Singer of sad songs on a happy instrument!!
“One of the Twin
Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters.”
Star Tribune. Chris Riemenschneider
‘PRESENT’ Available now https://katyvernon.bandcamp.com
New video for ‘Lost My Head’ showing now on YouTube http://youtu.be/xthmHZuBolo
Album of the year (Country/Folk) L’Etoile Magazine
Top Ten Album of the year #6 Pioneer Press
Top Ten local song of the year #8 (PEARL) The Current 89.3
Top albums of the year Rift Magazine
“The transcendentally amazing Katy Vernon. ‘Present’ is probably the most eagerly anticipated local album of the fall” Rich Larson, SouthernMN.Co
Singer of sad songs on a happy instrument!!
Born and raised in London, UK, Katy now calls Minnesota home. She has written songs for as long as she can remember and is always happiest when she’s singing, even when dealing with some pretty tough challenges. Katy’s debut solo release was ‘Before I Forget’. This was both a tribute to her parents, whom she lost as a teen, but also an embrace of her new solo direction after discovering the ukulele and the songwriting it inspired.
In a deliberate effort to use her writing to move beyond the grief and sadness of her earlier work Katy wrote the song ‘Pearl’ which she released as a single prior to this full length release. Each song on ‘Present’ is an exploration of the effort to embrace the here and now. Exploring the realities of life, the good and the bad, without being numbed or sugar coated.
Katy Vernon has also used her enthusiasm and knowledge of the local ukulele scene to organize and perform at her successful Annual Uke Fest Concert, now expanded to a two night celebration and fundraiser benefitting Arc GTC. Katy has been featured on TPT’s Almanac, WCCO’s Women Who Rock, The Current, KFAI, and more. In addition to clubs and festivals she has performed at venues including The Guthrie, The Cowles Center with the James Sewell Ballet, and even the Fitzgerald Theater with Garrison Keillor!
In depth Bio:
Katy Vernon is a Minneapolis / St. Paul based singer songwriter. She grew up in London, England and has been writing and singing as long as she can remember. It’s been the way she can get out some pretty serious personal notes about the loss of both her mother and father when she was a child.
Looking for a new way to find her voice led a singer of sad songs to a happy instrument. Katy always poured herself into her lyrics but sometimes found it difficult to share some of her most personal subject matter with an audience. Despite her inclination towards the melancholy, Katy has always been a natural entertainer. Seeking that balance of musicality and expression led her to the ukulele. Not as simply a novelty toy or even as the increasingly popular jam band instrument, this little Hawaiian guitar opened up Katy’s songwriting and allowed her to take herself a little less seriously and in turn got her taking her music career a lot more seriously.
“After my mom passed away, it became a more serious outlet for me. Instead of journaling, I would write songs,” Vernon said. “You either want to scream or you just want to sing.”
She pours not only her grief, but also her dreams and desires into her songs and used that as a way to communicate and connect. “There’s nothing much that beats that feeling of singing a personal song and seeing how it can translate to another person”. This has taken many forms as Katy has grown as a writer, from people dealing with loss, to people with other challenges and struggles. Rather than shy away from that feeling of exposing her inner most feelings, she has worked in the past few years to explore that further. “I always felt a slight sense of over indulgence, or embarrassment to be that open, that miserable! In front of people, I think it’s a very English thing to try to and pretend everything is fine, but that’s just a part of who I am, and the kind of connection I want to have with the world. I wear my heart on my sleeve, take it or leave it!”
She eventually moved to the US after meeting her future American husband on a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. This was a chance to start over. A chance to choose family and happiness and re-invent her life. The very definition of an American dream!
She spent the first few years getting to know Minneapolis and playing with several bands. Most notably as lead singer of ‘The Camdens’ with another English transplant, Scott Walker. During this time Katy wrote many of the bands songs. One of those was nominated for ‘Song of the year’ at the Minnesota Music Awards.
In 2010 Katy picked up a ukulele and this led to a whole new direction for her writing and performing. This was a turning point after a lengthy break from performing while she started a family. It was also the beginning of her embrace of taking the central role in a band as more than a vocalist. Learning how to play a new instrument and performing solo re-charged her in every way.
Katy’s heartfelt lyrics add a weight and poignancy to this happy little instrument. “I’m a singer of sad songs on a happy instrument,”
“As soon as I started to play around on it I started writing. The song “Five O’Clock” was the first one I wrote. After years of staring sadly in frustration at my guitar I realised I just needed to play a different instrument! Now I like to switch back and forth between guitar and uke and it helps give the songs a different feel from each other.”
In 2012 Katy put together a band and released her debut solo cd ‘Before I Forget’. This was both a tribute to her parents, but also an embrace of the new found joy of playing the ukulele. A follow up is scheduled for release Fall of 2015. Katy Vernon performs regularly at venues such as the Aster Cafe (Which sold out for her Third Annual Uke-Fest!), The Amsterdam Bar, 331 Club, Icehouse, and Lee’s Liquor Lounge. She has also been featured at The Guthrie, The Cowles Center with the James Sewell Ballet, and even the Fitzgerald Theater with Garrison Keillor! Katy also enjoys playing outdoor shows and benefits.
“After all, you’d hate to be in the middle of a world-changing conversation, catch one of Katy Vernon’s songs out of the corner of your ear, and find yourself standing there, leaving you wondering what the hell you were talking about a minute ago. ” – Dwight Hobbes, TC Daily Planet
“Before I Forget“. Full length Debut
Past music: As lead singer for the group ‘The Camdens’, Katy played all over the Twin Cities. She was also nominated for a Minnesota Music Award for her song ‘Invitation’ which was competing for Song Of The Year. Limited Quantities of ‘Halfway Around the World’ by The Camdens available at shows (If you know the special handshake!)
Recently featured on WCCO News: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/11/15/women-who-rock-katy-vernon
& MPR News.. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/10/03/ukulele
Also: TPT Almanac http://video.tpt.org/video/2279389099/
Please “like” www.facebook.com/katyvernonmusic to keep in touch. I hope to hear from you. Thanks, Katy.