Tell us about yourself.
I am a 25-year old independent artist based in New York City. I am currently in law school and am about to graduate! I have a recording studio set up in my lower east side apartment, which I record daily. I write music as a release and a form of therapy. I’ve been writing and recording music my whole life and I’ll never stop.
Tell us about yourself as an artist.
I have been writing and performing music since I was five years old. I was in a band with my three sisters when I was younger and performed in various venues throughout New York. I now write, produce and record my own original music. I sing, play the piano, guitar, and trumpet.
Tell us about the genre of your music.
I would describe my genre as alternative pop/alternative R&B. I write melancholy love songs with lots of harmonies.
Tell us about the story behind your song.
I wrote this song when I started law school. I had been working in bars and restaurants and just wasn’t satisfied with my life. Even when things may seem good in my life I have a hard time staying satisfied and content. I always want more or need to challenge myself further. This is one of the reasons I ended up in law school. Even in relationships, I have a hard time staying happy and tend to think that things should be better or different. This is all reflected in the song, and I think it is actually a very common human condition.
Tell us about the problems you are facing as a musician.
The music industry is very saturated. There are a lot of people who will claim that they can help you and it’s hard to tell who is actually legitimate and who is just scamming you. It’s few and far between that you find real, genuine, talented people. Those are the best and I cherish those connections.
Tell us about the recording and production of the song.
I recorded this song in the home studio I have set up in my bedroom. I live in the lower east side so I have a very small apartment and two other roommates. Aside from my bed, my recording equipment basically takes up the rest of my room.
List the names of blogs, radio, or TV stations that have supported you so far.
A Night in the 6ix and ZachyMorris have been very supportive. Other than that’s it’s been all SoundCloud and social media support.
Tell us more about your music career, experience, and future goals.
Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As I get older I’ve been able to hone in on the type of music I want to make and the message I want to share. I feel more purpose and urgency now and I have a lot of new music and other projects coming this year!
Brief us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.
I am inspired by the everyday situations/emotions that bring us together as humans. When I tell someone about an experience or a struggle and they’ve been through it as well. A lot of people today like to portray their lives as glamorous and perfect, which is never the case. I like to write about the real struggles and experiences that everyone else goes through every day. I grew up with little money and have now made it through law school with no financial support, so I have a lot to say about struggle, hard work, and persistence.
Brief us the top-secret behind making a hit song.
Be genuine! A lot of people use cliché’s or write about what they think people want to hear. Write about your own experiences and exactly how you’re really feeling! The best music is honest and genuine, which makes it relatable.
Tell us the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
Be persistent. The industry is so saturated, but a lot of artists give up at a certain age. Don’t allow negative feedback or discouraging situations to affect your drive. Keep perfecting your craft and doing what you love.
Discuss at length your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition, or awards you might have obtained.
I began recording and performing live when I was 5 years old. I recorded my first album with my sisters when I was 9. We recorded two more albums together after that, and then I began focusing on my own music. I’ve always had a pretty good idea of what I wanted my style to be, but it takes time and growing up to know what you want to write about. Now that I’m 25 I’ve experienced more in life and have spent more time reflecting, so I feel that I have more to say. This is my first full solo album, and I’m excited to follow it up with much more work. I have several collaborations coming up and a video in the works.
Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.
I usually need to hear a track or write a chord progression first. Once I vibe with a track then usually the lyrics and melody will come to me. I tend to hear melodies first and fit the correct words to them after. Even when I’m listening to other people’s music, I connect with the melodies first and then usually learn the words afterward.
Name the artists you are willing to collaborate with.
I would love to collaborate with Jhene Aiko or Frank Ocean. Both artists write the most ethereal music with lyrics that hit you in your core. I feel like they’re my musical soul mates.
State the links to your social networks and stores for the purchase of your songs.
Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.
Happiest day: It hasn’t happened yet, but I think it will be the day I graduate from law school. It is something I’ve always wanted to do and I can’t believe it’s only a few months away.
Saddest Day: I recently went through a breakup. It was mutual, but it was with someone who is still very special to me. So that has really affected me in a serious way. You never think relationships like that will end, but sometimes they need to.
Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.
If I had a million dollars, first I would pay back my student loans!!! And honestly, I would split the remainder among my family. My parents and three sisters have shaped who I am as a person and a musician, and have been incredibly supportive of everything I do.
Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base.
Social media is an incredible thing. It has allowed me to meet and work with artists around the world who I never would have met otherwise. I think Spotify, blogs, and SoundCloud are the most useful tools for music promotion. I am always connecting with blogs and playlist curators to get help sharing my music. When I was younger I thought that I would be ‘discovered’ playing in a bar, but I really believe it all now happens online.
Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.
Well, I’m a full-time law student so it’s always a challenge. I take my music career just as seriously as my law career, so it is a constant balance. When it’s time to make music I turn off everything else and devote all my energy to writing and recording. When it’s time to study, I do the same. It’s all about living in the moment and being efficient with the time you have.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Katarina Leon – Katarina is my actual first name, and Leon is my grandmother’s maiden name. She has been a huge inspiration throughout my entire life. Her last name is also much more memorable and easy to pronounce than mine!
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Common” – This song is about the idea that no matter what you see on social media, and no matter how people portray themselves, we all go through ups and downs and handle it in different ways. It is the inevitable human condition and we all have that in common. In the song, I talk about certain ways I am unsatisfied in life, and how that makes me a “common human.” There is a lot of misconception and pretending these days on social media. My goal with my music is to bring people together and make them feel that they can relate to someone else because everyone is much more vulnerable than they let on.
State the title of the album and the reason for picking the title.
The title of the album is also “Common”, and the explanation is the same.