CW: You have a different sound than your peers in the industry. What drives this desire to create something different?
Katy: The fact that as Christians we should have a higher calling than just being imitators. We should totally be original and not copies. Sometimes, I think, in the Christian industry we're focused too much on what everyone else is doing and it's not what God wants us to do. I don't need to look at everyone else's inspirations, even though I have inspirations of my own. Christian music should be beyond the call, be beyond even what mainstream people think they can do. In the mainstream world, most of them are getting their influences and making their songs and their creations out of, from the influences you know-NOT OF GOD! Obviously, if we have God, He's the ultimate Creator, look around you. And this whole big deal about us teens, "We have something to say!" I think it is more legit if we have something to say!
CW: Do you think this difference will draw a more diversified audience since you don't fit in the mold of teen pop?
Katy: I think it will. My live show is very different from my album-just me and my acoustic guitar, just bare bones. Nothing. If they're expecting a lot of hype, which I think there is some hype on my record. I'm not afraid to say that, since a lot of times you have to have major appeal on your first record. That's just how things go, and I don't mind it.
CW: Who influences your songwriting and style?
Katy: Musical influences... I've told this to everybody, Jonatha Brooke. I don't know what it is. She's just so appealing and so honest. Even to the point where it's like, "Ew, don't want to listen to that music!" because it's something that's an honest fact of life. I think it's good, I think it's healing in a lot of ways. And it's not spiritual, I don't believe she's a believer. Basically, it's just really talented music. It's good music. That's really cool when you can make something, create it yourself, and everybody says, "I want to be just like you."
CW: Does being a preacher's kid affect the way you write and perform?
Katy: Not really. My whole spiel was, "I'm having a pity party because I'm a preacher's kid." Life wasn't handing me lemonade, it was handing me bananas, and I was making banana bread, dude. Who cares? I'm not gonna wallow in my self-pity because I'm a pastor's kid. I have problems with people who are like, "You're a pastor's kid!" I'm just like you, like anybody else. So what if people look at you-everybody's always going to look at you. I think people are people until we have eternal life and that's when everything changes.
CW: Yeah, I think in music sometimes people treat artists like stars, and yet they are normal people.
Katy: Dude, I'm so normal, it's not even funny. I fit the mold in a lot of ways. And I break the mold in a lot of other ways. It's just because I'm 16 and I haven't seen a whole lot yet. I've been in it for about a year now. I go home, nobody cares. I'm just chillin' with my best friends. I'm doing what I'm doing because this is me; this is why I do it. I could do it by myself and just be satisfied. This is how I get closer to God. And this is how I show Him my frustrations. I carry through life by writing and playing my songs. It's an emotional and spiritual release for me. I don't really have to do it for everybody. I thought maybe they just wanted to listen, so they can be affected and touched the same way I am. Nobody else matters but me and God. I can have all these people, but nothing is legit except me and God.
CW: So what was it like working with big-name producers like Otto Price and Tommy Collier?
Katy: They are cool, cool people. I have met some really cool people who know how to be cool! (laughs) I'm like "Oh, I've been trying all my life, but you really know what you're doing!" I look up to them, I respect them a lot, because everyone I try to work with, I try to have a really good personal relationship with. That can be a little touchy sometimes, like, "oh, don't get too close." But that's all I've ever known is getting close to people.
So is there a big tour on the way?
Katy: I don't know yet. We're going to do some festivals, and I just got signed up with a booking agency, so they should help with that. I'll be doing a couple things with Jennifer Knapp since she's now managing me. I'm really just experiencing things right now. I really thought by this point I'd be busting my chops and doing everything. Then I got my head focused, talked to a lot of people and [they were] like, "You have so many years..." I don't have to go, stress out, and blow a whole year or take every call and every concert. It looks like, "well, she doesn't have longevity so she has to do it this year." And that's not how its gonna be.
CW: How did you discover you were supposed to do music?
Katy: Well, the whole thing was, music was a hobby. And it was like you're a little kid and every little kid loves performing and being in front of the camera. That was me to the full extent. It got a little frustrating when I was 11 or 12. My mom was really into it, and she wanted me to do it every weekend, go sing in church. I was like, "I don't want to do it, I'm not ready for it." After a while, I just took a breather, and started playing guitar rather then singing to tracks. I'm not a completely deep person, but I do live outside the box. I understand life, a little more sometimes I think than other people my age do. Just because I've been travelling a lot, seeing different cultures, hanging out with a lot of different people. That really affected me, life has affected me. God has affected me, and my whole family has affected me. We've had a lot of struggles, like other families have, and I had to do something about that. It's like my guitar is my shrink! I write songs out of my emotional distress, my triumphs, or any kind of feeling I'm feeling, I'll write a song about it.
I just knew one day, it wasn't because all these labels were like, "Oh, we have to sign a hot, quick, new act, under 18, because that's what sells!" It's because this is my time, and it was right, it was right then. Maybe they thought they were getting a package deal, but I already knew this is what I was supposed to be doing. Some people might think, "You'll be more mature if you have this when you're older." And I'm just like, no, because there's people out there my age that are really wanting something like this. I know that because I have friends that look up to me and respect me because I'm like, "No, that's stupid, don't do that!" "Don't be retarded like that!" "Don't go smoke drugs!" I mean, do drugs, smoke drugs, I sound like an idiot! Just don't go do those things! They don't have their parents telling them that. So, I just realized this is what I've got to do. But it's still a process, and I'm still learning, and I'm still figuring out things. Yeah, I've got doubts coming out everywhere! But then I've got the truth backing it up. Maybe I don't please my whole audience, but there's four or five people out there, and they have had the worst day possible... I just want God to work through me. I don't care if I please the whole audience, I live for those four or five people! I love people! I absolutely love people!