An artist infinitely fascinated by the natural world, Kathleen creates music as unpredictable as nature itself: serene as well as explosive and ineffably dazzling. As a child growing up in the Rocky Mountains, she began writing songs at age seven and later studied poetry in college, steadily carving out a truly singular songwriting voice that merges her ultra-vivid storytelling with idiosyncratic observation. Soon after signing with Warner Records , the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist made her debut with the critically acclaimed Kathleen I and Kathleen II, a pair of boldly original EPs that she collaborated on with such esteemed producers as Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Charli XCX) and Daniel Nigro (Olivia Rodrigo, Caroline Polachek). Her past achievements include earning a vocal arrangement credit on Olivia Rodrigo’s GRAMMY-winning album Sour.
Kathleen imbues her musical output with equal parts unbridled imagination and a visionary sense of purpose.“I think the main reason I make music is to create a vehicle for conversation and new philosophies,” says Kathleen, a passionate environmentalist and supporter of the burgeoning climate movement founded on equity and community. “I want to provide a stage for people to share new ways of thinking, and to make it as inclusive as possible. At the same time, my music is deeply tied to the therapeutic process—it gives me a lot of peace to make something out of painful and confusing times.”
On her new body of work, Kathleen once again reveals her rare gift for conjuring songs that both expand the mind and hit with a visceral impact. Her new compositions illuminate an elevated sense of exploration in her songwriting, tapping into a rich confluence of influences that spans from John Prine, Leonard Cohen, and Fink to Bjork, Fiona Apple and Kate Bush. Yet, her sound remains something completely of her own creation. On “Fever Dream,” for instance, Kathleen offers up a dizzying piece of art-pop built on frenetic textures, shapeshifting rhythms, and a sublimely unhinged vocal performance. “To me “Fever Dream” is an expression of the frustration of lockdown,” she says. “In one sense the world around me was so calm—the air was more breathable, everything was still—but then there was also a feeling of being caged in this tiny space with no one around to help you process what was happening.” In bringing the oddly exhilarating track to life, Kathleen joined forces with studio mate Tim Friesen. The pair began experimenting with a cello banjo and effects pedals, creating warped sounds that would capture the right feeling for the finished track. From that point, Kathleen brought the song to her frequent collaborator STINT (Jessie Ware, MØ, Role Model) and then to Tim Anderson (who has produced such artists as Banks, Halsey and makes up half of Highland Park Sleep Collective), resulting in a potent fusion of sensibilities that carried the song into its final form. “The whole process was very experimental and high-energy –there was definitely an electric feeling in the room,” she notes.
A far more tranquil counterpart to “Fever Dream”, “How Long Will This Last” took shape during the brief spell Kathleen spent living in a riverside cabin in Asheville, North Carolina. (“It was summer and the smoke from the California wildfires was so bad that I had to wear an N95 mask inside my apartment, but I was fortunate enough to escape for a while,” she says.) Produced by Kathleen and Tim Anderson and rooted in her elegant piano work, “How Long Will This Last” explores the emotional toll of endless solitude (from the opening lines: “600 square feet all to myself and I am/Lonely as the moon”). “This song is like the dark twin of “Fever Dream”; it’s describing the same feeling, but there’s so much more sadness to it,” she says. “I just remember going for walks around my neighborhood and seeing the birds and quiet plant life and feeling grateful—but then after that you go home and close the door and the outside world is gone.”