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INTERVIEW: Katie Garibaldi

Hi Katie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great, thanks! It’s so nice to speak with you again.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I Don’t Mind”?

“I Don’t Mind” is a new song I wrote about someone who is ready for love, but timid about the risks that it brings. I’m not planning on working on my next album until 2018, but I’m definitely thinking about the direction of the songs, and this one will be on the new record. I played it live once a few months back in San Francisco just as something special for the audience and people were asking me when they could get the song. I was recently in Nashville filming my music video for a song off my new holiday album and had the chance to record something, so I thought it would be fun to release this as an acoustic video just until I work on the album.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

I’ve been with my husband for years and I always knew from the start that he was the love of my life. There’s a comfort in finding someone who you’ll spend the rest of your life with. I think I was reading some novels that were about a love triangle and things like that at the time, and I got to thinking about how it’s actually really lucky to know who your soulmate is. Not everybody finds theirs so easily, or maybe they do but the timing isn’t right or the circumstances are off. Let’s be honest, we all just want to feel like someone ‘gets’ us and it can be a rarity to feel understood. And no matter what stage we are in a relationship, even though it can be amazing to fall in love, it can also be terrifying because with love comes vulnerability and risk. So this song is about wanting to go all in, but not minding if the other person would make the first move to make it easier.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

You can now find the acoustic live performance video on my YouTube page at youtube.com/katiegaribaldi, and there’s a chance I’ll do an official lyric video or music video once the song is recorded with full production.

The single comes just before your new album Home Sweet Christmas – what’s the story behind the title?

Home Sweet Christmas is my new album coming out this December that I’m really excited about! It’s a holiday album of original Christmas songs. I grew up singing Christmas music and I’ve always loved how the music can put you instantly in the holiday spirit, the spirit of giving, having compassion for others, being with family, and celebrating Jesus’ birth. It makes me feel at home. I’m grateful to have a family that makes Christmas the best time of the year for me every year and I think music can transport us to different times and emotions. I equate Christmas with home, which is how I came up with the title. I really hope that this is an album people will enjoy all year round and give them a sense of that warm loving spirit, like they’re coming back home.

How was the recording and writing process?

Everything about the writing and recording process was ridiculously fun! I wrote and released a single last holiday season called “Tomorrow is Christmas Morning,” which led me down the path of writing more Christmas songs. Over the course of about six months, I had written an entire album. I kept thinking I was done, thinking initially maybe it would be an album of half originals and half classics, but then I would write another one. I loved feeling so inspired. Everything happened pretty spontaneously. I’d get an idea for a melody, pick up the guitar, and the song would come. In some cases, I wrote the entire melodies and lyrics to a song just in my head before even figuring out the chords on the guitar. And then everything from the pre-production planning to recording and mixing in the studio was a dream. I wanted a choir on some songs so I was able to record the parts on a voice memo to show the singers what I was hearing for the songs. It was fun recording a lot of different sounds and textures on this album that I’ve never done before as well. I worked with Justin Weis, who also engineered “Tomorrow is Christmas Morning,” and I think he’s actually a wizard disguised as an engineer. He really did wonders in the studio. And all the musicians did an excellent job. I was very lucky to work with such professional and talented people. It made my job a lot easier. I’m usually a bit self-conscious in the studio, but this experience was nothing but fun, and I think that really comes through on the tracks. It’s a very festive and heartfelt album.

What made you want to do a particular Christmas album this time around?

I’ve always wanted to release my own Christmas album. I grew up listening to Christmas music and all my favorite artists had holiday albums, so that was a big influence on me. A couple months ago I came across some notes that I had written at the beginning of 2016, which outlined my upcoming goals. Under the 5-year goals, I had written “release a Christmas album.” So I was planning on it, but just not this soon. Then the muse got a hold of me and since I had the songs, I knew I was ready to do it.

Did you draw inspiration from some old jingles?

No, my inspiration came more from just the moods I was in. I don’t think I ever picked up the guitar thinking ‘I’m going to write a Christmas song about this today.’ I never really do that, so the songwriting process for this album wasn’t much different than any other album. An idea would just come to me during my daily routines and then the lyrics would reveal themselves as Christmas themed. It was very organic, and kind of funny because I was sitting there writing Christmas songs in the spring time. But I don’t question the muse, I just follow it.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Besides the spontaneous route, there were a few instances that the inspiration came from something specific. For example, I was on tour last December to promote my single “Tomorrow is Christmas Morning” and I drove down the coast from San Francisco (where I’m based) to the Central Coast and Los Angeles for some shows. While driving, I kept humming this melody and the lyrics formed as, “Let’s take a drive on down the coast.” The more I sang it, the more words and melodies formed and I recorded my ideas on my phone. I pieced the song together when I got back home and it became my song on the album, “The Times I Love the Most (California Christmas),” which is about enjoying Christmastime in California when the sun is shining and while other people might be building snowmen, you’re happy spending the holiday at the beach. So that song’s story was inspired by a real experience since I was driving down the sunny California coast in December. I also had an opportunity to use this album as a platform for more of my spiritual songs, which I really enjoyed doing. And actually, my songs “Star in the East” and “Our Home Awaits Us” on the album are two songs that I wrote when I was a kid. I had never recorded “Star in the East,” which is a song from the perspective of the three kings traveling to see baby Jesus, and this was the perfect time to finally share this song. I’m really proud of the production of it too, which includes pedal steel and an almost Middle Eastern vibe. “Our Home Awaits Us” is a song I recorded a long time ago when I was a teenager. It’s a spiritual song about heaven and I thought it tied in to the album beautifully. The original version is just me and my guitar, but the new version features many instruments and I rearranged it to make it more of a gospel style song. It’s one of my favorites now.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I will be announcing my December tour dates very soon. I’ll be having album release show in several cities and plan to play live as much as possible this December to share Home Sweet Christmas. You can check my website www.katiegaribaldi.com for updates!

What else is happening next in Katie Garibaldi’s world?

My music video “Delightful,” which is from my last EP Rooted Clarity, is continuing to screen at film festivals internationally. It has ten screenings in October and some in November as well, everywhere from Los Angeles to Chicago to London to Toronto, the Bay Area, and more. Along with the release of Home Sweet Christmas this December, I’ll also be releasing my next official music video for a song off this album called “Unhappy Holiday.” We filmed it in Nashville and it was quite a big production. I’ve seen some of the footage already and it looks amazing! I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I’ve got more holiday surprises up my sleeve with Home Sweet Christmas that I’ll be revealing on my website and social media in the coming weeks. After the holidays, I’m looking forward to returning to songwriting mode and preparing new songs for my next LP, which I hope to start recording next year.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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