OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Artist Q&A with Katharine Timoney
Katharine Timoney is one of the brightest stars of the Northern Ireland jazz scene. With a smooth and incredibly flexible voice, reminiscent at once of both Billie Holiday and early Amy Winehouse, she blends cabaret-style jazz singing with a winning openness of expression, and was a winner of this year's BBC Platform Award in the Jazz Category sponsored by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Ahead of her performance at The Signal Series on 30th July, we spoke to Katharine about the expressive drive behind making music, the power of melody, and everyday inspirations.
Q. What motivates you, as an artist, to create music?
I've always been around music. I grew up in a household where music was played morning, noon, and night. My dad is a musician and big on collecting records so I was spponfed everything from jazz, blues, motown to rock'n'roll at a young age. I started performing and songwriting as a teenager which brought about hte motivation that's in me still, the desire to express myself and be creative. In 2016, I made my first album Man of Mine, and I can remember listening to the band play my songs for the first time - it was just so much fun! I knew then I wanted to make music for a living.
Q. Who or what inspires you at the moment - be it in music, arts, politics or your personal life?
I'm really inspired by lifetime inspirations like childhood movies and my favourite albums. At the minute though, I'm really enjoying podcasts, particularly Desert Island Discs. When I write my own music, it's very much about my personal life - I enjoy making something good from the band and the good!
Q. Can you tell us about a seminal experience, project, or encounter that had a significant impact on your career?
In 2018, I won The Young Musician BBC Platform Award for jazz in association with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. So far, it has been a huge opportunity for me. I've received funding, mentorship from Linley Hamilton, radio exposure and most recently the opportunity to sing my songs with the Ulster Orchestra - definitely a highlight. It also means I'm now able to create my second record due for release in late 2020.
Q. Working as a vocalist with instrumentalists - how do you think about the connection between words and music?
I love singing songs that have got some soul, grit, and heart to them and a strong vocal melody. I think, for me, it's about creating a connection with the audience on stage through the words and music and working with the band to really get the message across.
Q. What direction do you see the music industry headed towards in the next 20 years?
I'm bowled over by what independent artists are achieving today and particularly women in music. I hope that in twenty years the support, funidng and gigging opportunities continue to multiply - it's definitely going in the right direction.
Hear some of Katharine's influences and favourite artists here, along with some of her own gorgeous recordings.