5 Questions: Katie Ditschun

What led to the creation of your debut album Spare Skirt?

It was a long process. I think I’ve always known in the back of my mind that I needed to to record an album. Took me a long time to get there. It wasn’t until after my mom got sick in 2012 that I realized that time is passing quickly and I was running out of time.

And so that really pushed me forward into finishing some songs. I only had a couple of songs so I really pushed forward, and then wrote a number of other songs. When I had those songs I just had to get done so I pushed.

What are some of the themes on the album?

Some of the themes…that’s a bit tricky.

I think what I wanted when I was writing the songs was to write songs that were about truly human things and about relationships that could apply to many different kinds of relationships.

I’ve struggled with secondary infertility for the last 10 years. “Firefly” is definitely about infertility, and “Here We Are” is about how you accept the way life is and not how you thought it would be and then move on. So that definitely inspired a lot of my songwriting, but a lot of the songwriting is just generally about relationships. “Perfect Fit” is just a simple love song.

What was your favourite song to work on?

I don’t know which one was my favourite record. Maybe “Martinis & Wine” because it’s a little more bold and it’s a little grittier. It was actually the last song I recorded the vocals for and my co producer, who’s in the studio with me and when I started recording it, he says, “Is that where you’re going?” And I was like, “Definitely that’s where I’m going with this.” He was like, “Oh! I haven’t heard you do that yet!” So yeah I think that one was a lot of fun.

So I see you have an education in music. How has that informed your music now?

A lot of my background when I was growing up was all classical music with a smattering of musical theatre. Then I started at Berklee in 2002, and I jumped in with two feet into the world of contemporary music. I had never studied pop or jazz. I kind of knew what they were, but I really didn’t know I was. I was kind of a fish out of water for a little bit, but the time at Berklee really showed me the groove and the feel and the lyrics. So yeah I feel like if I hadn’t gone to Berklee these songs wouldn’t exist. So it’s definitely my time there and studying with all the brilliant people. There’s so many great musicians at Berklee. It was a lot of fun. Yeah songwriting classes, performance classes, like there’s so much to take in there and I think it really informed me and my songwriting.

What advice do you have for younger musicians?

I guess the advice I’d give is to learn to use your instrument, your voice, the best you can to the best of your ability and to learn the tools. I teach singing lessons as well. A lot of them are afraid to use their head voice because a lot of chest voices are in pop music right now. But there’s so much you can do with that head voice so why not use it. So study your craft, take the time to figure out who you are, because a big part of your music is you. So don’t rush it. Take your time, study your music, listen to lyrics.