For a 19 year old singer/songwriter who lives in Los Angeles Kathryn Dean is quite humble in her approach to music. For some in this industry making music is just a way to make money or become famous. Or more commonly, a conglomeration of both. Yet, the more I spoke to Kathryn Dean during our interview the more I realized that singing was as natural to her as breathing. The words she had to share with the public meant something real to her. Multiple times during our phone interview I felt a sort of kinship and growing respect for her and her work as I learned more and more about this budding musician. In a plastic city where only looks are propped up on the cardboard pedestal of falsified glamour and lackluster intrigue, it was a breath of fresh smogless air to see a young woman artist getting as far as she while still maintaining a truthful passion for her form of self expression.
When I learned about Miss Dean I had been intrigued by how much she had accomplished in so little time. Not many freshmen artists can boast that their music has been played on VH1 India, the Norwegian Cruise Lines, the Trump Plaza, Saddle Ranch, Red Rock Casino & Spa and all 59 Fox & Hound’s. And all while they were still in their teens. Success at any age is a monumental thing yet seeing it in her does show that support internally from family and peers is a very important part of gaining the knowledge and success necessary for any industry and if one has that age is no barrier. I would later learn from Dean that her mother was of a great help during her formative years. There are tales of Dean’s mother even entering her into writing contests (that she would later win) without her knowledge. Dean explains with fluid grace that it was her support system that has gotten her this far and what inspires her to continue.
I was interested to see how she acquired her skill to reach an international fan base. I wanted to know if it had been an intended business plan or a stroke of good fortune. I also wanted to know how she came to write music and what inspired her to stay independent even though I was sure big corporate labels were probably attempting to hound her. All of her answers were more telling than the last and they all denoted her strong, beautiful and multifaceted character. Simply, her music and its trajectory was in part a business plan but more of a life endeavor. She had been writing for so long that she decided to make money while doing it. To her, singing is more scary because you are a small fish in a great ocean, but in writing, she believed her chance of success was greater because fewer people were in the industry and it was easier to a foot in. Also, Dean worked with people who liked her music. She kept people around who believed in her vision and wanted to see it happen as much as her. This is an important lesson for any artist. Dean also reads a lot, works tirelessly and seems to always have her mind busy. She is a bit talented as well so of course that helps! Though she is quite intelligent it is Kathryn’s voice which is the first indication that she is someone to watch out for. Like Amy Winehouse she has a deep bluesy tone that emanates a dreamy vibe that has the ability to soothe, inspire and hide quirky or even a bit scandalous lyrical content.
This easily explains how Dean was able to make music with producers who have worked with Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In and Counting Crows. Kathryn Dean released her debut EP on September 9th, and her first single “I’ll Show You Crazy” went to radio on September 8th. Her song is available on Vevo.com and has over 70,000 views. And if that isn’t impressing enough, Dean’s music has been featured on television, films and compilations. Her originals have been featured on NBC’s coverage of the nationally televised Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Special in 2013 and CBS‘s The Young and the Restless. She has been twice selected as a semi-finalist in ReverbNation’s Un-Signed Only American Song Writing Contest and is an International Acoustic Music Award recipient.
Beyond her production commitments Kathryn has found the time to continue her passion for philanthropy where she has been involved with various charities. She has been participating in and leading events in San Diego since her early teens. She serves as a high school peer counselor and academic tutor. She also volunteers for animal fostering and adoption, child care and summer camp at her local church. If you are interested in fun and soulful music with a meaning, look no further than Kathryn Dean.
Article by: Marissa Mireles