By Myki Angeline
Blues Americana Artist Katie Knipp just announced she will be opening for the legendary Robert Cray in Northern California April 20 at The Fox Theatre in Redwood City, April 21 at The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, and April 24 in her hometown of Sacramento at the Crest Theatre. For tickets visit: robertcray.com/tour.
Originally from Concord, California the blues singer and jazz pianist has opened for iconic artists like Jon Cleary, The Doobie Brothers, Tim Reynolds and Tommy Castro and has shared the stage with the legendary Barry Manilow. Katie is also a piano and vocal instructor; she currently teaches 13 students in her home and is working on a new album which is scheduled for release sometime in the Fall of 2018. Plus, she has been happily married for 9 years and is a stay at home mom with her two young sons.
I met Katie in 2016 and had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing her on my podcast, which took place in her home. I learned of her journey into music from college, to performances, her love for New Orleans, and more. Amidst the playful clatter and baby coos (a then 2 year old Tommy says ‘goodbye’ at the end), we enjoy Katie’s delicious muffins courtesy of her Jillian Michael’s cook book, and delightful conversation. Katie is a shining example of how you can continue to thrive with music while raising a family. You can listen to that interview here: Podcast Interview With Katie Knipp.
Before leaving for this tour, Katie took some time to share with me what she has been up to since our last interview. Visit her website for tour and music info: katieknipp.com
WiMN: How old are your sons now, and how has it been balancing your music career with motherhood today?
KK: My sons are now 21 months and 3 years old. I feel like things are finally turning a corner for the better regarding music, especially since I stopped breast feeding a few months ago. My youngest breastfed for 18 months! I was only planning on doing it a year. My 3 year old is also a bit more patient with my practicing and understands the value of rewards for good behavior. This is very life changing because for almost 2 years he would scream and tantrum if I even played or sang one note. It was making me very depressed. I prayed over it and my prayers were answered by these words, “Do you see how much you love it now? Do you see that music, like me (God), is a form of love that will never leave you?”- You see it was kind of like God held up a mirror and said these things to me. I needed to hear this so badly because my insecurities can get the best of me and there were times I thought my music would just sort of go away if I didn’t get a chance to nourish it daily the way I wanted to. And although it was many more months of the continued struggle, this gave me the patience and inner peace I needed. I know this is very deep and spiritual but I am a sharer, ha ha! After booking some small venue shows, I realized I was much too rusty to get by with the limited practice so I asked my mom if she was willing to come over for an hour 3 days per week to watch the boys while I practiced, then on the alternating days, pay a babysitter extra to stay outside of my teaching hours to ensure a real dent gets made in progress. Why pay for a pedicure when I can use that time and money for practice? It’s all about priorities. Also, just like they see daily exercise, my boys hear my hard core (meaning full gamut of opera then belting stuff) vocal warm ups every day- now if my 3 year old doesn’t hear me, he’ll ask me if I have done my vocal warm ups yet. The more they see my habits the more they become routine and therefore less dramatic for them. Realizing I can spend money on the time I need to invest in myself, as well as praying everyday about all that I am thankful for, has made everything just skyrocket. I have new songs written, new ones popping up daily, and feel very at peace, happy, and in control onstage (and off!).
WiMN: You are opening for Robert Cray! When and where is this happening, and how does this feel?
KK: I am opening as a solo act for Robert Cray on 4/20 at The Fox Theatre in Redwood City, 4/21 at The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, and 4/24 at our Crest Theatre here in Sacramento. It will be my first time on all of these stages. I am super excited since I haven’t had large gigs like this since I opened for The Doobie Brothers 10 years ago. I also just opened for a hero of mine, Jon Cleary, at The Sofia and it was pure magic. When I first found out about the gigs, I was a little overwhelmed with nervousness and wondering about whether I even deserved them, ‘blah, blah, insecurity, blah’, but after meditating on it I realized something important. It’s not a competition. There is room for me in this world. There is an audience for me. And more and more, they are finding me. No one sounds like me. We all have something unique to offer. I think as long as we are 100% honest with ourselves about who we are as people and artists, the more it attracts the right audience and experiences into our lives. I have never been more ready to BRING IT! (Insert flexing bicep pic here, ha!)
WIMN: Do you have new music coming out?
KK: Yes! Finally! Next month I record my 5th full length album with a full band of crazy talented dudes. It will probably get released in the Fall with a big ol’ fat CD Release concert and stuff. It will be recorded at The Recording Place, which is part of The Piano Store in Rocklin. Super excited to be in that space, with a gorgeous piano to record on. I really did not think turning 40 two months ago would feel this fantastic, but it does!