Culted Sounds: Kate Stewart on her musical journey & best London spots

Culted Sounds: Kate Stewart on her musical journey & best London spots

by Juliette Eleuterio
6 min

Kate Stewart fuses pop sounds and R&B topped off with her hypnotic voice, though it wasn’t always like that. She signed to Warner Music at a young age, a time where she hadn’t found her own musical identity. While it may have been a bump in the road, it was all part of her destined journey, and she doesn’t regret it a bit.

Now she’s able to fully express herself, based on her influences and experiences, on tracks like her recent Name Out Your Mouth. The London-native comes as an unparalleled force in a new generation of R&B artists, always singing straight from her heart, whether that’s heartbreak or elation. Today, we caught up with Stewart to talk about her musical journey, her inspirations and some London recommendations.

Hey Kate! How have you been enjoying London’s one-week of a summer heatwave?

Hey, I’m great, thank you! It’s been fabulous, I actually went camping for the first time. I didn’t really get down and dirty, it was more of a glamping situation, but I absolutely loved it.

Your sound is a mix of pop and R&B, giving Olivia O’Brien meets Whitney Houston. Considering you’ve practically been singing your whole life, how did you find your sound?

Olivia O’Brien! That’s a new one, love that! It took me a very long time to find my sound. I have been through a lot of transitions with my music, and my career. I get very easily influenced by what I’m listening to in the moment, so I was often getting lost in making the same music as artists I was influenced by at the time. Then I realised I just had to concentrate, be a little bit more vulnerable, and step outside the box, and make sure I was making music that felt true to me. I also realised, I had to stop making music that I thought people wanted from me, and start making music for me, that’s when it fell into place.

Even professionally, you’ve been involved in music a long time, having signed to Warner Music at a very young age. How do you think being signed so early on influenced your sound?

I think the only thing it influenced was making me realise the kind of music I didn’t want to make. I have always been influenced by the same artists since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to make R&B and Pop. When I signed to Warner, I was pushed into a lot of dance records. It felt wrong, because I very rarely listen to dance music and I certainly wasn’t influenced by it growing up. Signing at an early age made my sound mature much faster.

Considering everything you’ve experienced, would you do any of it differently? 

Not really no. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, I also think what’s meant for you, will find you, so I think my journey was right for me. I maybe wouldn’t have signed so young and so quickly, but I also learnt a lot in that time, and it helped me mature as a person much quicker, because of those experiences, it did make me a lot stronger.

Kate Stewart ©

Your latest two singles, Name Out Of Your Mouth and Never Enough, both feature black and white cover art. What was the creative thought process behind that decision?

I really just wanted all the art works for this project to be clean, simple and classy, to me black and white photos represent that. I wanted to make sure the art work and press shots didn’t distract from my music, I wanted to keep focus on the melodies, the concepts and my voice, which is why I kept it more throwback 90’s rather than anything too fashion or editorial. I wanted to take it back to my original influences.

Some people say that family and business should stay separate but for you, working with your brother on songs like The Game feels like a no brainer. Is this just a natural progression of your lifelong relationship, growing up both with the aim to become a musician? Or did you only recently bring him into your world of music?

It has been a natural progression. David has always been in music, he used to have a studio in his room from the age of about 16, so I would always go up and sing with him. He would play the drums or the guitar and I would sing. Then when I got a bit older, and started taking it seriously, he would help me write and record. The first song I ever wrote with him was when I was about 17, and it was called ‘crying on the floor’.. Don’t know what I was so depressed about at 17, but it wasn’t bad for a first try!! I’m so happy we still get to make music together, it’s so special.

You’ve previously mentioned that if you weren’t doing music, you’d be working in fashion. How would you describe your own style and how does it help you shape your identity as an artist?

I honestly have so many different styles. I’ve always been that way, when I was younger, I remember changing my outfit about 6 times a day, depending on my mood, I would still do that now if I could! I’m very influenced by old school J Lo, love me a big gold hoop and a fur jacket. Also as I’ve got older, I’ve realised, for me, it’s all about comfort, I have SO many tracksuits it’s crazy. I just like to switch it up all the time.

Best place in London to perform?

Ronnie Scott’s!

Best place in London for cheap drinks and good music?

Below Stone Nest.

What’s next for you? Are you working on anything? Perhaps an album you can tease?

I am releasing my EP ‘You Had To Be There’ on October 6, and I’m currently half way through writing the next project. I’ve also just started up my acting again, so who knows you might see me on the silver screen!

Kate Stewart ©

More on Culted

See: Culted Sounds: NEONE The Wonderer on depicting mental health in music

See: Culted Sounds: Genesis Owusu on his new album STRUGGLER, the power of resilience & Duolingo 

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