Kat King
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Kat King

Lawrence, KS | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Lawrence, KS | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Pop Indie




"Introducing: Kathryn King"

They used to say that in the movies, they have leading ladies and they have best friends. Kathryn King is the type of artist who can play both.

The Lawrence songwriter is versatile enough to pull it off. She channels her inner Lisa Loeb to offer emotionally comforting songs while drawing out her own narrative. She played a solo set at the Replay Wednesday night, but more recently she played with a full band at her EP release show (give the EP a listen below). She unloaded loads of new songs while performing solo, confidently, and alone.

King is a proper songwriter that demonstrates a delicate maturity so many listeners yearn for. We’d recommend taking the night off, locking yourself in your room, lighting some candles, and enjoying a bra-free evening as you wrap herself in her tranquil and encouraging songs. Her vocal range and beautiful falsettos are impressive– and they were demonstrated in a well-received Frank Ocean cover she pulled out towards the end of the set (video below).

We see King as a serious musician (she dabbles in other acts around town) who will most likely build up a strong backing band as she continues with her craft. She would pair well with Jessica Paige (of Kansas City) and La Guerre.

Words and photos by Fally Afani - I Heart Local Music

"Day in the Life: Singer-song writer Kathryn King spent four years breaking into the Lawrence music scene"

As a child, learning Mozart and Beethoven on the piano, Kathryn King couldn't have imagined where her love for music would lead her. From playing 100-year-old pieces to creating her own, King has spent her four years in Lawrence breaking into the music scene as a singer, songwriter and collaborator.

King, an Osage City native, has a schedule that includes work in the morning at the warehouse Sophia Global, classes in the afternoon, work again in the late afternoon and then homework.

Rarely does King have time outside of school and work, but on Monday nights she makes time for band rehearsal.

King is a film and media studies major as well as a religious studies minor, but what she really loves about Lawrence has more to do with its thriving music scene.

While King is a solo artist, she lends her talent for guitar, piano and back-up harmonies to the band Spencer Mackenzie Brown. King described her sound as an indie-pop sound and the band as a folk-rock type.

“I actually knew them in middle school and we reconnected when I came to KU and they asked me to join. I joined them about two years ago," she said.

John Benda is an Atwood native who serves as the drummer for Spencer Mackenzie Brown.

“Kathryn is one of those people who can actually play everybody else’s instruments just as well as they can,” Benda said. “It is incredibly easy to work with her because she speaks everyone’s language. She also has a real knack for arranging someone else’s songs, which plays a huge part in the band.”

Writing with Spencer Mackenzie Brown is a collaborative effort. The band contributes to the melody or the song structure and write until they are satisfied. Personally, King said she writes the most when she needs to express her emotions.

“I will usually start by playing my guitar and something will come to me, and I just roll with it.” King said. “Rarely do I sit down to try and force myself to write a song. I just kind of let it happen."

King said she feels the most motivated to write after a hard day or after something bad happens to her. She is able to use writing as a form of self-care and starts writing how she feels and then adds the music.

She said her mother, also a songwriter, is her biggest influence. Musicians she listens to daily include Regina Spektor, Paramore, Tallest Man on Earth and Chance the Rapper. Her biggest influence is Brandi Carlile.

Though getting through school and graduating is her goal, her long-term goals mean more to her.

“Realistically, I see myself in Kansas City and hopefully I will continue with Spencer’s band,” King said. “If things keep picking up like they have been, I’d love to maybe go on a tour. I could see us getting asked to be an opener for someone.”

She said a vision for herself is being able to combine her love for music and her aspiration for films.

“Hopefully I can get a following in Kansas City. And also, I will hopefully be working in some kind of documentary company for my real job," King said.

Whether music ever becomes her career or not, King is already following her dreams with a clear vision for what she wants.

And her go-to karaoke song?

“Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 and Airplanes by B.O.B.," she said. “Oh, and Hips Don’t Lie.”

But, only when she’s feeling ambitious, she said.

—Edited by Paola Alor - University Daily Kansas

"Student Spotlight: Kathryn Berit King"

After focusing on a few different musical happenings around the KU/Lawrence community, this week we're going to spotlight a true talent here on campus. For those of you looking for something new to add to your playlist or if you're an aspiring musician, this might be right up your alley. Kathryn "Kat" Berit King (@kaybe_king) is a sophomore here at KU who is considering a major in Film and Media Studies. I've spent a great deal of time researching her music and I can honestly say, she has a song for everyone. Kat is originally from Osage City, Kansas and music is her heart and soul. I came across this true talent when we moved in just down the hall from each other last year in McCollum and couldn't wait for the opportunity to dig a little deeper and help develop her musical profile.

Like many artists, Kat shared with me a memory that drives her passion. "My first 'Musical Memory' would be when I watched my brother's punk rock band perform at the Granada for a Battle of the Bands! I was in either fourth or fifth grade, but I remember the adrenaline rush I got from that and how badly it made me want to be up on stage."

As you will quickly come to find out, Kat is no "occasional open mic night" kind of musician. She's been writing songs since she was in the third grade and even did a full scale tour this summer that included six states with the band "To Be a Man." Luckily, she was able to do a full scale Q&A that I believe will cover all of the "up and coming artist" questions you may be looking to have answered.

Tell me about your first original song: "Oh man... I used to make up songs all the time since before I can remember. The first song that actually had a guitar part was called, "Add It Up," and I wrote it in third grade. It makes absolutely no sense, but it rocked."

How would you describe your style of music: "This is the hardest questions to answer! I always go back and forth. I think I've finally begun to narrow it down to alternative pop rock/piano pop rock, but I write a lot of mellow ballads."

What are the pros and cons of being a solo artist vs. working with a band? "This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. A definite pro of being a solo artist is that transportation and setting up for gigs is very easy! A con would be that I have to rely on myself to not mess up or butcher a song. Haha! Also playing with a band is so much more fun and there is a loss of the ability to collaborate. I really want a band to back me up though. So if any of you readers are looking to join a band, hit me up!"

Who is your musical idol? Besides my mom, who’s always inspired me with her music and lyrics, I would have to say Brandi Carlile. Her lyrics go deep and she can put things into words so perfectly. Also, her voice has the craziest range and rasp and her stage presence is powerful. I never miss a chance to see her live!

What song/band/artist are you obsessed with right now? "Hmm... I’m not going to lie, Paramore has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve been obsessed with their live performance of “Last Hope” in Chicago. Watch it on YouTube - It’s flawless, seriously. I’ve also re-discovered my love for Good Old War and Manchester Orchestra."

What is your favorite original song? "That’s really tough. I just wrote a new one called “The Ocean is Somewhere” which is my favorite right now just because it’s new and I haven’t gotten sick of singing or performing it – yet. You can find the video of it if you click here ... But overall, I would have to say “Smashing Bottles” that I wrote about 3 years ago. It’s pretty personal, and I don’t think I ever get sick of playing it."

Elaborate a little on what you did this summer: "This summer I had an awesome opportunity to go on tour with the band “To Be a Man” from Minnesota, whose bassist (Christian Schillo) goes to KU. So I took a bus down to Minnesota, which is where we started the tour and we made it to Wisconsin, Chicago, Iowa, Missouri, and finally to Kansas where we did a show in my hometown. I either opened for them or ran their merchandise table if they only had a 20 minute set – except in my hometown show where they opened for me and the band that I put together for that show. It was an amazing way to end the summer, and an amazing experience! Now I’m always feeling a little anxious to get back on the road."

What is coming up for you performance-wise? "I have gigs coming up at Groundhouse Coffee in Gardner on September 27th, an art walk at Prairie Meadow on October 4th, and a fundraiser that will be in November. There’s also a gig at La Prima Tazza in the works, but nothing is set with that yet."

What are your goals for the future? Do you hope to be a full time musician, if not what role are you hoping for music to play in your adult life? "Ultimately, being a full-time musician is my dream. I love performing, writing, and recording.I would love to have a band and be able to tour all over the country and outside of the U.S. Making a living off of those things would be amazing. If nothing else, I will do it as a hobby - music will always be a part of my life."

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? "Such hard questions! I’m answering for both. Dead would be Ella Fitzgerald because she was an amazing jazz vocalist, and singing with a jazz band/group is a fantasy of mine. Alive would either be Hayley Williams or Brandi Carlile. Or Regina Spektor. Or Beyonce… This is too hard."

If you could give one piece of advice to those struggling with the role that music is playing their lives (having trouble kick starting their career, trying to find time to give to their passion) what would it be? "STAY MOTIVATED! That’s an issue I come across sometimes. For some, music will always just be a fun hobby that you can just do when you feel like it. If you’re serious about it though, you have to stay motivated."

1. Go to as many concerts as you can and keep notes in your head of what’s working and what’s not working? How do they engage the crowd? Always be working to make your performance the best it can be.

2. Keep writing, especially when you are feeling inspired or sad (hard times are the easiest times for writing).

3. BE SOCIAL. The biggest part of whether you’re successful or not is if you can build a fan base (or a bigger “friend base”). Connecting with people is huge.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as a musician? "Staying motivated. It’s easy to give up because the music world isn’t easy, especially if it’s what you want to do full time. Managing your own marketing can be draining. I just have to remember that just because it’s tough doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Anything is possible."

Who is your support system? "Friends and family of course. I’ve been lucky enough to have siblings/family members who have backed me up as my band and who are very encouraging and motivate me. My friends are also awesome. They help promote my shows and music and they sing along to my songs – in fact, some have helped me write songs. One of the coolest and most inspiring moments is when you see people singing along to your songs."

So there you have it! I encourage you to give five minutes of your time and look into this chick a little more. She's got a lot to offer and it's even cooler because she's a Jayhawk just like some of us! I can't get enough of the music that just surrounds this community, we rock!

Below are some links to her social media pages that include places to preview and download her music:

Her Website



(All photos courtesy of Kathryn King) - Her Campus


Kathryn King - Yellow Dress (2007)
Kathryn King - Crossroads (2012)
Kathryn King - Smashing Bottles (2012)
Kathryn King - This is Home (2015)
Kat King - Falling Up (2017)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Kat King has been writing music since the 2nd grade.  Self-taught, with encouragement from her mother, she recorded her first EP in the 7th grade, a 13-song album in grade 12, and has completed two EP's throughout her college career.  She has dabbled in other bands, playing from lead guitar to keyboard, but is always pursuing her solo career.  Her performance roots begin in small town Kansas coffee shops which has expanded to venues from Oregon to Germany.  Her backing band is often completed by other family members and close friends who have grown up playing music with her.

Band Members