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The Scarlet & Black

Art Chatz- Katie In

Katie In ’13 has performed on and around campus in a wide range of venues and formats ranging from Singers, Con Brio, Open Mics, Jazz Night to diners at the Phoenix and services at the United Church of Christ (UCC). Future plans include further solo material and the formation of a band with Ethan Kenvarg ’12 and she’ll be playing this Tuesday in Bob’s with Maia Pillot ’12.

You perform with so many different people in so many places, do you see anything tying all of these together?
I do it because it’s not stressful, it’s a nice thing to do for myself. I think singing in groups and singing alone is where I differentiate. Singing in groups gets me working on skills and technique in a team setting. In Singers and Con Brio and the UCC Church choir I have a lot of other singers around me. There’s also a social aspect. In music that I do on my own I have a desire to write songs and create my own stuff. It’s hard for me to decide which to focus on more because I enjoy both of them.

As far as your solo work goes, both in terms of what you’ve already written and what you’re interested in doing in the future, what kinds of content are you interested in exploring?
Right now I’m kind of—not fed up with, not done with, not over—but moving past singing really simple covers and folk songs. I’ve been searching for something I can do that’s a little more interesting, that strikes a chord with me. I’ve been listening to a lot of blues and soul. I don’t know if the connection’s there yet, and I’m still looking for that. I like political music—I think that’s the thing.
Let me put it this way—I don’t want to write songs I’m not satisfied with and for me a lot of that satisfaction comes from writing songs that I know have significant social meaning. Maybe that has to do with me being a sociology major—caring a lot about that kind of activism. Nina Simone, that lady, she’s got it right I think. Can’t do what she did, but I’m trying to find my way.

How do you see people viewing political work at Grinnell?
I haven’t really talked about it with anyone. I haven’t even talked about it with myself that much. I think people would be supportive, but it seems more like a solo thing to me right now. People are really great musicians here and it’s a lot of fun to work with people, but on things like this I kind of have this little baby that I care about and want and I might have to find that through doing more solo work. In the songs that I’ve written that I’ve liked, they come from things I’ve recognized from my own experience. People seem to enjoy them and get them, so it’s not necessarily a personal thing once they’re out there.

Are there unique challenges and benefits to performing at Grinnell?
The music scene, culturally, wasn’t that much of a shock to me. The restaurant I played at in high school wasn’t that different than the Phoenix. I’d done choir previously. A Capella’s different—there’s a vibrant A Capella community here. That’s the other thing, in high school my friends would see me play once in awhile but here it’s really nice to have friends who will ask, “Are you playing Bob’s tonight?” and if I don’t tell them that I am they’ll get upset with me. It’s really great to have supportive friends both who do music and perform with and that watch.

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