“The greatest songwriters are seldom songwriters alone. Some are creative polymaths while others synthesize elements from an array of forms into a wider songwriting vision. Kathy Muir is more than a songwriter.” Jason Hillenberg, Music Emissions
Soulful balladeer Kathy Muir conjures enlightened songs that paint vivid landscapes of her journey as she transforms elements of pop, folk, jazz and the blues into brand-new sounds. Her warm, playful voice glides through lyrics that unfold like the words of an inviting diary. They are joined by ethereal guitar melodies and rhythms of an orchestra of other instruments that help tell the story of her well-traveled life.
Muir’s fine-tuned skills as a songwriter and a photographer as well as her willingness to share personal perspectives and bold emotions enrich her intimate, multidisciplinary approach to her art. And she honors creative innovators and her own folk heroes, including naturalist John Muir, painter Pablo Picasso, expansive pop and rock songwriters like Queen and Tangerine Dream and R&B goddesses Aretha Franklin and Robert Flack who have all shaped her style. Muir’s frequent collaborations with artists across media have allowed her to continuously evolve her work while extending the boundaries of singer/songwriter material into unexpected realms. Her new single, “Second Life” explores metamorphosis and change and celebrates her love of sweeping, dramatic ballads.
Where Art Meets Music
The possibilities presented by humanity’s creative canvas have always fascinated Muir. She has dedicated herself to unearthing the rich spaces where visual art, music, and poetry meet. Muir’s roots in spiritual songs have remained with her as she voyaged beyond Scotland, to France and ultimately Stamford, CT, where she now resides. Along the way, she has found her own inner voice as a songwriter and an organic approach that is inspired as much by her personal experiences as it is by her own boundless energy and pure imagination. The melodies flow through her, and she ties them together with delicate threads of chords and lyrics.
A prolific and fastidious creator, Muir has released many musical and multi-media projects during her career. Many have been collaborations with other artists. One project of note was “Sweet and Easy”, a song inspired by her love of John Muir and the pictorial style of The Seattle Camera Club (1924-1929). Muir also worked with high school photography students on her song “Keep on Walking” about the issue of homelessness in Miami; the video for the song featured arresting photographs they had taken of the homeless population in Miami.
Muir’s single “Seattle Mornin” explored the evolution of relationships and offered up lyrics inspired by Pablo Picasso’s sense of surrealism and abstraction. One of Muir’s most recent project for her single “Like Warriors” was a community video made using photographs from the 1960s and 1970s provided by her neighbors in Edinburgh. More recently Pocketful of Sand was released (May 2017) in collaboration with an Instagram sketch artist.
In September 2016, Muir released her third album, “Second Life”. To mark its launch she released the Second Life music video, presenting the work of a British pencil/sketch artist. She later released a music video for “Troubled Town,” that tells the story of her life in Connecticut as well as her life in Edinburgh. Muir continued to reinvent herself with July 2017 release of “2+2=4”. The songs are lo-fi in feel with authentic yet honest lyrics that meet the tone of the music. She will soon be releasing two more music videos for “2+2”.
Muir completed seven songs in the studio and will be releasing this as singles over 2018. Muir is releasing them as double A-sides: version will be hi-energy pop and one the other acoustic/stripped back. She is also working on a personal project about the restoration of her father’s guitar which includes video footage of its restoration and writing a song on the guitar.
Kathy likes to be in front of an audience. What she is less well known for is her work behind a camera lens. Her first memory of owning a camera was from collecting comic-strip wrappers found inside Bazooka Joe chewing gum. “I had to collect a lot of Bazooka comics to send off for the ‘FREE! REAL CAMERA’. It was a magical moment.
Today she uses a Canon 5D MkII and her trusty iPhone. She can be found taking photos in her favorite cities Edinburgh, Paris, London and New York, or of the things she knows best: motorcycles, natural landscapes, railways stations and her fellow musicians.
Kathy is interested in the history of photography, with a particular penchant for 1920’s pictorial photography as seen through the lens of the Seattle Camera Club. Determined to raise awareness of, and to help preserve the work of these photographers, she collaborated with the University of Washington to create www.seattlecameraclub.com.
“Photography is such a personal choice and it’s true what they say, namely that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I mean, two people may look at the same object but see completely different things. There is a real buzz when you know you’ve truly captured a moment because, long after the photo has been taken, there remains an energy to the photograph before you. That’s how I feel about the work of the Seattle Camera Club and is what I aspire to possess in my own work. I try to imagine that if I were the viewer, would I want to look at a photograph time after time. It’s this measure that helps guide me in my work”.
Why Square Photos?
Here is a photography blog I posted which explains in more detail why I enjoy the challenge of shooting square photos
Why Metal Prints?
I like printing my photos using the same dimensions of a record album – let’s face it, some of the most iconic artwork was found on album covers. Printing on metal adds a further visual experience, where the image appears more detailed, more defined thanks to it being captured on this bright, vivid texture.
Have a look at Kathy’s photographic work.