Having toured alongside Embrace and a number of huge names, Kerri Watt is now focusing on a bright career, with a new EP inspired by the genre of country. Alongside this, Watt is also planning on releasing a number of themed EP’s, each based around different genres.
I caught up with her to talk about her influences and career path, leading to the release of her newest music.
What inspired the choice to have multiple different genres, and why country & western first?
I think because I love so many styles of music, different genres naturally come out in my songwriting. They’re all somewhat interlinked but some tracks lean a little more into county, some into rock, some into blues etc. Having played a lot of country festivals and had support on country radio over the past couple of years, it felt natural to lead with that.
What influence has the genre of country had on your life?
Growing up I just loved LeAnn Rimes and Shania Twain. I don’t think I realised their music was ‘country’ at the time, just great songs that made me feel good or want to sing along to. As I got older and discovered more music, I fell in love with artists like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash and the stories they told in their songs. They made me realise that lyrics didn’t just have to be about boys and dancing, they could be real story telling and that definitely had an impact on me as a writer.
What influence has lockdown had on your life as an artist?
It’s definitely made me slow down and enjoy just being home. I left home at 16 and have been running around like crazy ever since! Always chasing the dream, striving for the next goal. So id say while I’ve kept super busy musically with live streams, writing and releasing, it’s also been a great reset.
Do you think the coronavirus will fully change music in the future?
It seems impossible to say. It will definitely be different for a very long time. There are so many different parts of the music industry that work together to make it such an incredible source of inspiration and entertainment. Some venues and jobs might disappear, but the passion will always remain.
For a fair amount of your career, you have supported some of the biggest names in pop music. Who would be your dream support act for a tour and why?
It would be a Sheryl Crow, because I’d love to watch her every night and learn. She’s got an incredible stage presence, loads of energy and fun and is a real inspiration to me. It would be so cool to be part of a tour and see all that goes into making her and her shows so great.
Do you feel as though Scotland, and more importantly your hometown of Milngavie, have had an influence on your work or your musicianship?
Absolutely. We’re all shaped by our surroundings and experience. Scotland has a wonderful history of art, poetry and music and I feel fortunate that I was taught to appreciate that growing up. It’s helped define me as a person and consequently as a musician.
Are there elements of touring that you miss? Or has the lockdown offered you a new view of your life as a musician?
The rider?! Just kidding but I do love walking into the dressing room and finding a big bar of Dairy Milk chocolate waiting for me. I miss interaction, social connection and meeting new people. But on the flip side, I could spend the rest of my days hiking in the mountains of Scotland.
What part of doing different genres appeals to you the most and why?
I’m sure any artist would tell you they’re inspired by many different genres of music, but often people want us to put a label on our music and say it’s one thing or the other. I find that almost impossible to do so I’m rebelling! I’m just writing the music that flows from my heart and whatever that genre ends up being is what people will hear.
Is there any producer or musician that you’d most like to work with?
John Mayer. I harmonise with his songs all the time at home so I’d love to hear how our voices really sounded together on a record! He’s also been a major influence on me as a musician. Another gem like Sheryl Crow that manages to seamlessly blend multiple genres and appeal to the masses.
A lot of your sounds, especially on both your debut and of course this country themed EP, seem indebted to an American sound. Why is that the case?
When I was 16, I moved to Southern California to attend a performing arts high school. I was at an impressionable age where all the music, culture and sounds around me were inspiring the person I was becoming. Most of the music I’ve written and recorded has been made in Nashville, Austin and California. I have American family and it’s like a second home to me over there. All that mixed with a little Scottish lilt is what I think defines my sound.
What are your next plans?
Until live music is back, I will be releasing Chapters of music featuring original songs and covers, fully produced and acoustic. I’m writing with other artists, live streaming and most recently launched a membership with Patreon so my fans can get up close and personal with my creative process. Oh and it’s my birthday this week!