No’Ala, May/June 2017

Page 72

What Happens Next

“Elegant” is an adjective usually reserved for galas and high fashion, so it’s no coincidence it applies perfectly to Kat Elizabeth’s lush voice. Born and raised in Summerville, Alabama, Elizabeth cut her performing teeth crooning in churches, school musicals, citywide talent competitions, and local gigs. Before turning 18, she had already spent thousands of hours singing and playing for audiences. (Especially, if you count, as she does with a smirk, the seven years she clocked playing the French horn in middle and high school.) Elizabeth’s performance of her original song “Simple Words” serves as a kind of thesis in her protean talent. Operating as a sung eulogy to a recently lost family member, “Simple Words” grapples deftly with mortality, grief, and identity in ways that are emotionally mature and therapeutic. Musicians rarely ever accomplish such things with sincerity—even less often, musicians under the age of 20. Among her musical influences, Elizabeth lists a Broadway hero (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a pop icon (Ed Sheeran), and a grit-riddled actor-turned-songwriter (Shakey Graves). Drawing inspiration from these diverse musical offshoots has left Elizabeth an able style chameleon, someone unafraid to paint with the full spectrum. Elizabeth has released one full-length record, in 2015, and a single, “Tangled Strings,” in 2016. In addition, she has multiple pieces on YouTube and Facebook and an original musical she’s currently workshopping. With such a prolific and talented artist, her next experimental release is never far away. And with the already impressive musical wake she trails behind her, we know she’ll deliver.

What song do you wish you’d written and why? “‘Cherry Wine’ by Hozier. This song is beautifully simple with just him and a guitar. Every time I hear it, I torture myself wishing I could write and play like he does, to the point where I actually wrote a song about its brilliance and my shortcomings. Though, in a way, I’m glad I didn’t write it, because not writing it has pushed me to become a better, more thoughtful, writer.”

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