|Singer, bassist and songwriter Katie J White is often said to be an old soul – despite her youth, she is a highly regarded veteran of the roots music scene in Western Australia. Originally from the coastal town of Denmark in WA’s south, White has built an enviable reputation across WA and recently returned from a successful 6 months in London.|
From early in her career, White gravitated towards the deep rhythmic feels associated with roots genres such as Reggae and Afro funk – becoming a bassist early on seemed like a natural extension to her musical toolkit as a guitarist and singer.
"I started playing bass when I was 15 - my lecturer was in desperate need of a bassist for my class band” says White. “So I picked it up and have never looked back – I’ve had an ongoing love affair with the beautiful earthy tones of the bass, whether it be acoustic or electric. I really feel that it is the instrument that I am made for.”
White has steadily acquired a reputation as a consummate, multi-faceted performer – a strong singer with potent songs and superb musicianship. Her songwriting is the glue that binds the package together.
"My song writing is not a choice or hobby, it is an essential part of my being” says White. “I learnt at a very young age that life is not always fair, when my father passed away when I was eight years old. From then on, I knew that delving into myself was where the answers lie, and it is from this place where I draw my songs. I also find that the natural world and the divine elements around us are, for me, the most inspiring. Metaphorically, I see correlations between natural phenomena and emotion human life, and this is the most inspiring source of wisdom for me”
Her music is a melange of funk and soul with a subtle reggae flavour. Being a bass player all Katie's songs are heavily rhythmically driven, whilst her powerhouse vocals carry the passion and message right to heart of the listener.
One of White’s most notable qualities is her indefatigable determination to succeed. She is highly regarded and in demand as a roots bassist, having played bass for Mister and Sunbird, Jordan McRobbie and Dilip and the Davs. White has also pursued her solo career as a singer/songwriter bassist and band leader with a single-minded focus, to share her own music and message nationally and internationally.
"I remember the moment when I knew that making the album was a step that I had to take, no matter what I had to sacrifice to get there” recalls White. “Within 4 months of making this decision, I sold all my animals, including 2 goats, my horse and 200 chickens, and gave up my dream reality of living the sustainable lifestyle. I moved into my van and recorded, produced and released my debut album"
Building on the momentum of her album release, White followed up a European contact and decamped on her own to London for 6 months.
| “Taking it to London felt like something I owed myself” she says. “I had worked so hard to have this product and was hungry for a taste of the international music industry. London was extremely challenging but highly satisfying. Although it was initially a massive adjustment, I quickly established familiarity with the rushing underground tube lines and hectic early morning bus routes. I pushed harder than I ever and made the most of every encounter.”|
The expense of living in London eventually drained White’s financial resources, but the experience was unforgettable. An offer to play bass with a popular band in WA provided an opportunity to replenish her savings and rebuild momentum.
“I left with pockets empty, but a heart full of inspiration” recalls White. “I’d played bass for some of London's Afro/reggae legends, who became dear friends, and featured as a solo performer at one of London's top Soho clubs. Returning to Australia felt right when I was called back to play for one of WA's most popular bands, Dilip and the Dav's.
White returned to WA even more determined to succeed on her own terms. She recently worked with producer Noah Shilkin to record her single, Gypsy. This song was born on the road to freedom and independence, in the midst of the conflicting human need for connection and support. Shilkin has managed to capture the essence of White’s music and the result was nominated in two Categories in the 2015 WAM Song of The Year Awards.
Now she has just taken out the 2016 Blues and Roots WAM Song Of The Year Award. The winning song 'River' is the third track of her EP to be WAM nominated, making it a very strong five track EP.
Tasteful, dynamic, contemporary and full of soul is the best way to describe KJW's new EP. Undoubtedly her best release yet, it is the result of collaboration between some of WA's best musicians, producers and engineers. The album was recorded live at the acclaimed Poons Head Studio with Engineer Rob Grant and Producer/Mastering Engineer Sean Diggins in Fremantle WA. Gypsy, the WAM Song of the Year nominated Single of the EP was recorded at Sonic Lolly Studio with Producer Noah Shilkin, in Margaret River. Featuring Scott Kociuruba on drums, Mo Wilson on Keys, Daniel Hearn on Guitar and Katie J herself on electric fretless bass and vocals.
Katie and her band have played all the main festivals in Western Australia including highlight full house performances at Western Australia's reknowed Fairbridge Festival. They have also featured at Nukara Music Festival, Nannup Music Festival and Perth International Arts Festival.
Katie looks forward to sharing her exciting new EP, her best work yet, with more and more people around Australia as she continues to tour her contagious grooves, rhythm and soul, ever determined to see out her destiny......
To listen or grab a copy of any of Katie's releases click here: Katie J White on iTunes