Alt-pop artist Katherine Aly is tracing new music to her master’s thesis as she explores themes of individual reality, boundary setting, and more.
BY JAGRUTI VERMA
Katherine Aly had started putting together “Rules”, her new single, back in 2018. It took her a few live performances to gauge that people would respond to it. The Edinburgh (UK) based alt-pop artist had never thought of the song as one that could be considered a hit. To her, it seemed to be speaking to people’s hearts, a tune that’s catchy on its own in an uncommon way.
She tells us, “I recorded it in the studio the weekend before we went into the first lockdown in March 2020 and I find it very ironic that I was singing about following rules at that particular time, without even knowing what was coming.”
“Just like everyone, I’ve learned a lot about adjusting and being flexible with my music during this time and I quite like that ‘Rules’ became a gentle reminder that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and talk openly about it,” she adds.
In her masters’ thesis, Katherine has explored how the way people experience their reality is a fractal interrelation of themselves (microcosm) and everything around them (macrocosm); and how though people perceive them as two separate entities, it’s the same thing manifesting itself in a scale-relating system. These lessons came in handy for her while crafting the single.
She explains, “In my opinion, realising and consciously experiencing this connection is a good way to feel connected to the world, keep a big picture perspective, have a sense of unity and an open mind about how other people experience their realities. In that sense, “Rules” is an introspective song about adjusting to externally imposed manners.
Experiencing a peak in her anxiety due to the pandemic, Katherine decided to actively do something about it. She started therapy, increased her focus on songwriting, took breaks from social media and found the courage to use her music as a platform to talk about the things she never dared to talk about before. These included mental health and discrimination, themes one can pluck from her music.
She tells us, “My producer noticed a difference in the way I work in the studio too; I suppose I don’t overthink as much as I used to and have found ways to enjoy each step of the process without getting anxious about what would come next. It’s all still very much work in progress but I feel like I’m in the right direction!”
Katherine writes songs so that she and the people listening to them won’t feel alone. “I think loneliness is another pandemic of our times and that music has the power to bring us together.” “Rules,” according to Kathering, was written to remind them that they don’t have to stay strong constantly.
“I feel it is very balanced to be able to feel empowered and speak up about what you and others are going through while acknowledging the importance of setting boundaries and taking a step back when you need to recharge. And, that feeling down or even defeated from time to time is a natural part of the process of doing what you love — and being a human being,” she concludes.
In anticipation of the music video premiere on Nov. 26, pre-save “Rules” by clicking here.
Jagruti Verma is a journalist and media student living in Mumbai, India.
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