The artistic roots of singer-songwriter Katey Laurel are both deep and diverse. Born to free-spirited, nature-loving parents in the early 1980s, she spent the first years of her life traveling coast-to-coast in a Volkswagen bus. When her family eventually made a lifestyle change from the freewheeling hippie life to settling on a ranch adjacent to national forest and 70 square mile wilderness area in rural northwestern Colorado, the isolated environment spurred Katey’s young imagination. She naturally turned to creative pursuits. A lover of horses from an early age, she began drawing and painting her equine muses, and also began studying piano.
She draws inspiration from many musical styles—from the bluegrass and Appalachian roots records of her family’s early “hippie years” to the classic rock of Stevie Nicks and The Who; from 80s dance-pop cassettes including Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul to the alternative rock of the 1990s; and from the classical roots of her musical training to the piano-rock of Ben Folds Five. (Throw in a bit of Sarah McLachlan, Over The Rhine and Dixie Chicks for good measure.)
As a teenager, Katey found herself choosing music over art as her true passion and never looked back.* In college, while majoring in French horn performance, she added guitar to her instrumental arsenal and began developing her craft as a singer-songwriter. Rather than courting a record label at the outset, Katey took the DIY approach to her music career from the start, writing and recording her first record with an Mbox in her bedroom (“Nothing to write home about,” she quips), and learning the different aspects of the music business as she went.
Since those early beginnings, Katey has built a solid fan base with her blend of folk and pop, winning or placing in numerous songwriting competitions, garnering radio airplay both in her hometown of Denver and on Triple A stations around the country, landing song placements in film and television, and sharing the stage with the likes of Howie Day, Katie Herzig, Bill Mallonee, Matt Morris, Trevor Hall and others.
Katey has now released her most poignant and accessible work to date with her 2014 album “Periscope”. Produced by industry veteran Warren Huart (Aerosmith, The Fray, James Blunt), the record is themed around the dichotomy and tension between struggle and hope in which life is lived. Never is this more apparent than in lead single “Hurricane,” which deals with finding the eye of the storm within the struggles of relationships, presented with a solid, radio-friendly hook guaranteed to stay in the listener’s mind long after the song is over.
Beyond crafting solid melodies and hooks as a songwriter, over the past several years Katey Laurel has earned her loyal following by writing songs that are honest, meaningful and relatable—“Music that speaks,” as she puts it. With “Periscope,” she is poised to reach a much wider audience in the days ahead.
– Jeff McQuilkin
As Heard On: Logo’s “The Baby Wait”, MTV’s “Catfish”, Fisher-Price “Dora Dollhouse” Promo, Indie films “Driving By Braille”, “Zombeo and Juliecula” and “Shaqani”.
Walnut Valley Festival New Song Winner
Tucson Folk Festival National Finalist
Great American Song Contest Finalist
International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist
Nine West “Voice of Vintage America” National Finalist
Texaco Country Showdown Southwest Regional Finalist
*These days, Katey looks forward to creating art as a hobby during slow seasons and creates pieces for family and friends as well as the occasional commission. www.artbykateylaurel.blogspot.com