By: Heather Johansson
Kate Copeland is a singer/songwriter who is based out of New York City. She is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory’s composition program. Kate’s influences range from Igor Stravinsky to Joni Mitchell. She frequently collaborates with other musicians, lending her talents to projects as a singer, composer, and instrumentalist. She completed her first full-length album, which was released in 2014.
Kate Copeland’s album Recollection Room is the place where ethereal meets a modern sound. There are flittering hints of sound that is reminiscent of an airy version of Florence and the Machine. Her music is lyrically driven. There is youthfulness to her music. This music evokes when one is starting to open up a world of new dimensions and a deeper understanding for love. In her music there is infatuation mixed with fervor, which conspired with nuances of innocence and self-doubt.
In the song “My Cruel Tongue,” she sings about smashing another with the severity of her remarks. “I curse the hammer that I hold, I wish I could swallow up the words that I foretold.” This line shows her self-reflection and explorative hard truths.
The video “Breaking” is set in black and white motif. The video replicates a façade, one that many of us exercise in one way or another. The video starts with an extreme close up of Kate Copeland with polished skin, manicured eyebrows. She presents a unified and precise image, which appears tidy, but deceptive. It is very obvious to the audience that she is wearing a platinum blonde wig. Her makeup and skin texture looks inauthentic. She has a porcelain doll-like quality. She sings, “My heart is breaking, but I do not know it. If I do not show it forgive me my dear.”
Camera goes from black and white and changes to muted colors. As she sings she starts to dismantle her façade and takes off her wig. We now see are splashes of color on her “porcelain canvas” as paint runs down her face and she is filled with tears and regret.
About “Breaking” Kate Copeland says, “This song took me about an hour to write, start to finish. Generally I begin with chords, but in this case the lyrics and melody of the chorus came to me all at once, in one neat little package. The rest followed easily – it was the most effortless songwriting experience I’ve ever had. The result is a sonic tapestry, I think.”
Throughout her album she echoes themes that reflect lost loves, and saying goodbyes. Her music is prosaic and lyrically based; it is an ambitious album as the influence shifts between various different genres. Her music has a mixture of industrial bites, synth, some pop, folk and bits of jazz interlaced. You can feel the pulsing of a soul whose musical essence is burgeoning and still awakening.