Interview with Mrs. Kate
Let’s pretend you’re writing an article or a report about Mrs. Kate and her music. You sit down on the sofa in my living room and begin asking questions.
Reporter: Mrs. Kate, when did you start singing?
Mrs. Kate: In grade school, I sang in the church choir.
Reporter: Do you remember the first song that you wrote?
Mrs. Kate: Yes, it was called the "28 Blues". I sang it at an open mike at the Ice House in Pasadena. I was scared stiff!
Reporter: When you write a song, which comes first, the lyrics or the melody?
Mrs. Kate: For me they usually come at the same time. I hear music in words when I pronounce them. A musical sounding phrase will start going through my head. I sing it over and over again. If it sticks in my brain, I’ll know it’s a keeper. The chorus is usually the easiest part; then come the verses. A bridge can be rather tricky; creating a great one is a huge joy! My tools are pencil, paper, dictionary and rhyming dictionary. After the song has simmered in my mind for awhile, the next step is to grab my guitar and work out the chords. I spend a LOT of time editing my work until every word, phrase, syllable and accent are perfect and singable.
I have no formal training in music. I took piano lessons as a child, and only remember a few basics of music theory. I write only when I get inspired, not every day. My songwriting talent is a gift from God. I am so glad He has allowed me to use it to bless so many people.
Reporter: Do you believe that anyone can write a song?
Mrs. Kate: The only way to find out is to give it a try and see if you can!
Reporter: How many songs have you written in the past 40 years?
Mrs. Kate: I wish I knew. Someday I ought to count them. Over 300, at least.
Reporter: Where do you get your ideas for your folk songs?
Mrs. Kate: Usually from experiences in my life. For instance, I wrote Lima Beans, Homemade Bread and Ode to Leftovers while I was cooking in the kitchen. The Picky Eater Song came to me after I ate a cricket in Thailand. My grandchildren also inspire me. Talk to Nana started out as a ‘pass the baby’ song. I wrote Orderly and Organized to inspire them to clean up after themselves. Wanda the Wiper is a true story. Listen and laugh along!
Reporter: When did you begin writing gospel music?
Mrs. Kate: I became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1972. I was so filled with my love for Jesus that I wrote a song called Sitting on a Hillside. The chorus goes, "Oh Jesus Christ, it feels so nice to know that You love me.”
Reporter: How do you get your ideas for your gospel songs?
Mrs. Kate: I read the Bible every day. Often I will get an idea for a song while I am reading God’s Word. For example, The Sluggard Song is composed of all the scriptures I could find in the Book of Proverbs about lazy people. Apart from Me was inspired by John 15:5. Others, like Armor of God, were written as theme songs for camps.
Reporter: Did you have a hard time making the transition from a gospel artist to a folk artist?
Mrs. Kate: Yes, I struggled with it! I thought that God songs were the best and folk songs were second rate. Then I realized that no matter what genre I was writing in, God would be pleased if I did my best and did it all for His glory.
Reporter: You seem to be right at home on stage, performing in front of thousands of people each year. Is there anything you don’t like about performing your songs?
Mrs. Kate: It used to bother me when I could not get someone to smile while I was singing. Not so anymore. I’ve learned that a person can be smiling in their heart, while keeping a straight face on the outside. My pet peeve is when a kid is playing a computer game on his/her electronic device in the middle of a show….and people are talking instead of listening. That and pulling the velcro on their shoes!
Reporter: You put a lot of energy into your performances. Do you ever get tired of singing?
Mrs. Kate: No, not really. I love my job! Even when I have to sing the same song over and over again, I realize that THIS audience hasn’t heard it and try to do my best.
Reporter: Do you ever get scared singing in front of people?
Mrs. Kate: Not any more. I am a people person. I love performing. I enjoy making people happy and getting them to interact with me. Involving my audience, getting them to sing along is very important to me. I always hope that God’s love will shine through me in every song I sing.