It’s a controversial opinion – but I do firmly believe there aren’t many great female popstars in 2017.
The killer vocals, the incredibly catchy songs – the absolute aura of larger than life popstar.
K Stewart (Kate from here in), is about to change all that. Since leaving college at 18, she’s spent two years touring the world with Bondax, written absolute bangers with MNEK, Karma Kid, Shift K3Y (to name but a few), and also had a top ten hit with Oliver Heldens.
I caught up with Kate in one of her fav Notting Hill spots, for a chat, a coffee, and one of the best salads we’ve ever blessed our tastebuds with.
As someone who has personally followed K’s solo drops since about 2014, I was excited to see how the whirlwind past few years had been for her. “Exciting’ is the word that crops up the most. I’d known that she’d been doing this for a while, but not the details. “I met my manager through one of my teachers at college, she was working with a guy who published Bondax – and then she introduced me to them. The following month, I was on tour with them, and we basically spent two years together. Australia, festivals, and two DJ tours, it was crazy.” she explains.
“I remember my first show with them, it was in Leeds I think… maybe Nottingham. Anyways, I remember the show. I’d done some shows with my stage school, but this was the first proper show I’d ever done and it was SO fun. What was even better – I wasn’t nervous, cos it wasn’t my show.”
By this point K had already written and released some killer collabs with Karma Kid. “On the Australian tour, I even got to do two of my own songs in their set. Won’t lie though, I slyly preferred singing their songs, because when it came up to my bit the nerves proper kicked in.” I ask curiously how the experience of touring with the same crew for two years was, and you can tell by the glow in her face, it was a pleasant experience. “I’ve never been closer to a group of people in my life. They live in Manchester now and they’re always on tour so I don’t get to see them very often, but every time I do, it’s exactly the same. I was the only girl on that tour, me and eight boys, but I felt so comfortable. It was the most fun experience of my life.”
There is an often unspoken reality to the fantasy world of touring though. One that Kate (aged just 18 at the time) has experienced; “The Australian tour was difficult for me as I felt so far away from home. My own music was starting to bubble at so I wanted to focus on that. I’m a bit of a drama queen anyways, but the 34 hour flight or something like that is painful. All the boys managed to not get jet lag, no idea how, and I’d be there feeling ill cos I wasn’t sleeping. I’d just stopped seeing my boyfriend who I was with for four years literally just before we left too, so I didn’t want to leave him. It was all a bit hard at the time, but it was still a lot of fun.”
Her latest single ‘Sex 4 Breakfest’ is a funky pop powerhouse, the single previous ‘Hands’ a softer, delicate pop jam. Both in a space that you can see the ‘cool’ music communities playing, as well as National radio. So what’s next for Kate? “A re-jig of the sound, I LOVE rnb, and used to do a lot of it with Karma Kid.Then the pop thing happened, and don’t get me wrong, I love pop music, but I really wanna re-jig the sound a bit to make it more rnb focused. I love Kehlani, Anderson Paak, beats like Christina Aguilera used to do. I love Goldlink, loads of hip-hop people, so would love to aim for that rather than just something that mainstream radio would play.”
I’m working with the Free Nationals (Anderson Paak’s band) when I’m in America, so hopefully should get some good stuff. I worked on their first album with them, and now they’re gonna work on some of my stuff. I definitely want to do an EP, as I’ve only ever done singles. That way people can hear more of a diverse range of my music.”
Kate’s also blessing you lucky tmrw readers with a banger of a cover. The classic ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ all 2017-ified and sounding slick as. “Xtina is my queen! She has the best voice and her lyrics are the so empowering. This track goes out to all the good sis’s going through tough times.” Whack it in your ears.
As we say goodbye, and I actually manage to get on the right tube home (it’s a long story), it’s clear that Kate is a very focused individual. And an incredibly talented one too. And with one of the most on-it teams out there behind her, I reckon it’s only a matter of time before she has ‘that moment’.
She definitely deserves it.
Words by Sam Nahirny