If you just wasted no time in flipping right to this section of Buzz, then you may recognize the level of enthusiasm Kate Hathaway holds for music. “I make music because I enjoy nearly every aspect of it more than anything else that I’ve experienced thus far in life,” she says.?”Through its constant challenges and infinite directions, music breeds a creative push that will always intrigue and consume.” Like many around town, Kate finds herself happiest taking a path that calls for a full workout of her creative energies. For her, this means writing songs and performing them either with a full band or alone with an acoustic guitar. Kate feels “especially privileged to be ultimately in control of the songwriting and musical direction” of her projects-although she is quick to point out the appreciation she has for the creative input of her bandmates, Vince Murphy (bass), Mike Carberry (drums) and Phil Alley (guitar).
In order to make a strong personal commitment to her music career, Kate has been forced to put other parts of her life on hold. She has taken a break from her studies at the University of Illinois, opting instead to dedicate herself to her first full-length release, Sprout Don’t Pout. Her time away from classes last year allowed her to fully immerse herself in the recording of the album, paying attention to details that she might not have had time for otherwise.
Music will continue being a full-time passion this fall, when she plans to begin touring in support of the release. “I think I’ll benefit a lot more in the coming months when I’ll be able to have the time to book a tour myself, and actually have time to go out on the road and experience what it’s really like to be a touring musician.” Her plan is to book shows in markets around the South and the West Coast, such as Memphis, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
This tour may be her first extended time away, but she has had more than a taste of playing outside the Champaign area. Recently, she has played at two Chicago venues, Elbow Room and Uncommon Ground. She has also put on shows in St. Louis, Carbondale and as far south as Austin, Texas, where she had the opportunity to open for Fastball.
In truth, Kate’s music career can be said to predate all of these recent experiences.
“I recall at a very early age being surrounded by the music of my parents,” she says.?
“I remember summer road trips with my mom and siblings to Arizona. Constantly, the car roared with singalongs to the likes of The Beach Boys, Carly Simon, The Beatles, Janis Joplin and more.” She learned an early example of the power of music on one of these trips to the West: Her mother once avoided a speeding ticket by explaining to the officer how the radio (and family singing) were so loud that she had lost track of her speed.
Musician family members also played a part in introducing Kate to the guitar at age 13. Even as she was still learning to play guitar, Kate made attempts at using guitar as a path to songwriting. By her senior year of high school, she had already begun putting her original works into performance.
When it came time for college in 2002, Kate was looking forward to the music scene in Champaign-Urbana. Coming from nearby Rossville, Ill., she was already aware of the area’s venues and history of bands. Since Kate was hoping to begin playing at clubs right away, she was particularly appreciative of the Urbana bars’ age requirement of 18.
Since her hometown of Rossville holds a population of roughly 1,400, the transition to living in Champaign-Urbana had to have been somewhat daunting at first. She initially found herself encountering many people her age who were experiencing a transition entirely the opposite from hers-that of moving to Champaign from the large city of Chicago. Yet, looking back at the past three years, Kate feels that living and performing among such a diverse group of people has been nothing but positive. The many different individuals who make up Champaign’s music scene have provided Kate with friendships and other contacts that are very important to her. Recently, she was named the Female Artist of the Year in the Buzz/WPGU Music Awards. WPGU and WEFT have both been invaluable in giving her music exposure to a variety of new listeners.
Kate’s next goal is to create interest in her music elsewhere in the country. As she readies herself for this first extended tour, she intends to re-create the same energy she has expended in the many shows she has put on in her adopted hometown of Champaign-Urbana. You can catch one such show at the record release for Sprout Don’t Pout, slated for June 25 at Cowboy Monkey.