Katy Hurt is somewhat of a travelling nomad, she was bought up in New York and now resides back in Blighty where she spends 99% of her days touring the country, performing with her band. We heard that she was supporting the mighty Gangstagrass on a couple of their UK headline tour dates and thought it would be a great opportunity to chat to her at the Exeter Phoenix venue. Sadly, the foul weather (snow, lots of it) scuppered our plans so I had to make do with a phone interview instead. We had a great chat and after a few minutes, realised that we know a lot of the same people, it really was a Twilight Zone moment…..here’s how we got on!
Hi Katy, please take a moment or two to introduce yourself and tell everyone who you are, what you do and WHY they should be listening to your music....
My name is Katy Hurt, I was born in England, moved to New York when I was 2 years old and then back to England, I’m a Country Rock singer and we recorded our debut EP in Canada with Murray Palmer, the EP ‘Unfinished Business’ is due out imminently, we are currently on the ‘Unfinished Business’ tour and have 47 dates booked so far, I want to try and get it to 50, we’re going to be playing some obscure places that not many bands play to reach out to people who may not get the chance to come along to a show. Basically, the tour is an excuse for us to play to whoever, wherever and a great chance to get around the UK, it’s a bit like an extended holiday!
I was surprised when I watched your Pledge video on YouTube as after watching a few of your videos, I had it in my head that you’re American and there you are speaking with an English accent….
So I’m from England, moved to New York when I was really young, spent my early years in Long Island and then we moved back to England when I was about 7 years old and lived in Ascot, Surrey. I had an accent when I first moved back and got teased quite badly for it. I’m a bit like a parrot as the more music I heard, I just picked up the accents and with my family being English, it didn’t take me long to lose my American accent. If I go back to the States or sing, I automatically switch back to an American accent!
What age did you return to the UK?
I was only 7 years old when I moved back to England but it’s amazing the things you pick up when you’re so young! I still to this day don’t really know where I’m from, I was born in London, then I moved to America when I was 2 and then back to England when I was 7 so I guess I’m a bit of a travelling nomad! I think that every musician is a bit of a wanderer!
Were you surprised at what you heard on the UK radio stations? I guess it differed a bit from what the US stations used to play?
I guess the music thing never really occurred to me when I first came back, I did wonder why my tastes were s different from my friends, I was bought up on a diet of classic Country music, roots music like The Eagles, Glen Campbell, Patsy Cline and when I came back to England, none of my friends were into that, they just liked whatever was on the radio! I think I spent the majority of my childhood trying to convince my friends that Country music was cool but most of them were telling me that it wasn’t! I think I managed to convert a few of them using sheer force, others just seem to drift in and out. Music to me was all about the storytelling, this is where Country music really stands out from other genres, I don’t mind how good the production of a track is, if the story is told with emotion and feeling, I’m hooked! It can be delivered using a banjo or a guitar, doesn’t matter to me, as long as the story is there. We listen to a massive range of music now and the guys in my band are BIG fans of 80’s Rock music which in a way shares a lot in common with Country music.
You’ve played at C2C (Country 2 Country festival) in London, how was that experience?
I absolutely loved it, I’ve actually gone to all of the C2C events since they started out 5 years ago, I love Country music as a fan and also as an artist and it’s been with me my whole life so it was a HUGE deal to get along to the C2C event. I played in 2017 & 2018 which was really exciting for me, the atmosphere is incredible, 20000 people all there because they love Country music! It’s a real feeling of ‘community’, like we’re all there for one reason, sharing one common goal. There’s something amazing about singing the same lyrics as the person stood next to you and you’ve never even met before! As an artist, you really feel it too. I played a couple of slots in 2017 and three last year, some solo, some as a duo and some with the full band, it’s a great way of meeting other musicians and just spending time with fans and chatting to them, getting to know them better.
I know an artist called Clara Bond who has played there the last couple of years with her band, she’s incredible!
I know her, we played a show together in Exeter a couple of years back, I think it was at The Cavern, she’s great, I really like her style.
Cast your mind back to 4th July 2017 when you played a venue called FREEDOM on Wardour Street alongside a lady called Sonia Leigh, we saw her support a band in Camden last year, amazing artist, did you get to meet and chat to her?
I was at that same show! Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, it was at Dingwalls in Camden, I was stood at the side of the stage! Sonia Leigh and I played together for the first time in 2017, I met her at the C2C event, watched her play, got chatting and I ended up going out to Nashville and doing some writing with her there. I got to play at The Bluebird Café in Nashville whilst I was there. I went out on the road in 2017 under the title ‘Katy Hurt & Friends’ and Sonia co-headlined with me. Whilst this was happening, Sonia was supporting a band called Broken Witt Rebels on their tour but seeing as she had no band in the UK, she asked if we would like to come along and be her band, naturally we jumped at the chance! In-between the dates, we would play gigs on our own. So I wanted to throw a 4th July party in London and I invited Sonia over to come and play alongside me at the show, the reaction we received was incredible, the night sold out and after the show, it was meant to turn into a nightclub but they were so happy with what we’d created, they let us play on until the early hours. What was great about it was that the whole lineup was made up of females, all playing Country music. We’ve just heard that we’ll be heading out to the States in April to be a part of Melissa Etheridge’s tour along with Sonia Leigh so we’re really looking forward to that!
Do you know a guy called Ray Jones who runs a company called Talentbanq in London?
I do, I’m actually a Talentbanq artist!, I played at their 1st anniversary show last week in London, it was hosted at the Pizza Express in Holborn and turned into an amazing jam night, loads of musicians and lots of great food! The boys and I closed the show, it was an incredible night. Ray Jones does incredible things for upcoming indie artists and bands, we have done everything ourselves in the past, booked our own gigs, we don’t have a label behind us injecting cash , this is why we decided to do the pledge campaign to fund our EP. Ray actually said on stage at the anniversary party that Talentbanq have actually paid out over £50k in their first year to artists all over the UK, every artist who plays at one of their shows is paid, we’re all so grateful to him and his team!
I see that you are playing Chagstock in Chagford in July, how did that come about?
We literally sat down one night and sent out HUNDREDS of emails to festivals all over the UK, we focussed on festivals where we felt we’s fit in, there wasno point in approaching metal or dub-step festivals for obvious reasons! We sent SO many emails, we hit the Gmail ‘send limit’ a number of times and had to wait until we could send more! Chagstock were one that got back to us and were really keen to have us play. We’ve been wanting to play the festival for a while now, we’ve heard some great things about it and wanted to be involved.
We’ve covered Chagstock for the past 5 years and it’s a great one to go to, it’s set in a massive field in Chagford overlooking the moors, they have a main stage and a second stage which is in a MASSIVE tent and as one band is playing, the other is setting up, once one has finished, there is a 5 minute window where you can move between the stages and watch the next act so you never really miss anything, it’s a great concept that I wish other festivals would pick up on!
We’re REALLY excited about playing that one, definitely going to be a highlight for us!
You’ve played a bunch of dates across the UK and supported Gangstagrass on a couple of their UK dates, do you find that the audiences change as you move around the country?
I guess you do see a shift in the audience as you move around the country, the South seem to be a bit more reserved and the North seem to be a bit more raucous, it also depends on when you play, you’re not going to get a party atmosphere on a cold Monday night in January whereas a Saturday night where nobody has to be up the next morning will bring a few more people out and the drinks will be flowing a little more!
Do you have any problems with people talking during your performances?
Not so much these days but we’ve had our fair share of people stood at the back of the room actually talking over us when we were on stage, there’s no excuse for it really, if you want to go and chat and catch up with your friends, use the bar! There was one night where I played a nice intimate acoustic night and it was a seated show and there was a table of 6 people who had booked (assuming they were there for the music) and they sat right by the stage and did nothing but talk very loudly throughout the entire performance, apart from being really annoying for us, you have to remember that there were people there who had paid to come and see us. Some venues are starting to clamp down on this now and that’s great, a music venue should be that, a place to go and LISTEN to music, not chat loudly with your friends…..
Tell me something funny thats happened to you on tour
Ha, okay, something that actually happened earlier today, I drive a small Volkswagon ‘Up’ car, it’s small but we somehow manage to fit me and the band in it, guitars, basses, cymbals and clothes, it is a bit of a squeeze but as I drive, I’ve got loads of room! Anyway, we were in Plymouth earlier doing some radio promo and on the way to Exeter, it started to snow, I thought it would be a great idea to take a trip over Dartmoor so we could see the snow, bad idea! It really started to come down and we had to turn back! We finally crawled into Exeter and parked up, goodness knows if we’re going to be able to get the car out later but hey ho there’s a comfy looking couch in the green room here with my name written all over it!
You released ‘Revved Up’ which is the second single from your ‘Unfinished Business’ EP, what’s next for Katy Hurt?
The clue is in the name of the EP ‘Unfinished Business’ and I wanted to tease people in a way that said that there is more to come…. I’ll be working on a new album this year and hope to release it early in 2020 but we’ll have to see how we get on in the studio! I might call the album ‘Finished Business’ but then that might be a bit of a closed door and people might think that I have retired….goodness knows, I’ll think of a catchy name between now and next year! Apart from the album, I’ll be playing a lot of live shows throughout the year and appearing at festivals all over the place so keep your eyes on my website and we’ll see you in a muddy field sometime soon!
We’d like to thank Katy for taking the time to chat to us and wish her all the very best for her MAMMOTH 46 date UK tour which takes place between now and March and hope to see her in a field sometime soon!
Keep up to date with Katy Hurt at the following sites;