Katie Herzig is probably my favorite emerging singer/songwriter on the scene right now. Her songs are just what my ears want to hear. Her third solo effort (after four releases fronting Colorado band Newcomers Home) came out a few months ago. Apple Tree is full of thoughtful introspection shrouded in playful sonic beauty and that’s a pretty great summation for the artist herself. You can even grab a copy of Apple Tree for FREE!

Katie Herzig

I’ve never done an IM interview.

I sort of created it, I think.

Of course you did.:) You should patent it.
I should, actually. Okay, you seem to have a lot happening. How’s it going out there?
It’s going great. Kind of crazy. I just got back from the Ten out of Tenn tour.
How’d that go for you and the other nine?
It was pretty amazing actually. I had my fears and doubts going into it, of course, having that many people on one bus. But all the shows were so great. I keep telling people it was like camp. We all are pretty inspired by each other and each other’s music so I think we all just felt pretty grateful to be a part of it. Strength in numbers, that kind of thing.
Such a great group. Butterfly (Boucher) and k.s. (Rhoads) surely kept things lively.
Yeah. They’re hilarious. We filmed the whole tour. If and when it turns into a documentary, I’m sure there will be much laughter had. And embarrassment.

Katie Herzig as The Bully

Oh you saw that eh?!
I did. I’ve never thought of you as a bully so much.
Yeah, Butterfly brings out the bully in me. You’d think I was the sweet nice girl with my sweet acoustic songs, but I’ve got a bit of bully in me. I kind of was a bit of one as a kid actually. Sadly.
So much for stereotypes!

How have the big things like Grey’s Anatomy and having your song nominated for a Grammy helped to drive things along?

Well the Grammy nomination thing was so random. It felt like that was more of a nice little twist to my bio kind of thing. But the Grey’s thing was really fun, as I’m kind of a Grey’s junkie. But Grey’s is a great show to be featured on because I think it’s one of the few that people go to to find music. So actually having people at my shows because they heard me in that one scene… that’s all you can hope for.
Could you see sales spikes after you were aired?
Yeah definitely. As an independent artist, you can see first hand how each of those placements affect sales.
Tell me about the experience of playing in an arena versus a coffeehouse.
Ha! Yeah… well there is a difference! Let’s see, in a coffee house you get free coffee and your songs are accompanied by the espresso machine sounds. But it’s all really laid back, of course. Sometimes it’s magical and sometimes you’re like… “why am I still playing here?”
And in the arena you get free whatever you put on your rider (which in my case is LARA Bars)… but your songs kind of bounce around in that huge space. I was really grateful that the lights were really low, so I didn’t have to see how many people were looking at me. Low lighting comforts me on stage. And then of course you’re thinking… “how did I get here?!” It’s pretty thrilling. My favorite though are theaters!

Ah yes. The artsy, pretty places would be your faves. As for Apple Tree, you brought in Cason Cooley to co-produce on this one. What did he bring to the table?

I love Cason! It was a big deal for me on this record to invite another producer into the process. So I didn’t take it lightly. It started as just trying it out and quickly became an official thing. But he brought with him a great appreciation for what my songs already were, so he respected that and didn’t change for the sake of change.
It was ego-less. He’s really patient with a song, and pays much more attention to quality of sound. So he slowed me down and took the time to make sure we were not only using the right parts, but having them sound high quality/vibey. I tend to get ideas and then get them out right away.

I love all the little sounds that bounce in and out, and the strong percussive vibe that is you. That kind of production makes for a record that is full of discovery even after repeated listens. It’s like Steady On — even after 18 years, I still love listening to that CD and hearing something new tucked in a corner somewhere.

I love that stuff too! I’m glad you hear that in my music because I always adore it in other people’s. I’m so drawn to sounds more than I am to actual instruments. And percussive elements are so important to feel for me… mmmm.
I did listen to Shawn Colvin tons over the years and love the percussive beds she and John Leventhal created. She’s such a percussive guitar player, too.

Absolutely. The other similarity is the true intimacy that the production wraps around the songs, especially with some of the vocals.

Yeah. A lot of my songs so far have started with guitar/vocal. And the production builds around that. Whereas in big studios often you put down the bass and drums then build it. Some of the best vocal takes came when I didn’t assume I was singing for a record. I just realized it after the fact.
Those are usually the best — less performance, more truth. So what’s up next? More touring?
More touring for sure. I want Apple Tree to see some serious light of day because I’m quite proud of it. So touring is a must for that to happen.
Well, you SHOULD be proud because it’s fantastic. And you SHOULD tour because you’re so wonderful live… even for a bully.
Thank you. I love playing live. It keeps me on my toes. It’s where you feel connected with people. With records, you put them out into the abyss and hope for the best. With live shows, you know right away if it’s connecting.