With her strong, passionate voice and a penchant for writing honest—and sometimes sassy—song lyrics, Kathryn Dean is certainly a star on the rise in today’s music industry. Though her music career began only a short time ago, she already has an impressive number of accomplishments under her belt.
Dean’s newest album, Hit the Lights, was released on April 28 and is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. This new record contains the songs from her 2014 self-titled EP as well as five new tracks, which she says are more up-to-date with her musical style.
“I did revamp a couple of the [songs] on the EP,” she says. “I also had a lot of fun humming more harmonies for the songs. You can see how I’ve evolved as a singer and a songwriter over time.”
One thing in particular that Dean is excited to share with her fans is an upcoming music video for a track off of Hit the Lights. Once again, she has teamed up with Paul Boyd, director of her “I’ll Show You Crazy” music video, to bring this single to life.
“I’m really excited for everyone to see that because I had so much fun,” she explains. “I think girls are going to have a really fun time watching that video especially. I mean, I’m sure guys will too, but when everyone sees it, they’ll know why I’m like, ‘Ladies, you’re welcome.’”
Dean, who writes or co-writes all of her songs, began songwriting about three years ago.
“I’m pretty sure a boy broke my heart, probably,” she confesses when asked what got her started. As is the case for many artists in the industry, songwriting has become a form of therapy for her.
“Once I started, I couldn’t really stop. I just got addicted to it. It’s a good thing to be addicted to though, I figure,” she concludes.
However, her songwriting has surely contributed to her success. Her ability to create beautiful and catchy melodies that convey such a wide array of emotions is a talent that not many artists in the industry can replicate.
“I think it’s easier to start a career if you also write songs,” Dean speculates. In her experience, this has proven to be true. Though she has always loved singing and dreamt of pursuing a career in music, she notes that her dream began to seem more attainable after she began songwriting. “There are a lot of aspiring singers out there, but the number of singers who can also write songs kind of eliminates that population.” She also credits her manager, with whom she has worked for over a year now, with helping to kickstart her career and turn her dream into a reality.
Though she has only been in the industry for a short time, Dean’s fan base already spans continents. Last year, her songs “So Undeniable” and “Told You So” were featured in an episode of the hit Brazilian television series Malhação. The latter became the theme song of one of the soap opera’s protagonists, played by Anajú Dorigon, who is now a friend of Dean thanks to this connection and the help of social media.
“She reached out to me on Instagram,” Dean recalls. “We’ve communicated through Instagram and Twitter, and we kind of formed a little friendship bond through music.”
Besides helping Dean befriend Brazilian celebrities, social media has also become a means for her to keep people updated and connect with fans.
“Social media is a really good way to let out short bursts of information,” she remarks. “It helps you reach out to people all across the country and across the world. It’s one of the ways to also let me express my personality in ways that you can’t see or hear through a song or on a record.”
Dean’s newest video for “Be My Sin” has also garnered much positive attention from her fans on social media. As for the future, Dean will be embarking on a tour this summer, playing shows all over the east and west coasts.
“I’d also love to play something in Brazil, just to go see that part of my fan base,” she adds. Other dream performance venues of hers include the Grammy Awards and Madison Square Garden.
As a young woman full of talent and charisma, Kathryn Dean is on the horizon of becoming the next music superstar. BY REGINA WUNG
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Kathryn Dean Interview: Photographed by Angelo Kritikos