BBC Introducing favourite, Katherine Aly is a unique talent with a genre-defying style based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Scotland-via-Greece singer/songwriter has already been championed by The Scotsman, Jim Gellatly on The Scottish Sun and Amazing Radio, The Skinny, scores of blogs and Spotify playlists and featured in Vogue Italia. Her releases so far include the singles Glow & Ignite (Single of the Week BBC Radio Scotland Afternoon Show) and Pariah, whose anti-discrimination video got nominated for Music Video of the Year by the Weekender Mag. Katherine is chosen to be part of the Wide Days' Talent Development Programme 2022 ahd she's gained airplay on national radio as well as stations in the United States of America, Canada, France, Spain, South Africa, Hong Kong and as far afield as Australia. She also got nominated for Best Female Artist on the Online Radio Awards 2020. Her debut album Shadows Are Made Of Light Too, funded by Creative Scotland, is out on 10 June and it will be celebrated with a launch party in Edinburgh at Sneaky Pete's on 17 June.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
My absolute pressure! I did a lot of 'behind the scenes' work while taking a break from social media at the beginning of the year but I'm now officially back and ready to share A LOT of content with the world!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
I listen to a lot of different styles of music and that influences my songwriting. When I launched as a solo artist, having been a band prior to that, I was listening to a lot of art pop and experimental pop and this reflected on my first releases. Then I go into post-disco, electronica and synth pop, which is the direction I took with my most recent releases. One of the best feedback I get for my music is that every single is somehow better than the one before and I really like that! I like keeping my audience on their toes :)
Tell us more about your newest release!
Hype Up is the rockiest song I've ever released, if you can call it that since it's very guitar driven although still with many electronic elements. It's a song about dealing with loneliness and even though I wrote through my own lense it during lockdown, I've had people telling me that it resonates with how isolated they felt in high school or even how it reminds them of how old people deal with feeling imprisoned in their own homes. It's a sad song but it's very dynamic and I'm very proud of it.
How did you come up with your latest project?
I had some songs I was working on and initially wanted to release an EP but I just kept writing! Then I was honoured to receive funding from Creative Scotland in order to be able to deliver my vision of the songs I was producing musically and visually. This project has been in the works for 2 years and I'm very pleased I'm finally about to share it with the world with the release of my debut album ''Shadows Are Made Of Light Too''.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Greece but I've spent a big part of my life abroad, most recently in Scotland, where I settled in order to focus on my music career.
Where do you live now?
I'm based in Edinburgh although I'm in Glasgow a lot for rehearsals and hanging out with my band!
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Definitely! The music scene is really strong in Scotland and that was the main reason why I wanted to move here. In this country I've been given opportunities I'd never dream of back home, such as being part of the Wide Days' Talent Development Programme 2022, which I'm feeling very much honoured to have been selected to attend alongside some really strong up and coming artists also based in Scotland.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
It was more of a calling; although I never got a music education, I remember myself being musical since I was a child. It's a hard path to go down and that's why it took me a while to accept that this is what I'm here to do, but when I finally did it made me feel complete and in the right direction.
How do you want to shape your career?
I just want to tour tour tour! There's nothing like sharing your music with the world, at least for me! I love the songwriting process but ultimately I write to be able to play so for the future, I'd like to be on the road more than I currently am.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
I am a very organised person, very uncommonly organised for an artist so I always try to work as much in advance as possible. Also the fact that I am a solo artist means that I have about a dozen people I work closely with, which can be tricky to coordinate if not planned ahead. Thankfully I have no problem with that whatsoever, I like my tight timeline with little breaks here and there to recharge!
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
The title of the album, ''Shadows Are Made Of Light Too'' is taken from a spoken word bit I do in one of the songs called Pariah and it's for the underdogs, those who feel or being perceived as broken, those who are marginalised, those who are or feel or being perceived as being on the dark side of the moon; it's a reminder that there's power there too and just like we only see shadows because of light, that state of ''enlightenment'' is inherently within all of us no matter how deep in the darkness we might find ourselves in.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Oh yes especially for an overthinker like me!
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
I really do, that's why I feel like I could never write for another artist... or maybe one day!
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
Streaming platform of their preference! Although a wee save on Spotify and a comment on Youtube go a long way for emerging artists like me - wink wink!
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
Most recently someone shared Hype Up on IG saying they will start a campaign for me to represent Scotland in Eurovision! Delightful.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
I'm very excited to be showcasing at Wide Days on 20 May in Edinburgh! It's part of a music convention that attracts people from all over the world and I'm thrilled to be part of it as one of the selected artists for their Talent Development Programme I mentioned earlier. My band and I have put together a very special show and we're looking forward to presenting it to the world!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
Aside from the showcase I'm also launching my debut album at Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh on 17 June, a week after its official release on 10 June! I'll be playing festivals in the summer too so do keep an eye on my socials so you won't miss a thing!
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you!
Thank you for this interview Katherine!!