INTERVIEW | Catie Turner Talks Changing Her Narrative For New Song
Singer-songwriter Catie Turner reached the public forefront through ABC’s American Idol back in 2018, when she auditioned for the show with a composition of her own, “21st Century Machine,” that immediately won the judges over. The Langhorne, PA native first started writing songs and playing the guitar as a way to cope with things and escape reality. Her drive to reach out to others pushed Turner out of her confort zone and into the world, where her music and sincerity resonated with many.
Now Los Angeles-based, the young artist no longer shies away from making her voice -and art- heard, so we caught up with her to know what she had up her sleeves for 2021.
Stage Right Secrets | Congrats on “One Day”! We loved the track! Can you walk us through the creative process for the song?
Catie Turner | It was made one day as a story and I really never thought it would have come out. I was in Nashville with my friends in July 2019. I went into that writing session thinking of it as therapy and I told my friends what was happening in my life. Back then, my then-boyfriend proposed to me but I like changing the storyline so I made it seem like I was totally against it. My friends all thought it was happening really fast, so while in real life, I was like ‘Sure, yes, I will marry you, I’m 19 and in love’, in the song, it’s like ‘No! What are you doing? Take it one step at a time!’ So the creative process was a lot of lying and changing the narrative.
Tell us about the video for the track.
I’m glad we didn’t follow my ideas for the visuals because they were trash compared to what we ended up getting. That’s why you need to hire actual creative visionaries to create a timeline. If we would have followed my ideas, it would have been me sitting on a bathroom floor the entire time and I would have been okay with it. [laughs]
Your social media presence is refreshing because it’s so you! You chose to be vocal and tweet about voting and politics. Why was that important to you?
I just feel like if you’re being silent, you’re being complicit. People understand the difference between being a political activist and just saying you won’t tolerate violence from police officers. Me tweeting about that was just me saying black lives do matter and that shouldn’t be a political thing. If I’m going to be given a platform, I’m going to use it and I’m going to make my voice heard so everyone knows what I stand for. This is a crazy time we’re in, and this election was so important, so I needed to talk about it whether or not people were happy with me.
You also use your platform to interact with your fans and release exclusive things, like live demos. Where did the idea of that come from?
At first, I just released it to see if it would get some kind of support on TikTok. I was throwing out some demos and I casually posted that without thinking anything of it, but then it took off, and everyone kept asking me to release it. I posted it out of boredom at first, so I wasn’t expecting that kind of reactions. It seems to be a trend for me, my saddest songs seem to be the one people want the most.
A song usually goes through a lot of rewrites and reproductions between the demo and the actual release. How do you handle that?
With a lot of input from a lot of different people. When you’re on a label, it’s really amazing, but it also means you have to go through ten different people so it’s a lot of work. I think people don’t realise that in that specific context, you have to please everybody in order to release your music. Someone’s going to tell you ‘Oh, I like this drum’ and the next is going to say ‘Oh, I don’t like this drum’ and it will keep going back and forth. The demo is all you, pretty much, but the actual release that people get to hear kind of hot potato-ed itself through a lot of different people.
What’s coming next for you?
Well, I’m not going back on another one-year hiatus so I have a lot coming up! The only thing I can tell you for now is that there’ll be another song coming out before the end of the year.