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I discovered Kat Hall via an Instagram Live Session a few months ago. I was thrilled to see that she was broadcasting from her home in Long Beach, California. This was so thrilling to me because at that time, Kat and I lived mere minutes away from each other. I approached my new ‘neighbor’ in Direct Message, expressed my appreciation for her unique sound and style, and asked her for an interview. Tonight, we sat down together to talk about life, music, and the future.
Kat’s sound is reminiscent of days past, fused with a modern twist. Alanis Morrissette, Nina Simone, with a little bit of Erykah Badu, all with a Reggae groove. Growing up in Florida, music has been a part of her life since the beginning. Church choirs and concerts began her vocal training, but her passion for song blossomed under the mentorship of her sister, three years older than Kat. To Kat, her sister is her, “Older sister, best friend, biggest inspiration, role model.” When Kat was fifteen, her sis started a reggae band called The Lions of Jah, “She inspired me to get into the reggae scene, get into those vibes. I started wanting dread locks.”
They played local venues and Kat would come along to enjoy the show. One day, her sister asked Kat to come onstage and sing with the band. This once-in-a-lifetime experience for Kat became a regular occurrence. She tells of showing up to shows, and telling the bouncer, “I’m with the band,”(she laughs as she tells me this). The fire was lit during this phase of Kat’s life with regard to her passion for performance, “It was such an amazing experience. It taught me so much about life and about people. So, from a young age I knew I wanted to perform.”
She continued to perform throughout high school and into college, where she attended Florida State University, studying Entrepreneurship. When she told her parents that she wanted to pursue her music career, instead of a more ‘traditional’ 9-to-5 career, they were not too pleased. But this story has a happy ending:
The second year of college I told my parents I wanted to drop out to play music. They basically told me I’d fail. It was heartbreaking for me. It was a huge fuel for me to just do it. To fuel my fire of rebellion and just go for it. They actually came to watch me at an open mic. Just me and my guitar. I had a 30-minute set. I asked them afterwards “What did you think?” [they told me] “We get it now. We get it.” It took some time, but they’ve come around. We’re good…Now they come to all my shows, watch all my livestreams. And I have a college degree too.Kat Hall
In the summer of 2018, she was offered an Internship in California, with Studio 637, and so she came to visit the west coast. Studio 637 helped Kat to develop her skills in Photography, Social Media, and Marketing. When her friend Ian offered her “a place to stay and a comfy couch to crash on” in Long Beach, California a few years later, Kat knew that she had to take the offer. When I ask her about the LBC, she tells me, “I fell in love, and couldn’t leave. Can’t tear me away.”
Her current musical influences are many and varied. They include Amy Winehouse, for her reggae, jazz, ska and vocals. Kat adores Jazz Theory, and the riffs and runs involved in the craft. When she speaks of Lauryn Hill, her face beams, “She’s so inspiring to me because it’s so real. She talks about her own experiences and I resonate with it so hard.” Kat digs Erykah Badu (as do I) for her “strange and funky” attitude and vibe because it “makes me want to show those parts of myself.” She appreciates Hirie, Stevie Nicks, Nattali Rize, and all the “Jamaican Female Queens.”
Kat Hall’s personal musical history includes performing with Pulsation, Just Chameleons, The Kat Hall Band, and her own solo works. She currently has four singles out, and plays one for me, entitled “Old Sols.” The music drifts through the speakers of my laptop and I groove along with her musical storyline, completely forgetting that I’m on a Zoom Call, dancing in front of the camera.
In between each song that she plays, she tells of the song’s meaning and message. Prior to playing the song “Grey,” she explains a little about the song’s meaning, “Grey – It’s about being a Florida Girl. During certain seasons it rains a lot in Florida. I wrote this in college. When it’s grey you just want to stay in bed. Super nap weather. It’s super frustrating but sometimes you just need to accept it and move on with your day.”
I can tell from the depth and the meaning behind the music that Kat has depth as well. I ask about her spiritual life, and how music has added or shaped that part of her:
I was raised Christian but now I’m finding truth in more than one avenue. Music has helped me a lot with that process. I know that when I’m in a deep place when I’m creating music, I know it’s god speaking through me, divine spirit using me to express itself. And I am so grateful for that I can’t even fathom it really; I definitely feel God and presence of spirit when I’m creating music. So, it’s really taught me a lot. Especially during quarantine. It’s gotten me to some low places where I want to help people. I want to do something. I keep hearing, “Music is the answer.” My personal calling, especially during this time, is to lift people up through music. I am living up to my purpose. I am doing what I was sent here to do.Kat Hall
She credits her spiritual depth to many mentors and teachers. “Ram Dass. He wrote, “Be Here Now.” He recently passed away; rest in paradise. He influenced so many people with revolutionary ideas.” Ehkhart Tolle, who wrote her favorite book, “A New Earth.” She is inspired by Peruvian artist, Chris Dyer, “[He has] Insane murals with hidden deeper meanings. He shares his truth and his art through his platform.” She is intrigued by Tantra Yoga, and studies Krystal Aranyani’s works. Kat’s favorite part is how Tantra is about “Embracing the divine feminine and masculine.”
I ask her to paint me a picture of what the future looks like, five years from today, in 2025.
More technology for sure. I have a lot of hope for people jumping on the wave of spirituality and realizing after all of this is over that we truly have ourselves, and the answers are within. There’s a lot to be learned out there but there’s a lot more to be learned in here and when we sit by ourselves, we realize there’s a lot of work to do and the answers are within. People are going to start realizing their own power a little more.Kat Hall
As we wind down the interview, Kat plays us out with two more songs, and we laugh together like we are forever friends, reuniting after a long time apart. Kat has that ability to make you feel like a friend, even within thirty or so minutes. Her music has that same power, to put you at ease, relax, and enjoy life just a little bit more. I look forward to where Kat’s journey will lead her, and the songs she’ll share with us along the way.