Album Cover

Press Release: Katie Wellenberg drops debut album!

Album Release: July 31st 2020

Root to Rise is a compoud of 11 Americana & Folk inspired tracks reflecting on human relationships built around love, faith and social conventions. Katie describes her debut album as a love letter to human emotions, the good, the bad, the weird and the unlabeled ones. The song inspirations stem from a period of 15 years of her life, going back to teenage memories and past relationships as much as her present day issues and incorporating social criticism as well.

The album basically transports the emotions a young woman goes through in her mid 20ies and 30ies, which typically marks a time of immense personal development, change and readjustment of personal believe systems, dreams and perspectives on life“ says the artist.

The album´s  title „Root to Rise“ alludes to a traditional Yoga flow excercise which aims at feeling safe and grounded while daring to stand tall and reach high. The term perfectly sums up Katie´s songwriting journey that started 24 years ago, being a teenage kid with nothing but a journal and a dream, that seemed so out of reach at the time being, but prooved to be attainable after all!  „Chasing dreams requires hard work and a bit of naivety and playfulness. It basically takes a good amount of groundedness paired with the courage to let go of doubts and shoot high.“

This dream took a long time to manifest itself! Pouring her inner life into folky tunes with blues and pop/rock elements and tons of storytelling lyrics,  Katie decided in 2019 to finally record this set of original songs, that are rooted in her introspect character and are now ready to hopefully rise high on playlist charts!

All tracks were recorded and produced at Munich Sessions Studio in Germany with producers Alex Keogh and Patrick Thompson and mastered by Libertee Music Berlin.

Session Musicians were: Patrick Thompson on guitars, Mark Keane on Bass, Joel Moser on Drums/Percussion and Caroline Kelley on Piano + backing vocals.

For the full EPK, send an e-mail to

office(at)song-brewery.com

 

Please find a link to all major to the artist´s social media accounts below:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katie_wellenberg_music/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieWellenbergMusic

Bandcamp: https://katiewellenberg.bandcamp.com

Website: http://katie-wellenberg.com

Thoughts On Art

The role of art (to me)

Amidst all the wounds this world is suffering from these days…including the Australian Bushfires,  Covid 19, and now racist terror calling for action…,and yes, we need to act, yes, Black Lives Matter (!), I have reflected on my own art-making a lot more. I used to be so careless….Or was I?

Stuck in between

There is a constant struggle (for me) as an artist with regard to how much of the ego to allow in. On the one hand, the job of an artist is to express human emotions and experiences by means of music and poetry…To do so I try using a language of the heart, rather than the brain. To deliver beautiful art though, I do need to feel what I am creating…which means writing from a place of ego (in a way), allowing myself to go through the drama, the joy, the love, the hurt myself….When sharing my music though, I wish for the artwork to speak for itself! I want my songs to „work“ without me being involved! I want the songs to be strong enough, to convey a message regardless of the artist behind.

And yet, somehow I must admit, that a lot of songs I love listening to myself, are closely linked to the artists that sang them! Some of my favorite artists brought their messages across because they as a person delivered the context for them! In a way pieces of the artists make the art!

Not sure if that makes sense to everyone.

Anyhow, I struggle to balance out the amounts of ego and narcisissm I am required to put in!

So far, most of my songs stem from my own experiences or experiences of close friends that I am close enough to, to really relate! Bit self-centered, right? Being an empath I can luckily also relate to people´s joy and pain even if I do not know them! Unequality and violence always hurt me! Love always touches me!

However, I wonder…

How much does art „need“ to contain a relevant message? How altruistic do we need to be? Some say it is the duty of an artist to reflect the times we live in and then process the observations by means of art. In a way I like this idea, because art can touch peoples´ hearts more than mere rhyme and reason. So it is a great means to bring about change, if needed! And yet: Who am I to preach?

To be honest, this point of view mixed with my fear of being too self-absorbed by writing about my emotions, has caused a block in me recently! I was unsure whether I am an artist at all! Whether I should stop sharing music altogether and just keep to myself? Whether I had to find a way to become more political, more cultural! More „relevant“!

But I found an answer (within and) for myself. In my opinion, art does not have to have a purpose per se! Art is the only „discipline“ that is rooted in complete freedom! And that also means freedom of purpose. Art does not need to make sense necessarily. If it resonates with you somehow, that is already enough! And even if it does not, that is fine! Art is expression, communication, magic….Art may cover all aspects of human experience…BUT! It does not have to focus on the „relevant, most prominent issues“ all the time! Art is not a political weapon in my opinion. It can be, but it need not be!

And: Self-expression and being vulnerable does not equal feeding the ego! Sometimes the opposite is true!

So maybe if you know an artist that is struggling with finding meaning themselves, share this post. Allow for them to just release whatever their soul demands. Because:

Art is free!

 

Cheers and happy weekend!

Katie

Personal brand

Personal Brand versus being an actual person

DOES THE DATA DRIVEN WORLD OBJECTIFY US?

This may or may not be the last post in my series around „identity, potential and self-development“, that I think is crucial to think through as an artist!

In my last post I was honing in on the plea for more freedom as opposed to restrictive identity boxes. We like to put people into boxes, including ourselves, and I believe we often reduce ourselves to these pre-sets that exist merly in our minds!

 

In today´s post, I would like to take this topic to the next level, by examining the pros and cons of creating a personal brand as a musician. This thread basically refers to the old distinction between

FREE ART vs COMMERCIAL SUCCESS

It is true, that in order to achieve commercial success as an artist, creating a personal brand around ones music is crucial. Not only does this somewhat „artificial“ identity make you stand for something, that fans feel attracted to and will consistently come back for, but also does it prove necessary if you want to make use of today´s Marketing tools, such as music playlists and automated online campaigns, that identify your key audience for you based on their key interests and your key identity.

This brings me to the core problem I see in Online Marketing.  It is data driven companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify and the likes that decide which content might be „of interest“ to us. Or, to be more accurate, which contents we may fall prey to most likely!

THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY

From a Marketer´s point of view this is great news. Tailor-made target groups that are receptive to your messages and products.

From a consumer´s point of view this system has its pros and cons. Some may argue they enjoy receiving customized ads, helping them find new products they really like. Others might feel manipulated and like they are being used!

LET`S ZOOM OUT

On a broader scale though, the danger i.m.o. lies in the segregation that is happening by means of data research. Companies can play out trending topics to various peers, thereby chosing who to inform about what (and who to keep out of the equation) and re-grouping social structures according to their needs! Heck, even facebook won´t play out your content to all your „friends“, but makes use of algorithmns to determine and select who „should“ see your latest posts! I am not implying, that these companies are evil or that they mean to harm us (in most cases they probably do not – hopefully), but it is undeniable that they are capable of using our data whichever way they want! There is an immense power behind this, that we all too often like to ignore- lazy and distracted as we are.

We have become stats in a world of numbers and cash value indicators! And even worse, we are a product of the media we consume. We are being told what to like, what to buy and who to spend time with! And we are victims of what I call „diffuse information policy“.

NOW WHAT?

Frankly, as an artist, this does not feel right! It does not feel right to support this system and it does not feel right no narrow my art down to what my target group might like!  As an artist, it is my goal to create value for people! Not to make profit out of people!

Am I an artist or a service provider? Do I want fans or clients? What is the priority? Do I want people to look at things a certain way (a different way) or do I want to cater to their way of thinking?

Do I want to invite people to expand their vision or do I want to comfort people by reinforcing what they already „see“ (or in the case of music „listen“ to)?

As always, there is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle! But the truth is, that it is usually an artist´s desire to explore new territories constantly and questioning everything! It is an artist´s job to discover new angles to old problems as well. As a lyricist this can be as simple as finding new words to describe universal feelings!

There is almost no story that has not been told, but it is the individual twists and turns that add appeal to these stories making them attractive over and over again!

So, why would we stick to the familiar presets all the time? Why don´t we allow for new experiments? New flavors? And new ways to look at things?

CONCLUSION

I believe that a Personal brand is helpful in terms of certain basic values! But there needs to be so much room for trial and error and exploration! In order to attract your fans´ attention over a long period of time, you need to introduce something new every now and then! Balance out the „old familiar“ with the „yet to be discovered“ time and again!

I believe as people and as artists we need to break free from the chains of data driven predispositions and allow for equal access to content and information/education! I believe in taking back our right to choose for ourselves what we like and let ourselves be surprised not by playlists provided to us by streaming services, but enjoy unexpected song discoveries, that strike a chord as we discover them in settings we do not usually touch base with!

We need so much more room and so much more freedom! But to gain it, we would have to stop being sedated by the online dictatorships that make us believe they are on our side!

I´m almost certain that they are not!

Cheers,

K

 

mindset

Trade in Identity for Potential

So, subsequently to my last post, I have found some new views.

Instead of focussing on the term identity, which automatically leads to us clinging to some ideas of who we think we are, putting us into boxes, and forcing us to hold on to what we seem to like or not like and ultimately narrowing our flexibility, we could just focus on our potential instead. The many possibilities that lie within and before us, and the option to  step into any one at any given time.

This detachement from identity comes with the freedom to chose anew everyday…to truely change anytime we want and stay open to discover new things. As an example: Instead of saying…“I wish I could be a surfer, but I´m just a scared person, so this would probably excite me too much“, we could chose to be curious and daring instead and maybe discover that we were made for the water;).

Look, I am not saying identity isn´t helpful! The world is a chaotic place and finding some sort of recurring pitstops makes sense, but like with any system, the degree of flexibility and static can be re-modelled and so why not?

Shouldn´t we „identify“ a little less and „potencify“ a little more? Yes- let´s use this new word! If this leads to more happiness, I´m all for it!

Less identity also brings more uncertainty for sure. That is why we cling to our beliefs so much. That´s why it is so hard to change. We seem to like security more than freedom! But should we? Isn´t it the lazy way?

Let us check!

If we look at the pychology of humans, we need both. Every child needs both the security (a safe haven) of love AND the freedom to be independent and make their own choices! You can watch this need for autonomy set in in a 2 year old already.

Democracy is built upon this very same psychological need. Granting us certain categories of freedom, but in a realm of control. The laws we have are of course meant to protect us all! To set rules, that we all agree upon!

The question is, how narrow are the borders? And how safe is our security net, if it breeds more and more anxiety, depression and greed as a result of „forced beliefs“, a „cultural habitus gone wrong“ and „judgement if you go against the grain“.. worst of all…a competitive mindset, that the capitalist world fosters.  Shouldn´t we break free from these limiting and destructive chains?

At some point isn´t it inevitable that the system (the security net we think we have) collapses? Where fear and suppression transforms into anger and aggression, then endangering the safe nests we live in?

Isn´t it a question of time before things blow up? Before the system overspills. Any system has a lifetime span and we might have reached the end point.

Conclusion

I.m.o. now is the time to redefine the limits…to say goodbye to capitalism as we know it…to readjust our definitions of who we are and „should“ be as individuals and global communities and also as companies.  To allow for more potencial and less (restrictive) identity, if it makes us happier, more loving and healthier.

There is an urge for it. You see it in people calling themselves genderless or „spiritual, but not religious“. We seem to feel constricted by the regulations that have worked in a long lost past, but do not work anymore.

We need more room in our boxes!

This is exciting to witness…I´m glad to live in a time of great cultural enlightement and change!

 

The video below opened my eyes a lot! Take a look!

 

 

identity

Who do you think you are?

I´m an artist! I love to do some deep thinking at times! Or am I? Do I?

Anyone here wanna reflect with me on who we are?

Last year around this time I was hooked on the TV series Westworld (1st season was phenomenal), which I thought was thought provoking in philosophical ways like no other show!

If you haven´t seen it…it is basically about computers that look like humans and develop artificial intelligence and self-consciousness. And that´s what got me thinking today…

What is consciousness? What is our truth? What makes us different from machines?  Who says we are different from animals? What is an identity?

I was thinking some weird thoughts (like that´s new;))!

What if a Teddy bear or a doll we love and play with could in fact have emotions? Yes, we know it is not a „living“ thing, so we do not ascribe them any…but does the Teddy bear know that?  What if our thoughts and storylines, brought him alive? What if our love for that Teddy bear brought him alive?  This is very hypothetical – I´m well aware!;) . But! What if God plays with us that way? What if He makes us evil or cute or funny…loving us all, because we´re his playmates? What if the love we feel (that life energy), the interpretations of self, were just His thoughts, his joy in us? Again- just hypothetical. Is there a God at all?

Is this all too farfetched?  

Well, what makes us think we have free will in the first place? We are, per science, a mixture of biological genetics that we have no direct power over (the inheritance of our ancestors, the history of the world so to say), but we are also mental beings…that are shaped by our upbringing…the environments, the belief sytems we adapt to….we are being „programmed“ by our communities let´s say!

This „programming“ (which starts in the early childhood) has many affects on our self-perception! On who we think we are. We only ever interpret who we are and the world around us…we cannot access an objective view on things, because we are not all knowing, all seeing or all feeling..we are subjective because we are single, seperate subjetcs….The fact that we are what we believe  we are becomes obvious, once we understand that by changing our thinking patterns, we can change our emotions. So our emotions are a result of our thoughts…the way we interpret, handle and proess thoughts AND sensory stimuli.  Something that psychologist work with when treating patients by techniques such as NLP and the like.

OK, so if we can change our enforced „programming“, then we can change our identity in parts, right? If I was raised on negative behavious, becoming depressed and sad, I might think that´s who I am. Now, I can learn to re-evaltute things, change the way I think and maybe discover that I can be happy. I can choose to be someone else. But this only goes for the mental part. Our biological genes we cannot change (only over the course of generations, as we will see later). So does that mean our identity is rooted in those biological genetics? Is identity tied to our  rather“static“ part in our DNA? Or is identity something fluid, that is rooted in our mental interpretations of ourselves? They way we see ourselves?  Is it interchangable?

What does that mean then?

If so, couldn´t machines with artificial intelligence develop self-consciousness as well? Some sort of „constructed, fictional“ identity? Or does it require sensual experiences to be a „real, living“ thing maybe?  A physical ability to feel, smell, see, taste and hear? Hm, what if the computer could be sold into experiencing sensual stimuli? Like they do in Westworld!

The question that comes up ultimately, is not just, who are we, but what is the definition of „alive„?  Probably independence in a way? Something that needs no activation from the outside (like a power switch) ?

I´ve personally always thought life is love paired with some sort of intelligence! An energy running through our blood, like fuel in a machine. We lose it, we die.  But what or who fuels us? And what is death then?

These questions are not new at all, but I wonder, how do we find out who we are as individuals and communities? How can we shape our identities or can we only shape our behaviours? Is there no such thing as an identity? Is it a construct to help us navigate through life more easily? Are we free to change completely?

Are we? 

Our freedom might be limited biologically. Our mental health has an impact on our physical bodies, but so do our bodies on our minds. Testosteron levels for example can increase, if we feel good about ourselves and strong and like a winner.  Or when falling in love!

Likewise, our body can affect our minds. We don´t have a 360 degree free will, but we seem to be given a lot of freedom in reshaping ourselves. We only access about 7% of the capacity of our brains, and large parts are in the subconscious mind. And yet by changing our thoughts, we can change our bodies and eventually pass on new genes to our children. But the question remains, who are we? What defines our „who“?

I´d love your thoughts!! I know these are no „urgent“ questions for our daily lives, but they are for my peace of mind! Or so I think;)

Debut Album

Some Album updates!

Heya my lovelies!

It has been long time no see…and I need to apologize for the long pause in posting updates!
2020 has been very good to me so far, except for the current situation, we are all facing!

I am hoping that you are all staying at home as best you can and being healthy and safe with your loved ones!

Today I would like to give you some quick updates on the album production. As most of you  know, I have been working on my debut album last fall and am now awaiting the final mix, before the album is being mastered!

The album will comprise 12 songs, which range from country and blues to folky singer/songwriter tunes and some pop inspired pieces as well. Overall you may look forward to a collection of Americana songs I´d say!

 

The songs that went on the album are dear to my heart and touch on topics such as:

Jealousy, social anxiety, faith, love and certain social issues as well.

 

They are the resumee of my late twenties and early thirties and the observations I made. I suppose the experiences you make at that age typically lead to a lot of personal growth as a result of the struggles and hurdles we face amidst growing up, settling down and setting sails again maybe.

I might post little videos explaining the song lyrics and the stories that inspired those beginning soon! So stay tuned!

We currently plan with a release date in early June, maybe later! I will keep you posted once the final timeline is clear!

 

On other news, the gig on April 12th at Gans am Wasser has been cancelled obviously! I will keep you in the loop regarding new dates asap!

 

Meanwhile, head over to my Youtube channel for some new song material or follow me on soundcloud, where I will soon upload some rough demos as well!

Stay happy, sane and healthy!

Love always!

 

Katie