Katie Cassidy talks music and life after winning the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest
Brought to you by Le Crunch Apples from France.
“I wanted to keep that high and that feeling forever.”
It’s been a massive year for singer Katie Cassidy. Her win in last year’s Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Contest brought with it national exposure, showed her the impact that her music could have on the public and gave her a much-needed injection of self belief.
Last March, Katie overcome fierce competition to win the contest with her incredible cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” The talented Mayo singer walked away from Whelan’s with a €1500 prize and some incredible memories from the night. With a new album in the works, 2018 looks set to be another huge year for Katie Cassidy.
Talking to JOE, the Mayo singer revealed that the win acted as a catalyst to write and record her own material, provided a boost to her confidence and drove her to pursue her musical ambitions with a newfound determination. We discussed her new material, how her life has changed since last March and what winning the contest meant to her.
It’s been a good year for you. What’s been the biggest change that you've experienced in the last year?
It has been a great year and I learned a lot. Until now, I think I became quite comfortable doing my cover gigging so much so I found myself doing my couple of nights a week, taught my guitar lessons and on my own time rarely picked up the guitar for myself. I was always learning songs for the next gig or wedding or doing lesson plans. I completely stopped writing in those few years that I was concentrating on getting set up to make a living and before I knew it the years were flying by. 2017 was a year that I focused a lot more on myself and my own music and managed to balance everything a lot better. I tipped away at writing songs over the years but never seemed to finish them or have the drive in me that made me want people to hear them until these last few months since the Le Crunch contest. Something definitely clicked in me and I realised it was time.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you?
It's an absolute mixed bag of emotion. Some of the songs are rocky, some are dirty country sounding, some are poppy haha! For years, I thought I didn't have a sound and the songs didn't sound the same but I realise now they don't have to and I like to think there's a little something for everyone. I listen to every genre of music and I think my own songs show the different influences I have had, from jazz to grunge.
How much did winning the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest help you?
Winning the competition lit a fire in me or more like put a fire under me - either way it lifted my confidence hugely.
I found the online feedback in the weeks leading up overwhelming. I really saw how supportive everyone who knew me or who didn’t know me and who just followed my music were and that was all before even making it to the final.
So I was on cloud nine when I won it. I wanted to keep that high and that feeling forever, that feeling I had in Whelan’s that night on that stage and speaking with the judges Paddy, Niamh and Peter afterwards. It was all just amazing! So for me, the contest gave me a bit of confidence in myself.
What was your highlight of the last year?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest final and the weeks that followed it.
After the contest, I got straight into the studio working with an incredibly talented producer called John Henry and he helped me source some of the finest musicians and we started recording my album.
What’s your approach to writing new music?
I have tried different things over the years. Sometimes a phrase would come and I’d end up writing it on the back of a napkin or whatever was close by and work a song around it. Other times, I’d go to sleep and jump up out of the bed like I was possessed as something had come into my head and I’d have to grab my guitar or piano or anything I could rattle a tune out of and get it out.
The most recent material I have written were more like poems that I wrote on a notebook on my phone and I then put them to music. I was never really good with technology. I have no patience so I would record ideas down on voice notes on my phone or my H2zoom - very basic and never developed the ideas beyond the guitar and voice but when I got working with John, I got a small interface and my brother Philip set it up for me. John showed me a few things to get me started and I developed the songs that way, using all the instruments I had, and I found myself writing more and more material and sleeping less and less haha!
Can your fans look forward to a new EP in the near future?
Yes!! I was planning to release my album in January but life got in the way as it does and I hit a few bumps in the road but it is almost there and I hope to drop a single or two first in the very near future.
What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?
I have been blessed with some amazing experiences over the last 10 years gigging. And as I said, I will hold that feeling from the Le Crunch night in Whelan’s forever but the closest I had to that high was when I played a small festival in Market Drayton in Cheshire called the Rock 'n' Bowl Festival. I headlined the tent and it was just me and the guitar but the place was hopping- it was mental!
What’s been the strangest experience you’ve had at a gig?
Hmmmmm. Haha, well where do I start? As a solo female musician working in pubs, you can imagine I have seen quite a few drunken flashers!! Haha!
What can your fans look forward to in the coming months?
Some single releases and full Katie Cassidy original album.
What are your ambitions for 2018?
Hmmm. I would love to get myself out there more and do some of the unbelievable festivals that Ireland has. I really worked so hard on my album. I worked hard to pay for it, with of course the bonus of the contest money to help. But I also took every gig I could to have the highest quality I could have and I really gave it all I had. After hitting a few bumps in the road along the way, I still got back on the horse so all I hope for 2018 is that I can get it out there and that people will give it a listen and maybe even enjoy it!
If you'd like to follow in Katie Cassidy's footsteps, find out how you could enter the 2018 Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest here.
The Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest is proudly sponsored by Le Crunch Apples from France. The apples are available nationwide in a number of different varieties - Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith and Red Delicious! Check them out on @lecrunchapples, Facebook and YouTube. T&Cs apply.