Singer/songwriter Katie Bragg, a Catawba College junior from Snow Hill, Md., says she "became bolder in college," and the recent release of her first self-titled CD, containing four original songs, is a testament to that.
Bragg describes her new release, produced at Hit Music in Spencer, as "empowering." In addition to writing and performing on it, she says she was able to pay for it herself.
Some have described her style as similar to that of Alanis Morissette, she says, but she describes her songs as "rock with pop influence." Of her music, Bragg explains, "I'm sure that it is a product of my past experiences, but it's also a part of growing up and growing into yourself. As my music has gotten closer to the sound that I want, everything else has become clearer too. I've more defined who I want to be as a person and as a musician."
Bragg had a firm hand in the creation of the four cuts on her CD. There's "In My Head," an "upbeat rock song" that she wrote during the spring semester of her freshman year. "It's about no matter how other people treat you or may frustrate you, you still can't reciprocate those feelings," she says. "You might want to be angry, but you can't fully get on their level." The hook of the chorus in this song is "What I hate most of all is I don't hate you at all."
About the cut, "Unbreakable," Bragg says, "I wrote it just for the days when you really need someone to tell you ‘You're going to get through it' that ‘You're unbreakable and nothing's going to defeat you.' " She describes this song as "retro, pop, and upbeat" and says "the song would not be what it is without my producers – they made it more of an upbeat dance song with a 60s influence." A memorable lyric in this song is "I am stronger than the sounds behind your stare."
Bragg describes "Leave Me Alone" as "my angry, I feel betrayed type of rock song," and the cut, "Trouble," as a "sultry, pop/rock rock" song. " "Trouble" is about meeting someone who makes you weak in the knees and that weakness is kind of like a trap," Bragg says. "You know this person you've met is not good for you, but you're interested any way."
This fair-haired, only child of a musician recalls that music has always been a part of her life. "I started singing when I was really young. My dad played guitar and we had a special music room and I would bring my toys or my homework to get as close to the music as I physically could be."
"When I was a baby, they would put me in the guitar case because it had soft material in it. I was always around music as a child and music is in the background in all of my home movies. I've been writing since I was nine and playing guitar since I was 14," she explains. "My dad used to be in a band, Almost Country, and plays guitar; he taught me how to play guitar."
Bragg ended up at Catawba on advice from her high school guidance counselor. After visiting and meeting with Music Professors, Drs. David Fish and Steve Etters, she decided that Catawba was the place for her. She is majoring in music business because, she says, she wants to perform and to also have "the knowledge and education to make good decisions in today's music industry."
"You don't know the longevity of your career so I'm also interested in possibly working in the industry on the business side after I perform, if I am lucky enough to have a performing career," she reasons.
Dr. David Fish thinks Bragg is definitely on the right path. "Katie has developed quickly as a fine young songwriter and performer," he says. "She came to Catawba with evident talent and has spent her time here developing her gift in a remarkable way. We all celebrate what is an important milestone and look forward to even greater things."
Bragg is working to get her songs up on My Space and iTunes and is taking copies of her CDs to sell at her live performances. Although she's just now beginning the journey toward a career as a performer she knows that the key is perseverance and "not letting what other people think or tell you bring you down."
"I think I'm a strong person. I'm an open person, but my core beliefs are firmly grounded. I think that if anyone were to get anything from my music — it would be to have self-respect and respect for other people," she reflects. She says, "I am influenced by many things, whether it's a phrase of melody that pops into my head or something that's been bothering me that I need to get off my chest." She adds, "I'm really driven and I know what I want and I won't let anyone else get in the way of it."
When she's not in class, Bragg might be found running cross country, working on campus as a resident assistant, serving as lead singer for the Demotics, one of the Music Department's Vernaculars groups this year, or writing a new song.
To hear Bragg's tunes, visit www.myspace.com/katiebragg.
LISTEN: Sample Tracks from Katie Bragg
PHOTOS: Katie Bragg CD Release Party