Singer-turned-lawyer-turned-singer L.A. resident Katrina is coming back in a big way. She started off her musical career on Star Search and she won in the Junior Vocalist category against budding star Aaliyah. Katrina turned down the record contracts offered to her and pursued a series of college degrees. In 2009 she began working with Grammy Award-Winning producer Josh Sklair, most commonly known as Etta James' decades long musical director.
In 2011 her debut single "Shame On Me" reached #1 on the iHeartRadio On Demand Adult Chart, and spent several months in the top five. Following "Shame on Me" was dance hit "OPM" (Other People's Money). "OPM" hit #26 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play Chart.
Katrina talked to us about her career and her life in Los Angeles.
We understand you were on the hit TV show Star Search. How did you get on the show and what was the experience like?
Elizabeth Howard was my instructor and runs a teaching studio. She submitted a recording of her students' showcase. Then there was an in-person audition and the next thing I knew I was cast to be on the show. It was exciting.
Fast forwarding a bit, you went to college and received a Bachelors in Political Science and a Minor in French. Why did you pick those two subjects to study?
I was always interested in Political Science, Social Studies, and French in high school. When I found that as a Political Science major I was required to have a minor I chose French because I liked the language. It had more lower division units than any other minor on that campus but I didn't care because I wanted to learn more French. I thought, "I have to go to college so I should study something I enjoy."
Where did the decision to pursue law come from?
At a young age I became aware of how miscommunication can lead to disagreements. When I was on Star Search there were some contract disputes and I felt helpless. I was only a child so ultimately those decisions were out of my hands, but it left me wanting to have the tools to understand on a different level what was going on with my career. Even though I wanted to pursue a career in music I also wanted to go to school and get an education.
You made the decision to go from lawyer back to musician. How did you make the decision?
I always knew I would go back. Music consumed me and I didn't stop loving it just because I stopped doing it professionally. I would go to bed at night sometimes so stressed out about my court appearance or case for the next morning. I would say to myself, "if all I had to do was get up in the morning and sing a song, life would be so sweet. "
I had two songs on the soundtrack to a small film. Right around that same time someone posted my old Star Search episodes, my friends in the tech department found them by accident. Then I saw Cher in Las Vegas, front row, and quit my law job shortly thereafter.
What has the transition been like?
It's nice focusing on being creative and sharing music instead of carrying around gigantic files that are bigger than me. The live shows vary based on the type of musical need / sound set up. Sometimes it's a full band, or at radio stations sometimes they prefer acoustic sets. So even though the songs are done being written the music gets reworked to fit the room.
How would you describe your music in 10 words or less?
Heartfelt vocals and sincere lyrics people can relate to.
Where do your inspirations come from?
Classic: Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Cher
Contemporary: Katy Perry, Pink, Florence and the Machine, Bruno Mars
We love the video for "OPM." Where did the concept come from and what was it like working on the video?
We thought it would be fun to center the music video around the concept of other people's money without making it literal to the song. It was like a comic book where these girls throw a smoke bomb, steal stolen money from gangster guys, and then give it away to strangers in a club! Dave Aude remixed it and played "The Boss" in the music video. Frank Stallone was in it too. It was a fun shoot and we filmed the whole thing in my house in LA!
Your song "Shame on Me" sounds very personal, and the song is something most women can relate to. Did you draw on personal experience and if so, was it difficult putting those emotions out there for the public?
It is taking a big chance wearing my heart on my sleeve for all to see. But the most amazing feeling is when people tell me they can relate to my music. Music connects people like nothing else can and ultimately I just want to create something people connect with.
Shame On Me is about more than one person. It was about a particular "type" of guy I kept dating as well as forgiving someone when I knew better just because they were saying what I wanted to hear. I have had guys and girls tell me they have "Shame On Me's."
What's up next for you? What can we expect to see in the coming months?
I am opening for Andy Grammar June 9 in Portland, Oregon, along with Ryan Star. I love them and I think they are both amazing artists. I have radio visits and a tour to be announced soon.