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(Credits: Far Out / H Hawkline)

Music

Far Out Meets: Katy J Pearson the sound of all your future summers

@TomTaylorFO

Katy J Pearson has been shifting clouds for an ever-growing mass of people since her debut, 2020’s Return, shone a ray of sunshine through the murk of lockdown like an assegai of pop-perfect bliss. Now, her second musical meadow is on the horizon, and we can’t wait to happily picnic upon it with Paddington munching marmalade grins and toes-a-tapping. Prior to its hotly anticipated release, we caught up with the star in the making to discuss expression, Bristol, fashion and the music that whirls in the welter of inspiration. 

You see, while Katy J Pearson’s output isn’t the sort that lands in the muddy terrain of mixed genres, it is, nevertheless, not all that clear where it stands amid the mass of cultural influence. This is purely because of one of the key tenets that makes it soar: how beautifully naturalistic it seems. It’s the Ginger Rogers of waltz, the meandering bumble bee of flight, and the blackbird chirps of half note hollering, living and breathing more on an expression of charming personality than musical intent.

Her second album, Sound of the Morning, looks to continue in this same direction, “I’ve always wanted to be quite understated. I have so much to learn still and work out that I didn’t want to make myself stressed and ill in trying to make something polar opposite, just to show people. I wanted to have a natural progression,” she tells me in a typically cheery fashion a matter of hours ahead of her only holiday amid a hectic schedule.

Fresh from playing four sets at Glastonbury and a show supporting First Aid Kit in Bristol, she chats about her rigorous workload with the same verve as a worker ant whose name is always first on the overtime sheet. This, in truth, is a mark of her breezy approach as a musician. Fresh-faced and brimming with joy she treats her craft as an expressionist outlet and relishes every moment of it. 

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Case in point is the rare juxtaposition with which she describes her busy weekend. “It was my first ever time playing Glastonbury, so I felt like it was a real baptism of fire. I really felt like I got the most out of it,” she says, casually making an unusual pairing of the phrases ‘baptism of fire’ and ‘got the most out of it’. If that isn’t proof that she is zesting her musical experiences right down to the pith, then what is?

However, it is always worth reiterating that Pearson isn’t sprinting down the path either, her journey is more of a two-step in a spring meadow and that much is clear from the way that she approached the record. Return might not have reaped the commercial rewards it deserved, but in Far Out’s eyes it was a consummate masterpiece of the rarest humble order and that creates pressure in itself—pressure which she has shrugged off with the grace of someone who has no aim beyond artistic expression. 

“I’ve got a bit heavier at some points and I pushed the production,” she caveats, before adding, “but I wanted to just take it easy on myself because I think I have really chilled out as an artist and as a person, and I want to do things in a natural way without it feeling forced.” The manufactured trope of musical evolution is a pothole which she has seamlessly avoided with the record and much of that is down to her inherent individualism. 

She adds: “For me, it was just about getting the songs together and what clothes I wanted them to wear and what identity I wanted for them. Nothing was really forced. I never went, ‘Ooh I want to sound like this thing’. It was just cool like I want to sort this more and push the sonic sound of certain elements.”

And that clothes analogy is a fitting one because part of her self-expression is reflected in a joyous fashion sense that had my girlfriend enviously probing me to ask where it came from. “I have always loved clothes. Not like high fashion but I have always loved expressing myself through clothing and my identity. It’s something that makes me happy, and it makes me more confident to wear things that make me feel good.”

That is one and the same when it comes to her music, as she continues: “For me, it is mainly wearing things that look like a nice mix together. I love colour and I love waistcoats. I think clothing is really special and it has certainly helped me become more confident as an artist and that feeling like I am representing something. When I was younger, I was always quite shy and I think clothing gave me an outlook to show people what was going on inside. So, I just get all my clothes from vintage shops in Bristol and charity shops. It’s something I’m super passionate about.” And I’ll be damned if you couldn’t transpose all that to describe her sonic wardrobe, so to speak. 

(Credit: Press)

That is even true down to the importance of Bristol. With a booming music scene, Katy J Pearson was welcomed with open arms by the city and her confidence as a performer was allowed to flower in the artistic garden of the fertile creative region. Happily extolling: “I can’t thank the Bristol community enough for taking me in. I have lived here for almost five years, and it has just been the most wonderful place to grow as an artist.”

“I feel very protected and supported and I feel safe to just get on with my thing without feeling any competition or snootiness. Everyone is there to look out for each other. I don’t feel like I have to fit into anything. I’m part of a scene, but it’s not a particular genre, it’s just a community of musicians all doing completely different things and I love that,” she explained. 

And some of that community, as well as the wider family of UK music which seems to joyously be heading further towards collectivism, features on the Sound of the Morning itself. “So, yeah on the new album I collaborated with Oliver Wilde from Pet Shimmers. Morgan Simpson from Black Midi came up and did some drumming for the record. I sang with Orlando Weeks on his record and he’s singing on my new single which comes out in a few weeks to return the favour.” However, she is also set to kill him in the slasher horror music video for that track which she describes as “one of my favourite songs on the record, it’s very joyous and it’s got a lot of horn layers.”

And she humbly adds: “It was almost overwhelming because everyone I asked just didn’t say no. It was really flattering that they felt I was a proper musician who they wanted to collaborate with. That was really special.” Pearson no doubt won’t stay overwhelmed by this for long—she is the sort of star who is a failsafe recommendation. If you don’t like Katy J Pearson, you may as well donate yourself to the Smithsonian to be displayed as the soulless-Sapian who had an allergy to ebullience in place of a heart, for visitors to pass in years to come and spit on your dower lobotomised form—not to go off on one or anything. 

In those years to come, the humble melodious rapture of her simple resonant music will hold a similar place for many people as the way that Pearson herself once perused the bliss of buoyant anthems: “My dad was a huge Beatles fan. So, every summer holiday from like seven or eight we would choose a Beatles album and I would go camping for four or five weeks every summer and we would just listen to it all the time. So, you would really get to know the record.” Alas, you might not brave the fields with it, but Sound of the Morning is a record you will get to know like a friend. And you can hear more about the artists that inspired it by clicking here

The album is due for release on Friday (July 8th) via Heavenly Recordings. Thereafter a tour awaits, about which she states: “I think it’s going to be a really special time to tour. September is always one of the best times to tour because it’s still quite warm and it should be really fun to play in all these new cities and get out there to promote the record in a proper way compared to lockdown. I can’t wait to connect to people in real life this time.” You can check out her forthcoming tour dates below. We certainly can’t wait to see her on the road. 

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Katy J Pearson tour dates:

  • 22.07.22 – Bluedot – MACCLESFIELD
  • 23.07.22 – Latitude – SOUTHWOLD
  • 29.07.22 – Deer Shed – THIRSK
  • 10.08.22 – Winterthurer Musilfestwochen – WINTERTHUR, CH
  • 19.08.22 – Green Man – CRICKHOWELL
  • 21.08.22 – Beautiful Days – OTTERY ST MARY, DEVON
  • 08.09.22 – Trinity – BRISTOL
  • 09.09.22 – Cornish Bank – FALMOUTH
  • 10.09.22 – Cavern – EXETER
  • 11.09.22 – Joiners – SOUTHAMPTON
  • 13.09.22 – Chalk – BRIGHTON
  • 14.09.22 – Olby’s – MARGATE
  • 15.09.22 – Electric Ballroom – LONDON
  • 17.09.22 – Brudenell Social Club – LEEDS
  • 18.09.22 – The Cluny – NEWCASTLE
  • 20.09.22 – Voodoo Rooms – EDINBURGH
  • 21.09.22 – Mono – GLASGOW
  • 22.09.22 – Gorilla – MANCHESTER
  • 24.09.22 – Float Along – SHEFFIELD
  • 25.09.22 – Rescue Rooms – NOTTINGHAM
  • 27.09.22 – Clwb Ifor Bach – CARDIFF
  • 28.09.22 – Hare & Hounds – BIRMINGHAM
  • 30.09.22 – The Bullingdon – OXFORD