Crimson Heart Replica <crimsonheartreplica>
"Sad is the new beautiful"
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|CHR in the JAMAICA OBSERVER||262 weeks ago|
|Inside the mind of Crimson Heart Replica|
By Darren Khan Sunday Observer writer
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Katherine is not your average. anything. Tattooed, pierced and coloured, she believes in being true to herself, her beliefs and her feelings. Now performing under the name 'Crimson Heart Replica', she has spent the past few months in the United States of America - Florida to be precise - performing at various places.
Crimson Heart Replica. every song is a moment
After headlining a show at the Village Caf� in Liguanea recently, Crimson Heart Replica was back in the island for a show at Redbones the Blues Caf� on Braemar Avenue in Kingston, on Friday, August 5, and sat down for an interview about life, music and the name change, among other subjects.
Katherine has a music pedigree, since her father, David, who was a bass player with the band Kotch, bought her first guitar. Her music can be described as a mix of acoustic soul, reggae, rock n' roll and alternative rock. Both her sense of style and her musical leanings, she says, come from the music she listens to.
Born in Kingston, she attended St Hugh's Preparatory School, St Andrew High School for Girls and Immaculate Conception High School.
She was the island's Under-13 table tennis national champion for two years in a row, the Under-17 champ, and made the national team at the tender age of 12. After high school came pre-university, a very short stint at the University of Technology and a preliminary year at the School of Music at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She got voice lessons with gospel singer Dionne Fowler and practised in her bedroom, where her father would hear her and eventually encourage her along the path she has taken.
So, why the name Crimson Heart Replica?
"When I first started out pursuing music, everyone would ask 'What's your stage name?' I had different monikers and nicknames people would call me, but none that truly expressed who I was as an artiste. Crimson Heart Replica defines me. The feelings that bleed from my heart and also feelings that people can relate to. Hence the word 'replica'. It also allows me to keep things a bit more personal in terms of being Katherine every day and CHR onstage. Now I sound schizo."
What was it like growing up a 'rock chick' in Jamaica, as per your new song Kingston Town?
"I was always different. I only started listening to rock in my late teens. I was always exposed to eclectic and alternative music growing up. Living in Jamaica where the culture is dancehall and reggae, segregates me from my country in a way that on the bright side allows me to branch off and gain exposure abroad where my style (of music and dress) is more popular and widely accepted. There's a lot of kids just like me in Kingston and all over Jamaica. The colony grows more every day, but being a rock chick in Jamaica creates its own obstacles. You are automatically called 'goth' or a 'freak' because you have 11 tattoos and a lip ring. It's crazy, but understandable. I'm really not as crazy as I look. OK, maybe a little."
What has it been like living in Florida and performing for the past few months?
"Lots of growth, learning, adjusting. Realising that while you may have covered lots of ground at home, there's still the rest of the world that really (does not) have to give a s**t about a rock singer from a reggae-driven country. (I) also did a couple shows in New York City. It opened my eyes to exactly how much it takes to make it. This industry is very competitive, but I think my music speaks for itself. Where I really want to be is Europe. Hell, yeah."
How do you go about finding band members, venues and gigs?
"Everything just happened. came together in this unplanned way. That was how I wanted things to work out. naturally. I started singing at open mike venues like Tony's Bar and promoters would be in the crowd and I would get invitations to open for other bands and eventually headline my own shows. Tuesday Nite Live has played a huge part in my career. The exposure and opportunities I've gained from performing there have given me the recognition I need to make the next steps. I would meet other musicians at gigs and we would end up casually jamming at my house or at my jam parties and a friendship/bond would develop - and it helps to share the same interest in music."
We have discussed the need for local musicians who play live to be paid fairly, which is not exactly the case at the moment. How can this be addressed?
"I think it is up to the promoters to be fair and logical. You want to entertain a crowd. We are the entertainment. Do the math. It's also up to the musicians who are being discredited to step up and say something in a diplomatic fashion. Most of us do this for the love and because we believe our talent and our passion to be something worthy of the necessary compensation. There has to be some common ground and a proper business relationship and understanding between the artiste and the promoters. It's mainly the 'underground' and even more specifically the rock/alternative artistes who are being 'jipped', but being underground forever can get kinda lame. for your pockets! Allow us to prove ourselves and give us the respect we deserve."
How easy is it to get gigs in America?
"It's not easy, but I booked all my gigs abroad by sending the promoters CDs and they followed up with arranging an appearance or two at small venues, but the point was made. Crimson Heart Replica must be heard!"
Is all you do play music in Florida? What is your support system?
"I have a sweatshop where I force seven-year-olds to make knock-off Converse that say Crimson Heart Replica. coming out next summer."
When are you planning on coming back to Jamaica for good?
"I'm here now. I love Jamaica. Jamaica is my home, but I got to do what I have to do, and if that means being away from home for a while in order to get my recordings done and to get more exposure and experience, so be it. But I'm here."
What are your album plans?
"There is more than an album's worth of songs, but I'm still an indie artiste. Putting out an album entails much more than just having the material, (because) I have more than enough material, but it's who is behind me. Who is the power behind this musical movement. Any marketable artiste needs a marketing team .distributors, record deal, etc (hint hint). When I do put out my album it will be called Sad Is The New Beautiful."
All your songs are originals - all from the inside. So how do they work their way out?
"My writing process varies, but most of the time it's my subconscious or that heart on my sleeve that allows me to emit the lyrical power that I do. I write and read my writing afterwards and say 'Damn, where did that come from?' Other times I don't even write them down. Every song is a moment, and rather than hide these feelings and allowing them to fester, I've found a means of letting it all out in very descriptive fashion. I like the vulnerability of my lyrics."
How do you describe yourself - physically, mentally, emotionally?
"Physically, I look crazier than I actually am. Eleven tats, one lip ring. (I) change the colour and style of my hair more than I feed my cat (sorry, Fluffy). So many clich�s been thrown at me and I think I fight them without putting up a fight. When you are truly yourself then people can say what they want. (At the) end of the day you know who you are.
Mentally, I'm as strong as I am impulsive. I am as humble as I am into my looks. I don't see things for just what's in front of me. I look into it, past it, around it, through it. every angle till I almost consume myself with analysing, but it's feel or die, I always say. Emotionally I am a lover. I think I was around during the 1940s or something because I have a very old soul when it comes to love and I'm a big, hopeless romantic. Hence why most of my songs are helpless and devoted to the feelings love brings us."
Where have your best performances been, at home or abroad?
"Definitely home. My heart is here. I laid my foundation here. Still laying my foundation. When I perform in Jamaica, there's familiarity. That's my crowd. My people. I feel connected to each individual for those brief minutes on stage. In America, I'm just another pursuing what five gazillion other people are doing. My dream is one of many, but the music stands out. The energy I bring on stage sets me aside."
Introduce us to and explain your personal sense of style.
"I'm a tattooed nonconformist. This is not a fashion statement, it's a death wish. (You would) usually see me with a Mohawk, oversized shades, skinny jeans and my chucks (Converse). Oh, and I never leave home without smudged black eyeliner. Sometimes I even wear it when I'm just chilling at home. I have 'dress-up-itis'. I love putting outfits together. Makes me feel like a super hero. or villain when I go all out and put together an outfit that just reeks of my personality.
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