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THE CLARITY OF KATIE GLASGOW


After moving from a small town in upstate New York to study opera performance at NYU, Glasgow began writing and performing her own music at every opportunity she could find. Songwriting became her favored method of self introspection during her college years. Currently, Glasgow lives and works in Brooklyn, where her classical background continues to inform her writing and performance. She takes inspiration from the way classical vocal music gives poetry a new, densely emotional life, and shares songs that are raw expressions of trauma, healing, and self-confrontation.


Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has hugely impacted your artistry.

I recently had the opportunity to go to Treefort Festival in Boise, Idaho playing synth + singing backup vocals for Atlas Engine (https://www.instagram.com/atlasengine/). It was the first music festival I’ve ever been to, and also the most live music I’ve seen at once since the pandemic. The environment was unlike anything I’d ever experienced - everyone there was overflowing with gratitude, both the musicians and people who hadn’t seen live music in so long. A particular performance that stood out to me and kind of lit a fire under me was Deerhoof (https://deerhoof.website/). There’s something about music like that, where even though the record is still fantastic, it’s entirely its own thing live. During the pandemic, without having seen or played live music in so long, I lost track of that feeling - but live music is what I love at the core of it. I do love to write, and record, and I also actually enjoy creating the visuals and to an extent the promotional materials, but what I’m in it for at the end of the day is those live music moments. And I’m just really beyond happy to have them back.


How do you choose to lead a Happy Healthy life as an artist?


For a lot of growing up, I think I bought into the idea that poor mental health led to increased creativity or validity as an artist. As an adult, I’ve learned that, at least in my personal experience, in some ways it’s the inverse. I am still working to find my balance, but I know that tending to my physical health allows me to perform better, and to have energy for rehearsals and writing sessions where I want to be present as possible. I’ve found that working with a therapist, regularly journaling, and focusing on building healthy, fulfilling relationships has made it easier to be introspective and to process complex emotions. The more I am able to grasp situations and feelings, the richer my creative process becomes.


Who did you learn from to instill those values?


My brother James is a really incredible composer (https://strangefangs.com/) and also leads a very balanced, healthy and happy lifestyle. He’s about 7 years older than me, and so while I was in college, I got to watch him really come into himself as an adult and an artist and I take a lot of inspiration from that. He runs a therapeutic music program designed for youth who have lived through traumatic life events, and I think the program is such a great example of how creating art can be a means to improving your life and health. It’s so cool to me that he’s really pioneered a career in music-making that upholds his values. Like I mentioned in the last answer, I got sort of caught up in the idea that artists had to kind of burn the candle at both ends and self-sacrifice their wellness to make good art. But James basically does the opposite, he takes such good care of his candle that he can help light everyone else’s too! Sorry for the analogy, but I really think it’s inspiring to see all the different ways you can create a life filled with meaningful art that doesn't align with the suffering, self-sabotaging artist trope.


Was it hard work to make sure that you focused on your well-being and not only your art?


I think focusing on well-being is really hard on its own - it takes a lot of prioritizing and awkwardness to say and do what you need in every moment. But I think that kind of work only helps your art. The more comfortable I am with myself, the more clarity I have in my communication, and I think communication and self-reflection is the foundation of good art. So I like to think that focusing on my well-being is focusing on my art.


Was there a turning point in how you decided to put yourself first?


Over and over I blamed my dips in mental health on external events, especially on the behavior of people close to me. In a previous relationship, I failed to get help for the depression I was experiencing because I just thought I felt so bad because I was being treated poorly. Which, don’t get me wrong, I was being treated poorly, but that wasn’t the cause of my depression. I actually think it went the other way, my poor mental health turned me to self-loathing, and self-loathing allowed me to stay in that relationship because in some sense I guess I believed I deserved the mistreatment. Following that relationship, I nurtured my friendships and eventually got into a really healthy relationship. The turning point for me was when I started experiencing depression again while surrounded by all these positive relationships – I realized that mental health isn’t always informed by external events, and that I had to be in charge of making that inner change. I see ‘putting myself first’ as putting my mental health over the thought in my head that I should be fine because nothing is ‘wrong’ in my life. That I can choose to seek happiness, and ask for professional help, even if from the outside everything looks like it’s going well. So now I have a therapist and a psychiatrist, and people around me that are excited for me to be getting healthier and happier.


How do you like to promote a healthy lifestyle?


I advocate for mental health! And for balance. I have fallen prey to diet and fitness culture so many times and I try now to be careful what I communicate to my friends in terms of leading a healthy lifestyle, because I think health can and should mean really different things to different people. I really enjoy yoga and going for walks, and I’m trying to get back into more vigorous forms of exercise without making it about changing the way I look. I also think quality sleep is number one. I feel like I’m kind of always yelling at my friends to get 8 hours of sleep, and to eat enough!


In what ways are you connecting with fans to check in on each other?


I started filming e-diaries for Youtube recently (Youtube). My hope is that as I continue to share my journey and inner-thoughts in this really candid way, I’ll attract more and more like-minded people and we can create an online space where people feel a sense of belonging. I really love Youtubers like Leah Wei of Leah’s Fieldnotes, and Hitomi Mochizuki, where you go into the comment section of their videos, and you see their followers interacting with each other in the most beautiful, supportive ways. I can’t imagine many things more fulfilling than creating and nurturing an environment like that, and I hope one day I can have a comment section filled with people expressing their own dreams and ambitions and checking in on each other.


Who checks in on YOU when you need it most?


I’m really lucky to have a lovely support system in place at my apartment. I live with my boyfriend, Nate, and my friend Lila, and I think the three of us are really great about checking in on each other. It’s great to live with people who know you so well because they know immediately if something is off, and they make it really easy for me to open up about my mental health.


Changing habits can be hard. Which was the habit that you had to change and how has it changed your life now?


I think a lot of musicians struggle to find a balance between working on their music, and promoting it on social media. I found I was falling into the habit of prioritizing the promotion over any kind of creativity and it was negatively impacting my mental health, as well as my actual creative process. I’ve had to set strict limits on screen time, and to give myself time in the morning and night with my phone on airplane mode. The more time I have away from my phone, the more I can actually be in tune with what creative outlets are exciting to me and what my truer motivations are.


I also found that I needed to shift the type of content I was creating. Obviously, sharing and promoting music is essential if you want to make any kind of living or sell tickets to performances, but I think there are ways of doing it that align more with what I like to do in the first place. I mentioned that I’ve been making e-diaries on Youtube, and I personally just find that format and social environment to be so much more rewarding than Instagram or TikTok. So switching out the habit of mindlessly scrolling and posting short-form content for investing time in long-form has been great for my mental health.


Is there a song, book, movie, show, or anything that always gives you the motivation you need?


I’m really obsessed with The Cranberries! I listen to their album ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We’ when I feel low motivation, and there’s something about Dolores’ voice that actually gives me physical bursts of energy.


What is the mantra of 2022?!

I recently read Atomic Habits and he discusses improving by just 1% each day. I love the quote “It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” I think, like a lot of artists, I tend to let passion and motivation guide my behavior, when I’d be better served by developing small habits that set me in the right direction over time. Motivation wanes but habits persist. I think my intention for this year will be to just make each day 1% better than the one before it. I’m focusing on consistent, small improvements.


Give all the inside scoop on your latest project!

I’m currently in the recording process of a new project to hopefully be out by the end of the summer, which I couldn’t be more excited for! For live performances, I’ve been playing with a band and a new set of unreleased music which is definitely a bit heavier and rockier than what I have out online at the moment. I’m really looking forward to getting it out in the world.


We want to thank you for joining us here and are so excited about what we see from you next! Leave us with your socials!!


Thanks so much for having me!!

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