8 Feb 2019

NZ Live: Katie Thompson

From NZ Live, 2:25 pm on 8 February 2019

Katie Thompson

Katie Thompson Photo: supplied

Christchurch alt-country singer Katie Thompson is an expert at enlisting fans of her music – about half of whom are outside New Zealand – to help out her career.

They support her with monthly subscriptions on the content platform Patreon, and in return, she plays private shows at people's houses and does fan-only live video streams.

Katie's third album (which was crowdfunded) is due out mid-2019. She plays us a couple of tracks from it (plus a John Prine cover) and chats to Jesse Mulligan.

Katie Thompson played:

  • 'Rock'n'roll' – a song addressed to hecklers
  • 'Rough Seas' – a song about her grandfather's life based on his memories shared over cups of tea
  • 'Angel From Montgomery – a 1971 John Prine song she's been singing since she was 14

Katie tells Jesse Mulligan she started playing piano at the age of 4, drums at 11 – entering Smokefree Rockquest in an all-girl band – then at 13 started doing backing vocals.

Her first album – 2009's Tall Poppy – was also crowdfunded and she holds the title of the first country artist in the world to raise US$250,000 online.

At the time Katie had a Facebook page, but it was before social media was huge so she kind of had to explain crowdfunding to the people who were hearing her demos.

Katie's second album was recorded in the UK and her upcoming album is produced by Lyttleton's enigmatic and talented Ben Edwards.

Katie had wanted to work with Edwards for a very long time after first hearing his work on an album by The Eastern.

"I was like damn, I want to make that sound happen for me".

Patreon subscriptions provide Katie with a wage which enables her to focus on touring and recording and not have to play pubs where she's not well appreciated, she says.

"There's always like 'Why don't you play 'Wonder Wheel'?' ... 'Why don't you… go home?"

Katie's subscribers get access to live streams and behind the scenes stuff, she says.

Recently she played the "best gig ever" at a private house in Reefton on the West Coast, near where she grew up in Hokitika.

Katie says it was really fun "having yarns" with everyone afterward over a glass of wine or a cup of tea…

'If there's anybody out there who would like a home concert, do get in touch."

Listen to Katie Thompson perform and chat to Katy Gosset back in 2015 here.

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