Beyond a Song: Kate Klim (Part 1)
Beyond a Song: Kate Klim (Part 2)
Beyond a Song host Rich Reardin interviews Nashville singer/songwriter Kate Klim. Kate Klim was five years old when her family inherited a piano, 9 years old when she received her first lesson, and 11 years old when an unsuccessful audition for the film “Life with Mikey” caused her to rethink her planned career as a movie star.
This was fortunate, because the singer/songwriter the Boston Herald has called a “best bet for folk-pop stardom” then turned to music.
With roots in Illinois and Pennsylvania, Kate discovered her parents’ record collection early. She fell in love with iconic songwriters like Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Neil Young, but also with her mother’s stack of Motown 45s and classic 80s artists like Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner. (She will forever have a soft spot for the Bangles, and her first official “cover song” was performed at seven years old – a very passionate rendition of Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” delivered after a falling out with her then 6-year-old sister.) While Kate had been tinkering with melodies since she was a toddler, as she grew up they evolved into full fledged songs and by college she found herself majoring in songwriting at Boston’s acclaimed Berklee College of Music. It was here that Kate worked on her skills as a writer and performer, and became involved with the music community known for producing icons like Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman, Patty Griffin and many more. Within a few years of her debut as a singer/songwriter, she was opening for artists like Shawn Colvin, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell and a regular on stages like Club Passim and Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe.
Kate has been recognized by some of the country’s premier songwriting contests. She won the 2010 Kerrville New Folk competition, was selected as an Emerging Artist by the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. She has also been a finalist in the Mountain Stage Newsong Contest (as Kate puts it, “if you need to lost a song contest to someone, you could do worse than Ingrid Michaelson”), the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and Telluride Troubadour Competition, among others.
Her first release “Up and Down and Up Again” was created with the help of renowned producer Crit Harmon (Martin Sexton, Susan Werner, Lori McKenna), and was dubbed a “gem” by Performing Songwriter Magazine. Crit’s experience with Lori McKenna led him to suggest Nashville, TN as a place for Kate to explore – she ended up moving there permanently in 2009. Her second release, “Kamikaze Love,” was produced by friend and band mate Brian Packer. A good marriage of her folk and pop sensibilities, its songs were featured in several TV shows, including the pinnacle of high-brow, intellectual social commentary: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Her third studio album, 100 Million Years, was released in the late summer of 2014 – an album Kate described as having “a little more maturity and a little more quirk.
After a hiatus of several years surrounding the birth of her two sons, Kate returned to the studio in early spring 2020 with new experiences to share and new songs to sing. While the initial recording session wrapped in early March of 2020, the final sessions were postponed as the first wave of Covid shutdowns hit. The album, which chronicled change and growth through the lens of her ending marriage, was completed at home while she finalized divorce proceedings with her then-husband under the same roof.
The result is her 2022 release “Something Green.” Despite the album’s roots, she is quick to point out that they aren’t songs about loss. “It’s an album about hope, love, change, and new growth.” Kate looks forward to return to live shows in support of the album, which she views as her strongest release yet. While the subject matter and recording experience were far from what she envisioned, what came of it was something positive and something healing. The lyrics from the title track seem fitting: “Sometimes you burn it down, so the rest don’t go. Sometimes you burn it down… so something new can grow.”