By: Shayla Lee
All of Kat Saul’s social media bios say “I do the pop music” which definitely isn’t a lie… she does the pop music and she does it extremely well. The Nashville-raised musician began playing the guitar and piano at the age of five and began writing her own songs at 13. Her innate sense of lyricism led to her participating in writing sessions while she was still in high school.
Following her debut release “Jericho,” Kat is now dropping another catchy track which is titled “Unit 408.” The personal song is in the same realm as music by alternative pop musicians Bishop Briggs, Sasha Sloan, and Alice Merton. One listen to “Unit 408” and you’ll be humming the song to yourself the rest of the day and you’ll be hooked on Kat’s musical style begging for more.
We had the chance to catch up with Kat and chat about “Unit 408,” her musical inspirations, and how she maintains balance in her life as a busy musician.
Femme Riot: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
Kat Saul: A blend of alt pop sounds mixed with urban pop melodies and Nashville style lyric writing. 615 representtttt.
Femme Riot: Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
I grew up listening to a wide range of music from Modest Mouse to Wiz Khalifa, but i’d say my biggest influences have been Gwen Stefani, Lorde and Sia. Coming from a background as a session writer here in Nashville, I typically come to the studio with a lyric or hook ideas written on a phone note…I call it my “hook book”. However, after years of writing witty ideas that might work for other artists, I am now at a place where I want to write my own story, hence “Unit 408”. Lately I’ve been sitting down to write with nothing more than a feeling and a collection of memories.
Congratulations on the release of your new single “Unit 408.” This track seems like a very personal one – it’s named after your actual apartment unit number. Can you tell us more about this track and the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! So yes, “Unit 408” is my actual apartment number. The song is based on that thought you get at 2AM when you’re thinking about your ex and really missing them…but if you’re me that’s followed by the thought process of “well, theoretically…you know where I live…you could be on the way over here right now…should I be expecting a knock on my door?!”I’m a sucker for grand gestures, what can I say.
I originally had the idea as a ballad in the middle of the night and then fell asleep trying to write it and totally forgot about it. Saw it in my phone notes a month later and finished it as a mid-tempo jam with my friends Luke Arens and Megan Redmond.
I love “Jericho” and I’m digging the music video for it- the styling is superb! How did you come up with this creative concept for your music video?
The video was honestly kind of a last minute miracle. My manager Wallace and I had been saying we wanted to do a video, but we didn’t have a place to film. Out of the blue, songwriter Kara DioGuardi suggested we use her new space, Trimble House, for a video project. Immediately, I reached out to my friend Logen Christopher of Stormlight Studios to brainstorm the concept.
We knew we wanted to do a shot incorporating the space at Trimble House, and decided to make that the more external emotional shot. We also knew we wanted to do a shot with the frame because of the line “Why you wanna frame me like the Mona Lisa?”. We decided on the TV and cyc wall to represent the false rumors and act that some people put on to get attention. Within a week of the shoot, Dorinda Walker agreed to choreograph and Jasmine Keithley jumped on board to style. I did my makeup in the car. I am so proud of what we did, not only because of how well it turned out, but because it was something that I worked on with people I care about.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing challenges?
I am the daughter of a female CEO and actually went to an all girls school growing up, so I was raised to speak up and not really worry about impressing boys. I am lucky as a creative to have a strong sense of self and ancillary mutual respect with most men I work with. However, I do have female friends on the business side of the industry with a similar confidence who are often put down or seen as “loud and bossy”. To this I would say, the work speaks for itself. If you are doing your job, and appropriately and professionally voicing opinions, anyone who has a problem with that is straight up wrong. YGG.
Mental health is really important to us at Femme Riot and we love hearing about how others maintain balance in their lives. Being a busy musician, what practices do you implement into your life to ensure your health and well-being are taken care of?
Not going to lie, it can be super hard to keep life balance. Being an artist is really a 24/7 job with a lot of early mornings and late nights. That said, I’ve found that it’s been super important to set boundaries. Most of my close friends are in the industry, so we have implemented an unspoken rule that we don’t talk about business outside the context of it being a job. It is a very a cool job, so it can be easy to talk about music for hours. However, for the most part, I try to make sure my personal interactions stay personal. The same goes with my family.
Not a lot of people know this, but I am also finishing my college education currently. Being in a classroom around people my own age gives me an outlet to just be a 21 year old for a couple hours each week.
Lastly, I think physical and mental health are incredibly interconnected, so I try to exercise at least 4 times a week. Lately I’ve been loving kickboxing.
Aside from the release of “Unit 408,” do you have anything else in the works this year?
I do! The tentative plan is to release another single after “Unit 408” in late November. Keep on the lookout for details! Much more to follow in 2019.
What songs are currently listening to?
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Thanks for chatting. Y’all are dope.
The cover photo was shot by Matt Blum.