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Judge for Kat Devlin

Santa Barbara, CA
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Portrait of Kat Devlin
Kat Devlin, featured on Women of Substance Radio and in Velvet Park magazine, has been spreading her vocally driven Celtic/country sounds to audiences from New York to L.A. The Minnesota native and recent resident of Brooklyn has spent the last year in her new southern California home honing her sound, producing new tunes, and playing live shows at venues including the House of Blues in West Hollywood and Santa Barbara’s well-known Club SoHo. Fresh off the 2009 release of her Ghost Stories EP—her first with a band—and the 2008 release of her popular California EP, Kat is back in the studio recording her first full-length album, set to release this summer.

Kat sings with a vocal sweetness reminiscent of Dar Williams, Emmylou Harris, and The Weepies, and she picks, pulls, hammers, and slides up and down the fret board with ease to produce guitar sounds that can drive percussively or lull melodically. Kat’s lyrics, many co-written with Shannon Brennan, have the seeming simplicity of folk, but with layers of metaphor and meaning that remind one of Ani DiFranco, or of more indie rockers like Neko Case and Sun Kil Moon. While Kat most often plays solo, she likes a big sound, and creates it through the expert use of a loop station that transforms her music into a symphony of vocal percussion, soloing guitar, and layered vocals.

Kat’s original sound and skilled musicianship are the result of a journey that began more than 20 years ago, when Kat at age 5 gave her first solo performance, a highly energetic karaoke rendition of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Along Now.” Years of professional training in piano, French horn and voice were matched by her own personal investment in mastering the grunge power chords of Kurt Cobain (like every other girl her age) and the harmonics of Simon and Garfunkel (like every other girl her mom’s age). Four years of college a cappella (with the award-winning University of Maryland Faux Paz) allowed her to fill out her musical style, and the songwriting that has followed has been characterized by an attention to the possibilities of the voice: neither a voice-trumpet solo nor a beat-boxed rhythm is rare at a Kat Devlin show.

Having found her sound, Kat’s spent the last few years finding her groove – and groove she does. She has been bringing her idiosyncratic pedal work and heartbreaking voice to bigger shows and better stages, taking risks in the studio and at the mic– and listeners have noticed. With a quickly growing fan base and an uncompromising attitude towards excellence, Kat Devlin is enjoying this ride—and she knows it’s just beginning.

Check out more on www.katdevlin.com
 
 
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