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Kathryn Joseph: Glasgow Music Walking Tours Guest Blog

Nominations for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year Award are well underway at a time when it has never been more crucial to celebrate our musicians. The award can certainly be life-changing – just ask 2015 SAY winner Kathryn Joseph who built on her win to become one of Scotland’s most acclaimed artists.

She’s no lover of a livestream so has kept her head down for much of the past eighteen months. After relocating from Glasgow to Dundee, she became one of the first musicians to perform in front of an audience again when she collaborated with Dundee Rep on Area of a Circle, a curated evening of live music and films in front of a small audience (which was also livestreamed).

a person standing posing for the camera

Photograph courtesy EIF

Later this year, Kathryn’s music will be heard scoring The Enemy, Kieran Hurley’s re-imagining of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People for the National Theatre of Scotland. But before that – just next week in fact – there will be the opportunity to see Kathryn Joseph playing another actual live music concert at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Prior to her Festival show, we had a chat with the ever lovely Kathryn, who revealed she has a new album ready for release next year. Here’s what she had to say…

 On musical lockdown

We’re all a bit shell-shocked, aren’t we? Suddenly none of us could do our jobs, and it definitely feels like we’ve all had to think about what the point of doing this is. I think I’ve been one of the very lucky ones in that I wasn’t trying to release a record. At the very beginning of lockdown, I started writing again and I hadn’t written in about two years. It meant suddenly I had lots of time and songs were coming faster than they ever have. So I feel really lucky – the record is finished and recorded and hopefully will be out next year some time.

 On her next album

The new record is much more about other people rather than being about myself. I don’t know if that was almost an easier way to write. Usually I would be using how I feel to make myself feel better but that rage for others seemed to work better.

 On playing new songs at the Festival

I think I might not be at the stage of playing it out loud. I think it will be the old so-called hits (that don’t exist), but I might sneak in some new ones. It’ll be on electric piano, which is the main difference from my olden days. The new record is all on a Rhodes. I’ve come away from dragging a piano around with me.

 On her reluctance to livestream

I felt very afraid of the stream-from-home situation, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable at all. What I love about live music is it happens and then that’s it, it’s over and there’s often not a record of it and it’s all about that moment mattering. The whole livestreaming thing is the very opposite of that for me and it means I can go back and look at all the horrific things I said by mistake again.

 On the return of live music

We all know that we’ve missed it but it’s so strange, the need for it in your life and the need to be doing it. I think I’ve gone back to the beginning of dreading it quite a lot, the thought of being live and thinking about what I look like and stressing about that and then suddenly when you’re doing it, all of that goes away.

 On the survival of music venues

If you’re not big enough to social distance then you can’t function at the moment and that really frightens me because those are the gigs that I love the most. I love being in a wee room and I feel like people are very frightened, the thought of even putting themselves back in that situation is going to be really difficult as an audience. I just really really hope everyone gets to a point where they feel comfortable enough to function. At the moment the thought of anything live I just can’t wait for.

Kathryn Joseph plays Edinburgh Park on 8 Aug