Singer/songwriter Kat Quinn came to New York a year ago, intent on making a life as a performing songwriter. Shortly after arriving, her shows began winning praise for her warm, sensitive vocals, easy-going charisma, and sharp, straight from the heart songwriting, with lyrics marked by a winning combination of poetry and plainspoken language. She has an uncanny ability to instantly draw listeners into her singular worldview.
She was soon attracting the attention of the City’s best musicians, including long time Carly Simon associate, guitarist/producer Peter Calo, who offered to produce an EP for her. They began working together and the result is Quinn’s debut, Exhale. Calo called in a line up of A List players to back Quinn on her first effort, including percussionist to the stars Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Suzanne Vega) and a full string quartet.
Ambient guitars give the title track, “Exhale,” a somber, dark aura. Quinn’s singing portrays a soul holding on to a love she knows is hopeless, determined to make it work. She’s more positive on “Coffee Shop Song,” a quiet love song to a barista she’d like to know better. “So Damn Cute” is a flirty seductive romp that blends propulsive acoustic guitars, chiming keyboards and subtle percussion to compliment Quinn’s mischievous, purring vocal, while “What Love Feels Like” is a playful ukulele tune about the joys of love and happiness.
Kat Quinn grew up in Marblehead, MA, a historic port town north of Boston known as the birthplace of the US Navy. Quinn didn’t think about a career in music until college, but grew up playing piano and drums. She played in marching, concert and jazz bands, “I got a guitar when I was 15 and taught myself to play, mostly singer/songwriter stuff. I took a few lessons later on, but focused more on learning songs I liked to sing, than working on becoming a great guitarist. I wrote my first song in college, when I was upset about a boy. The song just kind of fell out of me. After that, I started writing all the time. My voice teacher sent my demo to an artist in LA, who saw potential in the songs. That was the turning point.”
Quinn didn’t study music at Notre Dame; she majored in Spanish Literature and Peace Studies, with a minor in Latin American studies. She spent a lot of time in Latin America and even received a grant to travel to Ecuador to write songs about immigration. “My project involved gathering the stories of children who had been left behind by parents that had emigrated to other countries in search of work. My studies were a round-about way to get to songwriting, but I think it has given me a different perspective as a songwriter.”
The singer moved to Nashville after graduating from college. Although her music had a country slant, her lyrics didn't quite fit in Music City. Since relocating to New York, she’s been pursuing her songwriting career full time. She recently licensed a song to Happily After, a film by John Klein. The soundtrack won a Gold Medal for Excellence at the Park City Film Festival. The University of Notre Dame will include another song, “Luck and Angels,” on a two CD set, due out in the summer of 2012, that includes recordings from Regis Philbin, Cathy Richardson, Father Ted Hesburgh and the O’Neill Brothers.