Keppie Coutts
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Keppie Coutts

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Band Folk Pop


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"Boston Globe Review"

Keppie Coutts in Kendall Square Drum Media calls Keppie Coutts "a little lady with a large voice" who is "so musically aware that [her] songs sound like they came before she did." Her songwriting earned her top awards at Berklee (she won both the Performing Songwriter and the Songwriter's Showcase competitions), so be sure to steal away for this lunch concert in Kendall for your treat of the week. Coutts's songs marry soul and folk so gorgeously, you'll cheer when they get stuck on endless repeat on the jukebox in your brain.

Boston Globe, September 2008
- Boston Globe

"Keppie's Workshops - Natural Music in Language"

"Our brains are built for patterns," Keppie Coutts '09 told a group of high school students at Berklee's summer Songwriting Workshop.

Humans' enlarged frontal cortexes allow for greater pattern recognition, Coutts elaborated. In music, this means that rhythm and rhyme is pleasing. The more a pattern is repeated, the more it will be remembered, so it's important to keep in mind when writing memorable lyrics. It also means that subtle changes in rhythm can change the meaning of what you say.

"The best way to convey your idea clearly and directly is to preserve the natural stress pattern of the language," said Coutts, "and make sure your melodic setting doesn't interfere with that."

To get a sense of that rhythm, Coutts had students label the stressed and unstressed syllables in various lyrics, such as those of "Eleanor Rigby." She pointed out certain patterns to watch out for: Verbs generally get all the stress in English. Compound words generally stress the first syllable. Pronouns are often stressed incorrectly in songs, as are -ty and -ly at the end of words.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken. The important thing is to be able to recognize them and break them intentionally, for a purpose, rather than out of ignorance. Coutts recounted an example of a song that she wrote as a student at Berklee and took into the studio with John Mayer. In "Waiting for the Avalanche," she stressed a normally unstressed word, "for." Along with professor Pat Pattison they tried again and again to change it, but in the end Mayer decided, "There's prosody in this missetting."

Reading/Listening Suggestions:

* "Musical Language," Radiolab, NPR
* This Is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
* The World in Six Songs, Daniel Levitin
* Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks
* Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson

- Berklee Press

""A Songwriter Who never Protests Too Much""

Full article:

...For "Goodbye to Georgie," Seeger had guitar principal Keppie Coutts count down Bush's time left in office using a gadget called a Backwards Bush, coaching her to read like a carnival barker. (Seeger is selling the devices and hoped, she joked, to get her music on the creator's website.)

Despite the ideological content, Seeger thought the song was accessible to everyone. "Such songs are not necessarily for a committed audience. I would say 'You don't have to join in on this if you don't want to.'"

In general, she said, "You use the word 'we' a lot. You don't say 'you.'"

Coutts, who won a Berklee Counseling and Advising Center songwriting contest for songs about substance abuse, had a suggestion of her own. To avoid alienating listeners, she said, "for me at least a really good method has been to just find a story, find an individual, place yourself somewhere in that story but never demand of someone that they react the same way you react." An experience with a friend sparked her melancholy winning song "Last Call." As part of her prize, she got to record it professionally with professors Kevin Barry and Dave Weigert as her sidemen.

Like Coutts, Seeger said she likes to go fact-finding when developing a new song. In fact, she burrows in like an anthropologist to get stories. "When you're trying to tackle a subject and you don't know anything about it, one of the best things to do is to go to the person who does know something about it. You just go hold up a microphone in front of them. You're asking, 'What is it like to be you?'"... - Berklee News

"Folk Funk"

”Keppie is a Sydney acoustic local who is driving a new wave of folk-funk. A little lady with a large voice and cheeky smile, Keppie has that rare quality of being so musically aware that the songs sound like they came before she did” (Jan 2006). - Drum Media

"Keppie Coutts"

Berklee Media profiles a select number of its most outstanding alumni and students. To read full profile, please see the link: - Berklee Media


On The Edge of A Dream - (LP) 2002
Tears De Picardie - (LP) 2005
The Ordinary World - 2009



John Mayer says -
Keppie’s “voice is beautiful, just gorgeous. [She’s] like a contemporary female Nick Drake…and [her] guitar playing is so beautiful, so raw…”
October 2008

The Boston Globe (September 2008) -
"Coutts's songs marry soul and folk so gorgeously, you'll cheer when they get stuck on endless repeat on the jukebox in your brain."

Keppie is immersed and reveling in the new wave of folk fusion – an eclectic melding of acoustic-based song that steps inside jazz, soul, and quirky pop. Multi-Grammy award-winning artist John Mayer heard a new tune of Keppie’s (‘Waiting for the Avalanche’) and within a week, had taken it into the studio in Boston to record. Keppie had scored a private audience with Mayer as one of 12 young songwriters hand-selected to spend the week with Mayer.

Since arriving in Boston in 2005 she has won the praise of peers, audiences and mentors, all of which catapulted her within 5 short years to faculty in the Songwriting Department at Berklee. She has performed extensively in the Northeast of the United States, including at the Bitter End and the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, as well almost every conceivable venue in Boston.

Born in Australia, Keppie started out spreading her words as poetry at local Sydney arts haunts and indie spaces. The immediate connection that she forms with an audience saw Keppie performing at some of Sydney’s best-known venues for live music, including international jazz-hub, The Basement as part of a selection of the city’s best songwriters.

To her surprise and delight, people often approach Keppie after shows, making excited comparisons to Norah Jones, Ani DiFranco, KT Tunstall, and Feist, though as one fan put it: “You sound like a million different women and like no one else”.

Keppie’s 2009 release, ‘The Ordinary World’, is available on iTunes and is distributed through CD Baby.

Keppie is also the founder and director of KC Song Studio: