Interview

Katy B

Representative of the kind of artist Katy has been allowed to become over the six years since the release of her debut single ‘Katy on a Mission’, her new album Honey boasts collaborations with Kaytranada, Craig David and Major Lazer, D Double E, Jus Hus, Four Tet, Floating Points and Novelist. All this points towards an artist that’s gaining recognition on both sides of the Atlantic and still has one foot in the club and another in the charts. We catch up with the South London songstress to talk childhood dreams come true and the power of collaboration.

What was the working process like for the latest record working with so many collaborators and producers?

Well this project started off as an EP – I wanted to do something collaborative where I would have a different producer on every track – with it coming out kind of in between albums and I had festivals coming up where I wanted to perform new material but I enjoyed making it so much we decided to turn it into an album. It was just a great chance to work with loads producers I really loved and I really enjoyed making it.

So with someone like Kaytranada, was that a connection you already had or did you send him ideas..?

I just kind of hunted him down at a Mad Decent Block Party in, like November 2014, and then managed to get his email address. I had some beats I sent him and we just kind of stayed in touch since then really.

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And, it’s got to be asked, how was working with Craig David?

Yeah, it was amazing! He’s so lovely and so talented. Hearing him recording in the booth, his voice is like honey – a pun, there you go – and it was a bit of a dream to work with him actually. It was really funny, the other day, we needed to know his date of birth for something and I actually remembered his date of birth from when I was a kid! I’m a Taurus and he’s a Taurus – his birthday’s on May 5th and mine’s on the 8th so I just always remember being like. ‘Oh Craig David’s birthday’s really near my birthday!’ It felt a bit creepy that I knew his birthday and star sign but that’s how much of a Craig David fan I was. I was chuffed to have him on the record.

What’s the writing process like when you work with so many different people? Is that something else you collaborate on?

On that particular song with Craig [‘Who Am I’] I’d actually written for Major Lazer’s project but when I started to put this project together I asked if I could have it back! But because it was originally in a different register, Craig wrote his own verse. It’s often fitting bits and pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle.

In the 5 or 6 years since you released your first single have you felt any great sense of change in the industry?

What’s changed? I don’t to be honest. With what I’m doing, especially because it’s been my first three albums, I felt like I’ve just been trying to establish what I’m about. And I feel making these albums has allowed me to do that. I still kind of still feel like the same girl I was when I started… kind of. I guess I do have a few more responsibilities now.

And do you feel like over the course of making those albums you’ve always been allowed to do what you want to do?

Oh definitely, I have to give credit both the labels I’ve put my work out on. I’ve been allowed to experiment with the way I write and definitely been given a lot of freedom. I sent an email actually just the other day to the head of Virgin just to say thanks to them and Rinse to allow me to do my thing. To be honest I only know how to be how I am and if I’m not allowed that it’s not going to work.

What can you tell us about I Wanna Be?

It’s produced by Chris Lorenzo, who’s from Birmingham, which is probably my favourite place in the UK to go out raving at the moment, and when I heard the beat it just felt floaty and calm but still with great energy. It’s really just about liking someone that you haven’t been able to tell yet, so hopefully there’s a few couples out there who have got together yet and they’ll listen to ‘I Wanna Be’ and they get it on!

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