Kate Mills is a seasoned songwriter from New York who just dropped “Outrun The Night” as the first single off her new record, which will be out next year. She has been a semi-finalist in both the UK Songwriting Competition and the International Songwriting Competition and has performed across the US- including slots at the Ladybug Festival, NJ Folk Festival, SouthEast Regional Folk Alliance, and Musikfest, in addition to playing house concerts and clubs on both coasts.
Hi Kate, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi! Thanks for having me. I have been very good. Still a little stuffed from eating so much at Thanksgiving haha! But in all seriousness, there are so many good things happening and I have a lot to be thankful for.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Outrun The Night”?
Sure! I really like this song, so I’m really happy to finally be able to share it! I wrote this with a fellow NYC songwriter, Judd Silver. We got together to write shortly after I had come off a tour through the southwest of the US. I told him about an experience I had while driving through the desert of Arizona. The sun was going down behind us and the shadows of the mountains kept getting longer and longer. I realized the darkness would eventually catch up to us. It made me think of how we often deal with “shadowy” parts of ourselves – the parts we aren’t so proud of. We try to run from them or hide, but they always catch up to us. We just have to be brave enough to face them head on. As Judd and I talked about this idea, he came up with this cool guitar riff and the song took off from there.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! I am working on a sort of hybrid lyric/music video for it! I will probably release that shortly after Christmas.
The single comes off your new album Each Bittersweet Drop – what’s the story behind the title?
“Each Bittersweet Drop” is a line from one of the songs on the album called “Turn To Me” that will be on the album when it comes out in February. It felt like an appropriate title for this collection of songs because these songs dive pretty deep into the full spectrum of emotions we have as humans; grief, love, confusion, hope, empathy. As a former social worker, I understand the importance of making room for all those feelings. And the phrase “Each Bittersweet Drop” seemed to capture a bit of that.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process is slightly different for each song. For a few of them, I had the basic skeleton of the song done, and then my producer and I would get together and tweak them to make sure we had the strongest melody, or chord progression. Like the songs themselves, I experienced a full range of emotions during the recording process! There were moments I started tearing up because the band made the songs sound so good, and I was so excited with how they were turning out! And then other times I would start crying out of frustration.
What role does NYC play in your music?
In many ways NYC is like a coach. This city pushes me to be the absolute best I can be. There is no room for complacency here – it sort of demands that you give it your all. There is so much creative energy that comes from being around so many talented, driven people. And there is constant inspiration here. Not only in all the music and art that’s here, but in the stories of all of people I come into contact with on a given day, whether at a coffee shop, music venue, or on the subway.
What aspect of your own life will you be tackling on this new material?
This album really looks at seasons of growth and change. Since I started writing the songs a few years ago, a lot has happened! I got married, left the field of social work to do music, struggled on and off with bad bouts of ulcerative colitis, started touring, and really started coming into my own as an artist. So these songs really do capture both the good and the bad things that life brings and the feelings that accompany change and growth.. These songs are kind of a reckoning with all of that, both the difficult and beautiful moments.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Usually a song idea starts with me processing something going on in my own life, whether an event or relationship, or even something I’m reading. Sometimes I write the songs that I feel I need to hear in a particular moment. Sometimes I have a thought or a concept that has to marinate in my brain for a while before I can form it into a song. Other times, it’s inspired by a friend or someone in my life, and as I write it I draw from my own experiences to make it personal.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I am currently booking dates for the Winter and Spring. Those date will start getting announced soon, but if anyone wants to book a house concert, there is still time!
What else is happening next in Kate Mills’ world?
The next season will be gearing up for the release of the “Each Bittersweet Drop” album in February! I have worked so hard on this album, and really put all I’ve got into making it as beautiful as it can be, so I want to share it with as many people as possible. Then playing more shows and traveling, which I love. Maybe eventually we’ll get around to unpacking all the remaining boxes that are left from when we moved to a new apartment a few months ago haha!
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