Steve Katz is a New York based singer, songwriter, and guitarist who's making his mark on the music industry. Hailing from Belgium, Steve brings a new voice to music with his songs of love, hope, and optimism. Growing up, Steven "lived" in music stores, spending countless hours, discovering new artists from a multitude of genres. Some his musical influences were Pink Floyd, Santana, the Eagles, and Supertramp.
In addition to the artists above, Steve's world travels have also shaped his style of music, especially with infusion of Irish and Spanish music. Steve's work can be compared to that of Cat Stevens, Jose Gonzalez, Damien Rice, David Grey, and James Blunt. Always experimenting and creating new melodies, Steve's strong passion for singing and songwriting are evident in his music.
Steve has spent most of the summer traveling around the tri-state area and New England promoting his new EP "Barricades." With another show in NYC coming up on September 6 at Cafe Vivaldi (32 Jones Street, NO COVER CHARGE), Steve is one musician to go see!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? When I was 14 a friend showed me how to play two chords on the guitar. I immediately felt a strong connection with music and became obsessed with trying to compose two-chord songs on an old, beat-up acoustic that had been stacked behind piles of stuff in my parents’ garage. The seeds were planted.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I'm always working and collaborating with amazing musicians. New York has so much to offer in that way. As for widely known artists, allow me to fantasize for a moment. Given the opportunity, I can’t imagine a more fulfilling experience than working with contemporary artists like Eddie Vedder and Damien Rice and musical prophets such as Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, and Peter Gabriel.
3. What made now the right time to release your solo EP "Barricades"? I wanted to have an EP with five songs that represented me well. The song "Thrive" was the one I was waiting for. Now the album has five songs of almost six different genres. Some may call it a lack of coherence or musical identity. I see that as a way to showcase a certain versatility. I've never liked to be labeled and I don't like to put labels on others.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after hearing your music? Connecting with my audience is my primary desire. My songs are largely universal in their message—optimism, love, hope, and perseverance. I want my audience to be positively moved by what they hear and to dance if they feel like dancing. I recently received a note from a severely wounded American soldier who served in Iraq who commented that my song "Thrive" gave him inspiration and has been a motivator for him during his darkest times. THAT’S the kind of stuff that is so rewarding for a songwriter to hear. To create something that impacts people’s lives for the better is a powerful experience.
5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a song? Finding new melodies and taking them to the next level is my favorite part in the creative process. Sometimes out of nowhere a new melody will grip me and I love the natural process with which that melody grows and ultimately becomes a song.
6. You are originally from Belgium. What made you travel the world, specifically India, before settling in NY? What did your travels teach you about the style of music you like and who you want to be as a musician? From the time I was a teenager, I was drawn to the idea of one day traveling through India. There was something so fascinating and seemingly mysterious about the country, from what I had read and seen in movies. I love traveling to remote and off-the-beaten-path types of places and exploring different cultures. India is an assault on the senses, in an amazingly good way. No Hindi or Asian sounds or instruments have found a place in my songs yet. Having grown up in Western Europe, hints of Irish and Spanish musical styles are more common in my work, especially when I perform live.
7. You also have a big interest in the Holocaust (which is how you found my blog when you read my review of "When Yellow Were The Stars On Earth") since you have family that perished and survived. What have you learned from those who survived and does the Holocaust or what you have learned from the survivors influence the music you write? I am alive today and can do my art thanks to people who endured the most atrocious treatment and conditions in the history of humanity. It’s a part of me. I don’t sing about genocide and I don’t play melancholic music yet I am always mindful of my family's—and my brethren’s—past. As a result, I don’t take anything for granted and I get strength and courage from it.
8. What do you enjoy most about playing for a live audience over recording music? What do you enjoy about performing stateside and internationally? The purpose of a song is to be played and listened to. Playing live is the real deal for me. I love the interaction with the crowd. It’s something very special. If I did my job right and I managed to make them forget about their daily routine, that’s the biggest reward I can think of.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Stay cool.
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I’ll tell you in private.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Playing, reading, meeting with friends.
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Eating healthy, running, swimming, working out.
13. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers of course!!!!
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Reading minds.