I love talking with musicians about songs, songwriting, lyrics, records, recording all of it. I also enjoy talking with musicians about cooking, movies, books, travel. I think most musicians and music supporters are big hearted, kind and compassionate people. Maybe, it’s just a side effect of music itself. When I asked Katelyn Convery if I could interview her, the first thing she did was read through the other interviews and reply with a message about how much she enjoyed them and how inspired she was by the replies already online. She already had the job so there was no need to win me over. But she wasn’t trying to win me over, she was honestly moved by what the other musicians had shared. Katelyn was showing that she’s part of the team. We all love talking about this stuff.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon Current City: Cape Town, South Africa
Record Label: Kaleidosound Studios
Most recent release: Coming soon!
Katelyn left her hometown Portland, OR. in 2008 for Seoul, South Korea and since then has lived in South Korea, Spain and South Africa, with her guitar by her side. She has now enjoyed living in the shadow of Table Mountain for two years and plays regular shows in the Cape Town area.
What is your songwriting/composing process?
I wish I could say there was a magic formula! It’s forever different. I think in the beginning, my urge to write would come from something intensely personal. So personal and hard to explain that I couldn’t properly express it to anyone else and I would need to run to the guitar to work out what I was feeling. And, like all early songs, those were pretty much garbage. Currently, it is sometimes a chord progression, sometimes a melody, or sometimes a phrase that inspires me to start writing and fill in the missing pieces. I also have been challenging myself a lot more in the past two years by crafting a song specifically about something outside of myself, a person, an event, or a story in a book or movie. One little process that NEVER changes for any song is that once I decide on a phrase I really love, I start a rhyming list in the margins of my notebook. All the words that rhyme with that word from A-Z that I can think of go there. Even the wacky ones. You never know what will work.
What are you most proud of?
My siblings. They are the best people in the world and I miss them terribly. I’ve lived abroad for five years and have missed so much, but I’ve seen the incredible people they’ve become and they fill me with pride (all three are younger than I am). But personally, I think I’m most proud of myself for travelling and living all over the world, many times completely alone. I’ve challenged myself in ways that I sometimes look back on and can’t even comprehend! One example comes to mind of travelling all over India with a small backpack and guitar for months completely solo! Sometimes in the middle of absolute nowhere and involving a fair amount of hitch-hiking! What the hell was I thinking?!
Has your writing or music changed with the move to Cape Town?
Most definitely. There is a very different music culture here than to the States. People want to move and enjoy themselves, not necessarily ruminate over introspective lyrics. It’s too damn beautiful here for that. I’ve learned to write chord progressions and melodies that are a little more uplifting than I normally do, although the lyrical content may still be heavy. Also, I’ve been influenced by house, trance and African rhythms and had the privilege of working with some absolute giants in the SA music industry. One of these being producer Gabi Le Roux who I’m working with on a folk/house album. There is still so much I want to explore in all of these realms. One of the many reasons this place has me hooked.
What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
The first one that comes to mind at this moment is from ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ by The Beatles: “She’s well acquainted with the touch of a velvet hand like a lizard on a window pane.”
What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
It is SO much harder than it looks! Keep working! Like all careers, you can only be a pro by working hard at it. Start early before all the responsibilities of adult life creep in. As you get older it becomes very hard to justify buying that loop pedal when you don’t even have a couch in the living room yet… Oh how I wish I had known I wanted to do this earlier! But for those who only figure it out a little later, still don’t give up, play with others, watch and learn from others, find out what you’re good at and run with it.
If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Well, I already mentioned the Beatles, but I have to say it would probably be Paul McCartney. I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who knows more about songwriting than that guy! But a VERY close second would be Sia Furler. I could go on and on about her. She has mastered her craft completely. I wish I could be her when I grow up. 😉
KATELYN ON THE WEB
To view Katelyn’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to;
All interviews and Bonus Materials will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.
I truly appreciate everyone that has stopped by, talked about this blog and/or shared with friends. Please continue to share this page and site with fellow music lovers. Next time you’re out at a venue watching music, ask the performer(s) about songwriting, music, lyrics etc. You’ll enjoy it.
Thanks so much for spending some time here, Special thanks to my good friend at http://musicismyfirstlanguage.wordpress.com/ for connecting Katelyn and I.