THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Katija.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
My interest in music actually began in the form of dancing. From a young age I realised I had a very strong passion for dancing specifically to Hip-Hop and Rnb music it just spoke to me through my body. I first dreamed of being a backup dancer for a massive artist one day. As I got older my passion developed into studying the performing arts full time in Melbourne where I experimented more with musical theatre and acting and I absolutely fell in love with performing to an audience. I quickly realised that I could dance but sadly I was not gifted with the voice of a pop star and singing just wasn’t quite my thing and so from that my love of rapping was born. It was my way to perform to my audience combining my love of dance and playing a character in a way that felt natural to me.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
One of the things that makes music so special is that it is unique to the person who has created it. It is a direct extension of that person’s experiences, influences and life journey of which no two people share the same. The best thing I can do to create great music is to stay true to who I am as an artist is to allow myself to feel, be vulnerable, and experiment with my capabilities. What motivates me the most is to see how my music will grow
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
How big are we talking here? Sold out arenas performing one of the best shows you have ever seen in your life? My biggest goal is to just enjoy the creative process of growing and developing as an artist and making the most of the outlet that music offers me.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I have 3 singles lined up to drop over the coming months to keep the momentum going and give my audience a chance to connect with me and learn a bit more about who I am as an artist. No plans to tour yet, however I will be hosting a Hip Hop night in Melbourne from Feb next year and will be regularly performing my own work alongside many other talented local Melbourne Hip-Hop artists.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
My latest release is called Do You Want It. I am the feature artist on the song with the late Coolio. It was written when he was here in Australia and I got to go through the creative process with one of the world’s biggest hip hop legends, learning so much along the way. I would best describe my sound as energetic, fun with a lot of character and attitude.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
At this point in my musical journey I am actually inspired by the music or the beat I hear first before I even know the concept or lyrics of the song. It depends what emotion the sound is conveying to me and if it speaks to me or not. Sometimes a particular beat or sound just connects with me and out of nowhere I just start humming this tune that has come from some external source; it’s like you tap into the Universe. Then I start to register how I am feeling and the outcome of the song can really differ depending on what you are going through at that particular point in time and where my energy is sitting. Then I just let it flow. The more you overthink a song or try to structure it the harder it becomes to finish it, so the key is to let it flow and then work out the rest later.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Your music is a reflection of your life experiences. So, for me the meanings in my songs at the moment are all about following your dreams, being a boss independent woman and working hard and believing in yourself which are all things I am trying my best to do with my actions and not just my words.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Nothing good in life comes easy, you have to work for it. I am not afraid of hard work. Having my own business for 7 years and starting from nothing has really enabled me to have a strong work ethic ingrained in my day to day life. I work hard at everything I do and the biggest secret is to never give up. If you give up, then how will you succeed? Keep pushing no matter how hard things may seem sometimes NEVER give up.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
I am in the beginning of my career and my third release has been with the legendary American rapper Coolio. This has been a huge highlight for me to be able to spend the time I was gifted with him and have Coolio as a mentor. Being up on stage dancing to his audience at the Made In The 90’s Festival was definitely a moment I will never forget and of course the release of my latest song Do You Want It with Coolio has been a massive highlight so far.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Oh there are just so many! Beyonce is just incredible to watch her performance and energy and effortlessness I would love to be able to perform like her one day. Jlo is very inspirational watching her journey and how she started off life as a dancer (like me) and everybody told her she couldn’t’ sing and she would never make it. But she worked harder than anyone and didn’t listen to the naysayers; she just believed in herself. Also, the way she holds herself is inspiring staying away from drugs and alcohol and keeping a clean healthy lifestyle. Rihanna is also a massive inspiration being a boss woman in both her music and as an Entrepreneur. I would love to combine my love of music with my love of business and build some amazing brands in the future to empower women all over the world.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Absolutely! As I mentioned before I have 3 singles ready for release over the next coming months. Each of those projects will have a video clip and visual elements to go with it which I get so much enjoyment out of creating!
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
I am in it for the long haul so as the music industry changes I don’t plan to try and jump on and follow trends. I will keep true to myself and my music and just keep focusing on myself and how I am developing as an artist. In a few years I see myself being on tour and having created some pretty amazing shows that incorporate my love of dance with my love of rap performing.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
It can be really disheartening to see how much of a struggle it is for so many artists who are trying to make a living in this industry especially in the early days. People don’t realise how much time and money that goes into creating a project. You have to pay for studio time, recording, mixing & mastering, marketing and then if you want to do a visual element like a video clip there is all the costs associated with that. The return on investment in the early days isn’t even enough to keep you afloat; you have to have alternate streams of income. This means you are spending less time on your craft and what you love because you have to split your time and energy. I see so many talented artists and people around me and they struggle to be able to even record a single which is hard to see. One day I really hope to be able to invest money into other artists projects and help build up our music community to offer more opportunity to Australian talent.
My favourite part is the adrenaline rush of performing to an audience and seeing them enjoy themselves and let go and be present in the moment with you. There is no better feeling then feeding off the energy of a room and giving it back so everyone has an amazing experience together.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
The Kid Laroi
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
To be honest with you I have never really been one to use social media heavily and I have mixed emotions about being in the public eye. I realise that it comes as part of the job these days and when you are releasing music to the world it is really important to stay connected with your audience and one of the best ways to do that is through social media which is an absolute positive.
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
As an Australian artist I think we have a huge opportunity and appeal to the international market. We are loved by so many countries around the world. I will continue to represent our nation and wear it as a badge of honour continuing to collaborate with other Australian artists and
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
Yes, so far the most noteworthy artist I have collaborated with is Coolio. Emimem is definitely at the top of my wish-list but I would settle for 50 cent haha.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
It’s never too late! I always had this thing in my head that if I didn’t go for my music before the age of 25 I would never make it. Get rid of those negative thoughts. It’s your life and YOU choose how you want to live it and your outcome. Visualise yourself being the person you want to be and just go for it don’t let nothing or nobody hold you back.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
Thank you all so much for coming along this journey with me! I would love to connect with you all on Instagram. Message me, hit me up, ask me anything!
Any last words?
I just want to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to be doing what I love and I cannot wait to share my love of music with you all. If I can connect with even one person and make them feel empowered to follow their dreams, that will make me so happy!