriage, and about people in general. But, it has also been a really exhausting process to re-establish our lives.
It’s really lonely when you don’t know anyone, and even more so when you have a dream that isn’t easily attained- there’s no step-by-step, we’re just figuring it out. Sometimes, it actually gives me hope that I’m not unique, that I’m 1 out of probably millions who have moved to LA for a dream, if only because it means there are more lonely people looking for their dream and for new relationships to learn from. I’m here and you’re here and we’re all in this together. I hope that my experiences, both painful and joyful, come out through my music and I hope others can relate and feel less alone.
As difficult as all of this has been, it has been incredibly satisfying. At the end of the day, I’d regret keeping my passion hidden more than I’d regret spending all of my life on it, whether I fail or succeed.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a songwriter, a vocalist, and a piano player… I love studio work and writing. Most of all, I love being an artist.
I consider myself a pop artist, but I’ve had multiple random people describe my music as “some kind of electro-folk”, which I take as a compliment. I think it stems from the fact that my song forms often end up being very folk or even country sounding. I write a lot of “story songs”, they’re usually super sad or at least melancholy, and they’ve got a pretty straightforward form without a ton of buildups or drops. However, the instruments and production are decidedly pop: we use drum machines and synths, 808’s and snaps, and tons of plugins and vocal effects.
I used to call it “sad pop” but now I call our music “melancholy pop”. I don’t want people to be sad listening to it, I want listeners to feel like it speaks to them and I want them to end up hopeful. But it’s easier to write about your setbacks than your victories, so I try to have happy endings to my songs, even if they’ve come from a dark place.
This is me as an artist, but as a working musician in the more “corporate” world, I’m your everyday working musician. I play piano and sing at fancy hotels, restaurants, and corporate events. I love every jingle I have ever had the pleasure of singing. And I learned to love playing weddings because it meant supporting love of all kinds.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m extremely excited about my upcoming EP, “Promised Land”! I can’t share the exact release date yet, but it’s planned for the end of 2019. Every song is about my experience so far being the new kid in town, and the struggles that go along with putting your art above everything else.
We’ve (Andrew and I) have lived with these songs for so long, I’m mostly just looking forward to finally being able to share them.
Other than that, you can catch me at shows around town, and putting out little snippets on Instagram from time to time.
- Website: www.katrinacain.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/katrinacainmusic
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/katrinacainmusic
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/katrinacmusic
- Other: www.youtube.com/katrinacain
Mike Ferreira, Kirk Stauffer