Talented, friendly and inspirational. These are the three words that come to mind during my time with West Australian musician Kate Hindle. With the release of her brand new EP ‘Ready For the Ride’ on Friday, and after a challenging 2017, Kate’s music career couldn’t be any better right now.
21-year old Kate grew up in Collie, a small country town in Western Australia. From a young age, she knew that music was for her. Beginning with piano at the age of 7, Kate and her parents realised her talent for music. “My mum put me into guitar lessons when I was 8. Once I was really getting the hang of it, I started to sing whilst playing the guitar when I was 9”. From there, Kate’s career started to evolve, learning more instruments along the way. Kate tells me during our phone interview that she can play the bass, drums, mandolin, ukulele and the penny whistle. “I was in a Celtic band for a little while”. I can hear a smile on her face when she tells me that.
Of course once she perfected her instruments, she began to write songs, well dabble with silly lyrics as she puts it. But one day she wrote a song that she was proud of. She penned the song at 12, called it ‘Unknown Love’ and even recorded it, though the recording is no longer available. But it was in that moment that Kate realised her potential as a songwriter. “I realised that I could write about family and things happening at the time.” She is now a full-time singer/songwriter.
Around the same time that she wrote ‘Unknown Love’, Kate really began to see music as a career. She had heard about a school, Senior College of Country Music (formerly Camerata Country Music School) and aspired to attend. But unfortunately for Kate, at that time they weren’t taking applicants that young. But being determined, she started working hard to achieve her goals, eventually ending up at WAAPA. The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts offered Kate a position when she was 17, something that she is immensely thankful for. “From there I attended the Junior College of Country Music on a scholarship in 2014 and the next year in 2015 I received another scholarship for the Senior College”.
After graduating with her music degree from WAAPA in 2015, Kate released her single ‘My Home’ on iTunes, which made it into the Top 40 Country Music Chart. But her star was only just beginning to rise. In 2016, Kate finished in the top 10 of Autralia’s highly prestigious country music competition, the Toyota Star Maker. 2016 also saw Kate perform at big music festivals such as the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Gympie Muster and the Mildura Country Music Festival. In 2017, Kate visited the Tamworth Country Music Festival once again, this time performing with Golden Guitar award winner Travis Collins.
From our interview, it’s clear that Kate aspired to live in Tamworth from a young age and that aspiration turned into reality. “Living in Tamworth was a dream. I was pursuing my career as a country music artist.” Kate was making a name for herself in Tamworth for a year, when her world started to slowly crumble. She had her heart broken, but that was the least of her worries. Kate’s ever increasing back complications would suddenly put a halt to her career.
Kate had a spinal disc push through her spinal canal which almost paralysed her and caused her unbearable pain. But through her darkest days, and her doctors telling her that all her pain was psychological, Kate remained as positive as she could be. “One day the negativity just pushed me to go ‘You know what? I’m gonna get through this and I’m gonna prove to you that it’s not in my head. I’m gonna keep positive. Keep pushing everyday.’” And Kate continued to have that mind focus until one day her bladder stopped working. Suddenly the doctors realised the damage to her body. Her injury was affecting the nerve to her bladder. Following successful surgery in Newcastle, Kate was finally starting to get better but moved back to Western Australia to be closer to her family.
Although Kate’s spinal injury hasn’t stopped her, it did cause her to miss out on a few massive gigs. But Kate found inspiration in what she had been through to write music. “Being in a wheelchair really brought this determination that ‘I really want this’ and I got to write about the really positive journey. I get to write about what I’m feeling and how it affects me and music is definitely a remedy of mine.” So whilst she was in hospital, Kate started to create lyrics for a song to a melody that she had had in her mind for a few years. Kate penned the lyrics ‘I’ve gotta learn. I’ve gotta try to keep getting by’ and thus became her track and eventual EP title ‘Ready For the Ride’.
Releasing on Friday the 19th January, the EP features 7 tracks; 4 originals and 3 covers. “All of the songs that are on there have played an important role in my journey,” she tells me. There’s a song from Canadian musician Anne Murray who has always uplifted Kate. Another cover is from country music legend Slim Dusty, who’s Bush Balladeer style has always inspired Kate’s music. The last cover is Patsy Kline.
Kate co-wrote 3 songs on the EP, and penned the remaining track solo. “The songs just symbolise life to be honest.” There is a track on the EP titled ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ which Kate co-wrote with fellow WA musician Johnny Taylor. “It’s about an alcoholic, which isn’t about me, but I just expanded my songwriting skills for this song and I thought it was very important and kind of about my journey.” Kate also co-wrote a song with Felicity Urquhart in Nundle, New South Wales. The song is titled ‘Loneliness’.
Once Kate had written several different songs for the EP, she travelled three hours to Perth to meet with Mark Donohoe, the co-producer of the EP. “We started doing demos. We worked out which songs would make the cut and which wouldn’t.” After looking at different options for the feel of the album, the two decided that the album would be positive and one that people could relate to. Mark Haggerty Jr., a drummer, joined Kate in the recording studio, an experience that she describes as “an honour. He put a twist on some things which was awesome,” a twist which Kate feels actually made the songs better. Kate also worked on the guitar lines with Tamworth musician Rusty Crook for two full days. “We worked on the guitar, the mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lead guitar. All of it.” Kate tells me that Rusty had a big input into the album, doing an incredible job. The producer Mark then put the bass line down and then spent the next few weeks tweaking the songs. “I then went back to record the, let’s just call them, end vocals. We spent the next few weeks recording harmonies and mixing and checking the balance of everything.” A long process indeed but Kate assures me that it was all worth it.
With the songs recorded and mixed, Kate was nearly ready to produce the album. But before that she had to come up the artwork, something she did herself. “I sent it to one of my friends who is a designer and she fixed it all up for me.” The CD was then ready to be manufactured, ready for release on the 19th January.
As my phone call wraps up with Kate, her gentle voice tells me about her busy year ahead. She’ll be performing 13 gigs over 10 days at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, then touring with her friend Trevor Tolton to Victoria before spending a weekend in South Australia performing. They then head to Western Australia, performing at a country music festival there. She then heads to Bundaberg, Queensland for another festival “I have 4 festivals within the first 5 months of the year”.
As Kate thanks me for the interview and I thank her for the time it’s not hard to see why Kate is so popular. With over 3,500 Facebook fans, Kate’s friendly nature and inspirational talent creates a real country music artist that I think so many people can relate to.
Talented, friendly and inspirational. This is how I describe Kate Hindle.