Katie Owen has certainly come a long, long way since singing at a blank wall at stage school on a Saturday morning.
The young Katie was encouraged to direct her voice at the plaster by an enterprising teacher to help her overcome her natural shyness. And boy should the world feel thankful for the intervention.
Katie came back with the powerful, emotional and heartfelt voice that has now seen her release her debut album of soulful pop, with a second already in the can for later this year. And she’s still only 21. The future looks very bright indeed.
The songs on ‘Comin on Strong’ are unashamedly pop, but as Katie herself says “darker than pop.” They are fresh and original and explore the songwriting talent of a girl showing maturity beyond her years. And musical ability beyond many of her more mainstream peers.
Borrowing as much from the lyrical stylings of Christina Aguilera and Pink as from the big productions of Phil Spector and the girl groups he made famous, there is an immense amount of power in Katie’s songs.
There is also more than a nod to techno and electronica hidden in the mix, with ‘Putcha Finger on the Record’ a particular favourite for the discerning dancefloor. Meanwhile, Wrong All Along’ is the perfect demonstration of Katie’s awesome vocal power.
Katie stands out from many of her contemporaries not just because of the quality of her music; she also has the sort of responsibility to her audience that is all too often missing.
She says she makes music to help people, and there’s no doubt it will do just that. Her songs are there as a band-aid for the broken hearts of the world. But more than that, Katie wants to be a role model for her fans.
She is a writer of songs whose intelligence and thoughtfulness belie her youth and whose sadness at the loss of innocence of the youngsters around her is honest and heartfelt. It is exactly that which comes across so strongly on this album.
Maybe such an unusual sense of responsibility comes from the strong family ties that are still so important to Katie. Her dad even writes much of the music on this album, while mum designs the CDs.
It’s a genuine family affair and, if there’s any justice in this world, a genuine breakthrough album from an artist with a big future.
‘Comin On Strong’ is out on March 22.
Main MySpace: www.MySpace.com/010849