Today we have our Spotlight – Katelyn Lehner. Coming from Saskatoon, has been grinding on the scene for a little while now. We got to check out some of her music and we became fans. We chat with Katelyn about her music and her recently released Red which is available now. Learn a little more about Katelyn right now.
You started in music quite young with your first stage appearance at 3 in your preschool production. What was it about being on stage that draws you to it?
Live performance has always been my favourite part of what I do. It’s what draws me to my favourite artists and is something that I work hard at to be great at. I know the feeling that I get while watching an artist perform live, and I would love to make someone in my audience feel the same way. Live music brings people together and is always a safe, happy place. It’s a special feeling being onstage and bringing that type of feeling into a room.
You studied music for many years honing your craft. How did you keep yourself motivated and driven?
Music has never felt like work to me, so I never feel like I’m forcing myself to be motivated. I’ve always loved everything about it. The process of practicing for shows, writing or releasing music is always fun and you feel accomplished when you can see the final product come together.
Who are some major influences on you growing up? Alternatively, who are some artists people would be surprised you love?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of Shania Twain and Britney Spears. So, I guess that’s where my love for country/pop comes from! I listen to a wide variety of music, which mostly comes from music friends recommending things to listen to or to learn. I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan. I saw her during the Sweetener tour with one of my best friends and it’s by far one of the best concerts I’ve been to!
You’re from a small town called Prince Albert, Sask. It is about 35k people just north of Saskatoon. What was it like growing up in a place where everyone knows you? How do you think that helped shape your drive and craft?
I am a very proud small town PA girl 🙂 It’s not a huge city, but it’s also not a super small town either. People knew me, but it was the people and families from school, athletics, and music (which does cover a lot of ground in a smaller city!). I’ve always wanted to make people back home proud of me and be able to put our city on the map. Whether it’s in the sport world or music world. I make it back home a few times a year and I love running into old friends or teachers.
They are the people who have been with me from day one. They’ve watched me perform at school talent shows and sing the anthem at our WHL Raider games. They knew that this was always a dream of mine. It’s a great feeling to go home and know that after years of being away, I still have all the support of my family and friends from Prince Albert.
Have you relocated or are you planning to relocate somewhere larger in the near future?
After graduating high school in Prince Albert, I moved to Calgary to pursue Track and Field at the U of C and complete a degree in Kinesiology. After 4 years I transferred to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and have been here for the past few years. I am planning to move back to Calgary in the near future. I feel like I have two homes between the two cities. I’ve also never been to Nashville before, and that’s a city that I want to visit soon!
While finishing your post-secondary, you turned down a Nashville talent scout to stay in school. What was the decision process like? I cannot imagine literally being at a fork in the road like that.
It was a wild process. I still remember the day I got the message, and it was all very exciting. Being in university, I chose to take a break from music. It was hard, but I was able to keep busy with classes, work and being a full-time athlete. When I had the opportunity to go down to Nashville and start a career in music, I had to take a step back from all the excitement and think things through. I knew I wanted to finish my degree, and I knew I had more to do in the sport of Track and Field. I made the decision to pass on the offer and just hoped that something similar would come up once I graduated. My plan was always to finish school and then go after a career in music. I ended up sticking to that plan!
Your debut single “Red” came out October 2020, and the reception has been super awesome. Tell us a bit about the song, and what it means to you?
I am so happy to finally have my own music out into the world. It’s been a long time coming! I wanted my first single to be something fun that people could dance to, and I think that’s exactly what “Red” is. This song talks about the ups and downs in relationships and how people can get caught up in the small arguments and say things that they don’t mean. The ups and downs are all a part of it, but at the end of the day, you’re able to work through things, remember why you’re together in the first place and kiss and make up. My debut single will always hold a special place in my heart, and it means so much to see people liking the song, singing back the lyrics I wrote in my room one day, and supporting me as a new artist!
What has all the press been like for you? Now that you have had time to sit and process it all?
The press has been super fun! I love meeting new people and I made a lot of new friends during the pandemic with “Red.” I’ve just been so thankful for all the support I’ve gotten for my debut single. This industry can be a little overwhelming at times, but I feel like I’ve been welcomed into it with open arms. I can’t wait for the day when I can travel and do interviews in person, and actually meet some of these great people face to face 🙂
You also created a music video for it. A little birdy tells me that you are even self- edited the video! What made you decide to just go for it and make the video yourself like that?
You’ve done your research! The “Red” lyric video was my little quarantine project. I knew I wanted a lyric video to go along with the release, and I had a lot of free time that needed to be filled with something! I had an idea of how lyric videos were made. The more I watched, the more I thought “Hey, maybe I could do this myself.” I started doing a lot of research, watched tons of YouTube videos, and just started trying to make something.
It’s a huge learning curve, but I kept up with it and everyday I was learning more and getting more comfortable and confident with the software until I knew I could make something I would be proud of. Then I met Paul Macalino, and he wanted to work alongside me to film the video. We are super proud of each other for the work we did on this project. Videos like this can have a whole crew and team, and we were able to make it happen with just the two of us. If you haven’t seen the video, please go check it out!
Now that we’re out of the “joy” of Canadian winter, can we expect any new and upcoming tracks?
You can! I’m getting ready to release my next single in the springtime. I’m super excited to release this track. I love the message of the song, and think it has a great summer feel to it. I worked with Bart McKay on this track, and he did an amazing job bringing it to life. I’m very proud of this song and can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
Aside from being a talented musician and performer, you also ran track. This demands a lot of concentration, perfection, and drive. What is it about the sport you love, and how does it help you connect with your music?
I’ve always been someone who loves sports and competing. I specialize in the 100m Hurdles. My favourite part of Track and Field is training for hours each day, and years trying to perfect a 13 second race. My track career has helped me prepare for a career in music. Lots of hard work and patience goes into both, and sometimes you don’t see immediate results. Being a high-performance athlete takes a lot of drive and determination and so does being a musician. Walking up the start line, or onto the stage gives you the same type of excitement and nerves. I love channeling those feelings into a great performance.
Most artists we feature at Hidden Beats have a PR team that reaches out to us, but you, you took the initiative to contact us, and now here we are. Have you always been the type of person to just go for what she wants? Where does that strength come from?
So far in my career, I’ve been riding solo for most things! I’ve had lots of help along the way, but I have never had a PR or Management team. I’ve always been taught to work hard for things and to at least attempt doing things myself first. The pandemic gave me lots of time to start learning about the business side of the industry, which I found interesting. Down the road, I can for sure see myself having a team. There’s still lots of things I could use help with! I like being in control of things for now, and hope that I can continue being hands on with a team futuristically.
2020 was not the best for live shows, but you were able to be a part of the Quarantunes. How was that experience for you?
Quarentunes was so much fun to be a part of. It was at the start of May when we were all in the thick of lockdown. It was inspiring to start seeing other ways to play shows and stay connected with an audience. (And the host of that show is now one of my good friends!) The Coors event centre has been a bucket list venue of mine, so it was great to do a virtual performance with them. I am looking forward to the post pandemic world where I can do a live show at their amazing local venue!
Now that you’re a seasoned expert on doing these interviews, what is one thing you wish that people knew about you that you never get to talk about?
Ooo good question! I love that you asked about the lyric video and not having a PR team, because those are two things that I’m proud of. Something people probably don’t know about me is that even though I grew up in PA, our family has a farm just 10 minutes outside of the city. My family is really close, and we always spent a lot of time out there. Some of my favourite things to do at the farm are quadding and snowmobiling with my brother, gardening with my mom, and hanging out with our three farm cats. I also grew up in a hockey family. My brother played from an early age before getting into track and field (he’s fast too!). Growing up, a backyard skating rink made by dad was always a staple! You can always find our fam doing something fun (and probably competitive) outside!
Lastly as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to? It can be a restaurant/bar/venue/shop, anything really.
Some of my favourite places in Saskatoon are:
Bellezzamoda – @bellezzamoda.ca
The Yard and Flagon – @yardandflagon
Revolve Cafe – @revolveyxe
I love each of these local businesses and their owners. Make sure to check them out if you’re ever in Saskatoon!
Thanks so much for getting to know more about me! 🙂
Spotlight – Katelyn Lehner is in the books! Big thanks to Katelyn for taking some time to chat with us.
Check out Red right now!
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