Katie Laffan arrived with a bang on the music scene two years ago aged 17 when she appeared on the cover of the special ‘Big Break’ issue of Hot Press.
Currently preparing to play at this years Electric Picnic, Katie had a chat with us about her music and prepared us a playlist of her favourite songs.
Do yourself a favour while reading this and listen to her playlist. Just try to stay still!
Katie, you told us that you struggled in the past with insecurities and anxieties. When did this start and how did it manifest itself?
In school I always felt very stupid compared to other people my age because I struggled concentrating and was not in any way academic. I let ‘being stupid’ get to me I suppose and was very hard on myself. I gave up before I even tried a lot of the time because of this. Looking back now, it was silly but it caused a lot of anxiety for me. I let it affect me to the point of being really shy and withdrawn at times and it affected the way I interacted with people and situations.
I am not stupid, or shy and I love to write music and lyrics. I write songs all the time. I’m just not good at writing out a load Macbeth quotes from memory, or complex maths! It was a confidence issue. I did get through school though in the end with a decent enough leaving cert, and went on to study sound and music production which I’m graduating from this year.
Does your music play a big part in helping you manage your anxiety?
So much! And not just creating the music but its also writing about things that happen in your life that can piece a song together. Some of my songs speak for themselves on this one.
You can be vulnerable when you first show people that song you wrote. I look up to artists who do that and make music just for the music, write clever lyrics and do it so confidently. That’s what I will always aspire to.
Do you suffer from stage fright?
Yes, but I enjoy doing it so much now, that I mostly forget about being nervous once I’m performing.
I used to fear performing live, and how I got over that was just by doing it. Watching other artists and throwing myself into it until I could/can do it/ I really enjoy performing now, I work hard, learning and improving with every performance and its something that does improve the harder you work at it.
I’m not a great stage talker in between songs but I’m working on it…
Who would you say has influenced you in your life and who do you consider to be your role models or mentors?
I took drum lessons when I was younger, I stayed at it for 7 years and I didn’t usually stick at things. Michael Heffernan, from Melody School of Music, Perristown, really encouraged me musically. He never put me through grades and we always worked on songs that I loved. He also introduced me to other artists like Sting and Def Leppard as well as different kinds of drumming like boss novas, latin and reggae.
Michael also showed me how to pay keyboard and guitar a bit but I mostly learnt those from youtube. The learning environment wasn’t so serious. I was just there to learn from him not to get a piece of paper to say I did, it was all really fun and I enjoyed my time there!
What are you currently listening to? Make us a playlist?
Sure thing! Here you go…
(We mixed a few of Katies own songs in here just to keep you ticking over)
Watch out for Katie at the Oxjam tent at EP next weekend x