Scott Feldman had a chance to sit down recently and talk shop with the beautiful and talented Kathryn Gallagher. Moving from New York City to Los Angeles in her early teens, she began singing and writing songs; a cold-call to the Whisky a Go Go at age 15 eventually led to her being named “Featured Artist of the Month” by the Whisky in December, ’09. Still going strong, Kathryn is just starting her journey… Let’s hear about it!

An Exclusive Interview with Kathryn Gallagher (listen to the audio here)

Scott Feldman: I’m Scott Feldman, I’m here with Earbits, and I have a very special guest with me. Her name is Kathryn Gallagher; she’s a young, beautiful and talented artist and songwriter, who I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with over the last two years. It’s… three years?


Kathryn Gallagher: I think so, 15 to18…


Scott Feldman: It feels like 5 years.


Kathryn Gallagher: I guess, the third year hasn’t really happened.


Scott Feldman: It’s…


Kathryn Gallagher: Two and a half years.


Scott Feldman: Anyway; Kathryn, at the young age of 17 has accomplished more than a lot of other people in this industry ever accomplish. Why don’t you tell us a little bit how you got your start as a songwriter?


Kathryn Gallagher: Well, I started writing songs when I was 12 years old. I, kind of, distinctly remember the moment. I knew a little bit of guitar and I’d always been a singer and I’d been doing a lot of musicals. And I was on a summer trip, like a teen tour. We were on the bus and it was like fourty12 and 14-year old. And I was feeling left out or, you know, self conscious and a whole lot of things a 12-year old feels. So, I started writing in this journal, and I’d never written a song before and I’d never written anything and it kind of, just sort of turned into this poetic verse-chorus-verse-chorus format.


Scott Feldman: Had you had any idea of what a verse and a chorus are or how to write those things?


Kathryn Gallagher: Only cause I listened to music.


Scott Feldman: Cause you listened… ok.




Kathryn Gallagher: And because I was doing shows and stuff. So, that’s the only real experience I’ve had. And then, this kid leaned over from the seat in front of me and he said “What are you doing?” And I was really nervous cause I’d never said it out loud before, and “I’m writing a song”. He’s like “So what? You’re like a songwriter?” I say “Yep”. And that was the first time I said it.


Scott Feldman: Did you start singing before you were writing?


Kathryn Gallagher: Yeah, absolutely, I’ve always been performing ever since I was like 3 and 4, my mother will tell you… I used to stand on the tables in preschool and sing selections from the musical ‘Annie’.


Scott Feldman: That’s shocking.


Kathryn Gallagher: And I remember putting on concerts in the lobby of my apartment building, in New York. So I’ve always been performing and always been singing. But I’ve never really… in New York there aren’t that many, you know, non-professional opportunities for kids, because most of the kids who wanna do it start auditioning for Broadway.


Scott Feldman: Right.


Kathryn Gallagher: So, I didn’t really have anything, any way, to do that outside of my bedroom.


Scott Feldman: And when did you move from New York to LA?


Kathryn Gallagher: I moved from New York to LA when I was 11, so going into 6 grade.


Scott Feldman: When did this become… “Oh, I’m gonna check on the school bus and write songs and… like, I’m gonna go to music school and I wanna be a performer and I wanna get a record deal, that’s what I want to do with my life.”


Kathryn Gallagher: Well, I think it’s always been that. Ever since I was little I was always, like, “Well, yeah, I’m gonna be a singer”. There was never really a doubt in my mind that this, that performing, that singing and that, kind of, being in front of an audience was something that I wanted to do. I’ve been dancing since I was little and it was always the most comfortable place for me on stage.


Scott Feldman: Okay. In August, you have the distinct pleasure of opening for a pretty famous band.


Kathryn Gallagher: Yes.


Scott Feldman: Who was that? How did all that come about?


Kathryn Gallagher: August 19th I’m opening up for Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, The Doors.


Scott Feldman: That’s really awesome.


Kathryn Gallagher: Yeah, I’m really excited, it’s at The Whiskey; it’s part of the Sunset Music Festival. What I’m kind of most excited about and why I think is so special is that The Doors started at The Whiskey, where I started when I was 15. So it’s, kind of, to be with a group that started similarly to how I started that I’ve idolized, that I’ve listened to for years… to be playing on the same night, on the same stage as them is such an honor.


Scott Feldman: It’s pretty awesome.


Kathryn Gallagher: Yeah, I’m really excited.




Scott Feldman: What else is going on in your musical career?


Kathryn Gallagher: Well, I’m just signing the contract now for three songs I wrote, one of them with you, for the film “Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You”.


Scott Feldman: Mhm.


Kathryn Gallagher: And earlier this year, I wrote a song that ended up on John O’Callaghan’s “Unfold” album. And just playing shows, I’m going to college next year. I’m going to Thornton School of Music, at USC.


Scott Feldman: Which I hear is relatively impressive, correct?


Kathryn Gallagher: It’s a really amazing program. I’m really excited to be part of it.


Scott Feldman: And are you hoping to further your academic knowledge of music? Or this more for you career or is it a combination of the two? What are you trying to get out of school within the confines of music?


Kathryn Gallagher: Well, going to college was always something I’ve wanted to do… I’ve always wanted the traditional college experience; everything from dorm life to, like, you know, sororities and fraternities and that entire thing, I’ve always wanted to take part of. The idea that I get to do that while studying my majors, popular music, so the idea that I get to do that college, full college experience at USC, which is such a great university, while having my academic focus be on something I really love is, kind of, the perfect situation.


Scott Feldman: Yeah, that’s pretty fantastic.


Kathryn Gallagher: I’m really excited. It’s gonna be a lot of work, but… worth it.


Scott Feldman: But while you’re in school, you’re still gonna pursue your career externally…


Kathryn Gallagher: Absolutely, and the exciting thing about being in this major is that, a lot of times, when they need a live artist on campus they’ll go to the popular music kids, so I’ll be able to kind of join my two worlds and be able to perform outside, off campus and on campus.


Scott Feldman: That’s awesome.


Kathryn Gallagher: I’m really excited.


Scott Feldman: The risk of being an worse interviewer than I’ve already been to this point, jump around…


Kathryn Gallagher: Yeah.


Scott Feldman: What are your… who do you listen to? What drives you as both a writer and a singer? Are they two different things… do you listen to different people for different things?


Kathryn Gallagher: I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste of music, really. My absolute idol, the first person I say every time, is Bob Dylan. I started listening to him, probably, like, five years going out because I had a crush on a boy who really liked him and I wanted to impress him, so I started listening and ended up really, really liking him.


Scott Feldman: What happened with about the boy?


Kathryn Gallagher: Nothing.


Scott Feldman: At least you got…


Kathryn Gallagher: Exactly. So, I started listening to Dylan which kind of opened the door to  Carol King and James Taylor, Crosby Stills and Nash, and sort of, you know, all those folk singer-songwriters that everyone in that genre, from that era. And then I grew up, my parents always put a lot of Motown around the house. So I grew up listening to Al Green and Aretha Franklin, which I think probably vocally is my biggest influence on me, because they are some of the most brilliant voices ever, sort of, in that genre. And I did a lot of musicals. So most of the times I’ve been on the stage singing, I’ve been singing, you know, “Hairspray” or “Chicago” or any of those shows which I absolutely love. I’ve been lucky enough to be in a few professional workshops and…


Scott Feldman: So does the drama of Broadway come into your pop writing and your pop performing?


Kathryn Gallagher: Absolutely. One of the most important things, you know, in a musical is the story you’re telling. So, I think that, kind of, having that always… become my first knowledge of songs and of music, being the story, it really… you know, that’s where my writing comes from. Kind of less from musicals and kind of more like a 3-minute story.


Scott Feldman: Who do you listen to today? Who’s on your CD in your car, right now?


Kathryn Gallagher: I’ve been listening to a lot of John Mayer, this week, actually. I’ve been watching his Berklee Clinic’s on YouTube. So I’ve been listening to a lot of John Mayer, a lot of Neon Hymns, they’re a great new band.


Scott Feldman: Who you’ve also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with …


Kathryn Gallagher: Yeah, I played with them in January, we’re gonna be playing another show together in September. So, I’ve been listening to a lot of John Mayer, Neon Hymns, Taylor Swift is always, always playing.


Scott Feldman: Is she an artist that you relate to in some way, do you see yourself…


Kathryn Gallagher: Absolutely.


Scott Feldman: If you’d make it to successfully as a performer, do you see any similarities in her career that you would want in your own? Or in her songwriting style?


Kathryn Gallagher: I think the way that Taylor Swift has worked her career just in terms of, you know, how successfully she stuck to exactly what she knows, and the way that she writes songs and kind of the relate-ability…every song she has, that touches every single girl from, you know, 7 to 87…


Scott Feldman: Right.


Kathryn Gallagher: And dudes too, if they’ll admit it…


Scott Feldman: It’s tough to admit.


Kathryn Gallagher: Taylor Swift is absolutely someone I admire. I’ve been a fan of hers for four years now and I really admire her style.


Scott Feldman: At 17, although you’ll be 18 tomorrow, happy birthday.


Kathryn Gallagher: Thank you.


Scott Feldman: You’re a pretty prolific writer, how many songs do you think you’ve written.


Kathryn Gallagher: Right now, I have like a songs folder, which dates back to like 2007, on my desktop. Right now there are like 170 documents.


Scott Feldman: And of those 170 songs, how many of them are you bored with?


Kathryn Gallagher: 169? No, but you know some of them are songs I wrote when I waas 15. Especially when you’re 15 years old to 18 years old, you grow up so much in that time. Yeah, so there’s a big difference from the songs I was writing then to the songs I’m writing now. So, sometimes it’s not even getting bored, it’s just, like, I feel so differently now…


Scott Feldman: So the message is… you don’t relate to your own message three years later?


Kathryn Gallagher: It’s not that I don’t relate, it’s that… it’s almost like… I’ve learned it. A lot of the times when I write a new song and I’m writing a message I haven’t learned yet but…


Scott Feldman: But now you get it? Now you have the…


Kathryn Gallagher: So now is like, I have that song and I’ve sung it a lot…


Scott Feldman: You’re a wise 18-year old. Do your parents know that you’re gonna get a tattoo tomorrow?


Kathryn Gallagher: Nope. This is not allowed on


Scott Feldman: By the time this airs you will have already gotten the tattoo. Any punishment will have already been inflicted so…


Kathryn Gallagher: Of course my parents know.


Scott Feldman: What are you gonna get?


Kathryn Gallagher: I’m getting my lucky word on my finger.


Scott Feldman: I guess they’d rather you get a tattoo than smoke cigarettes.


Kathryn Gallagher: Exactly, cigarettes are bad.


Scott Feldman: What is your lucky word?


Kathryn Gallagher: It’s ‘Croi’, it means heart in Gaelic. And I write it, I usually write it on my inner wrist before any show, any audition, my SATs.


Scott Feldman: And has it done well by you?


Kathryn Gallagher: It has, it has.


Scott Feldman: And that has more to do with the luck of the word as opposed to your performance or your…


Kathryn Gallagher: I don’t know about that, but it’s definitely, it’s something… I actually do distinctly remember on my SATs, looking down on my wrist and be like “I can do this. I can do this. Six more hours to go.”


Scott Feldman: You draw inspiration wherever you can get it.


Kathryn Gallagher: It’s very true, it’s very true.


Scott Feldman: Would you have any interest in playing a song for us right now?

Kathryn Gallagher: Sure. Would you play?


Scott Feldman: Really? Sure.




Scott Feldman: That was nice.


Kathryn Gallagher: Yay.


Scott Feldman: It’s my favorite song of yours. Anything else you wanna leave the Earbits listeners with? Make sure you know about Kathryn Gallagher, after everyone listened to you what should they take away?


Kathryn Gallagher: That they should really start listening to my music, if they’re not.


Scott Feldman: Alright, all set. Thank you.


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