It’s safe to say Kat Graham is in love… with music.
Graham opens up about her forthcoming record out Sep. 25 and what iconic artists influenced her sound in a new interview with BreatheHeavy.com at the iHeartRadio music festival on Saturday (Sep. 19).
“When I made Roxbury Drive, this was kind of after this whole slew of making all this very fun dance music, but I wanted to do something that had a bit more musicianship in it, that you could actually hear the guitars, you could actually hear all the players and it felt more live,” Graham tells BreatheHeavy.
“It started off with the “1991” [single] which is the sample of ‘What About Your Friends’ from TLC, and then from there it kind of spun into all these other things. When we were making the album I was listening to Madonna’s ‘Bedtime Stories’ or Janet’s ‘Design of a Decade,’ A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Electric Relaxation,’ Aaliyah, obviously Baby Face who’s the executive producer on it, Prince… who I spent a lot of time with at Paisley Park towards the end of the actual making of the album… those influences and the ideas sonically behind them I think kind of birthed and created the whole world that is ‘Roxbury Drive.'”
“I just hope that it takes them back. That kind of nostalgia,” Graham says of what she wants people to take away from the album. “I called it ‘Roxbury Drive’ because that’s where I grew up when I was totally falling in love with music. I hope that people fall in love with music again.”
Graham adds she’s not up-to-date with artists at the event because she mostly listens to the classics.
“iHeartRadio… it’s super fun to be here. Honestly, there’s a lot of music here that I’m familiarizing myself with because I listen to a lot of old school music. I still listen to James Brown and Curtis Mayfield. I like that kind of music, and I struggle with radio music sometimes.”
“I feel like, except for maybe The Weeknd or Bruno Mars, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the musicianship that I believe existed in the ’90s and even the ’70s and all that disco & funk, so I’m being educated. I hope that people fall in love with music the way I fell in love with it in a different kind of way.”
Graham recognizes she’s still an indie artist and faces an uphill battle of promoting her music when major labels continually push their artists to the front. Prince had some advice for her on that.
“Just make good music, just focus on making good music,” she says of what she learned from the legend in a separate interview. “It doesn’t matter if it gets the most plays on the radio or it gets all the awards in the world. You just have to do your thing, and definitely don’t be controlled by anyone. There should be no company that tells you ‘we own your masters’ or any of that. I’m kind of anti-establishment in the establishment, but I’m hoping that I’m a representation of a lot of independent artists out there that are really trying, that do feel they aren’t getting the radio play they deserve because they’re not on a major label, but I’m going to try and get in the system and hopefully people like my music and they support it regardless of where my house is.”