Check out our interview with singer, songwriter and guitarist Katie Garibaldi.
With her vivid ability to weave between airy and operatic vocals while delivering lyrics that are painted with messages of hope, it isn’t any wonder that San Francisco-based Katie Garibaldi continues to blur genre walls and have a stirring impact on listeners with each project she releases. Katie is an artist who can smoothly flow from a solo performer to taking center stage with a large band ensemble or string duo—and various combinations in between—without ever compromising the impact of her bewitching delivery. No matter the sonic configuration, Katie’s strong guitar work and sincere vocal facility provide the foundation of her ethereal and memorable songs. The result: a mesmerizing musical experience rooted in gentle strength.
Katie Garibaldi’s music video “Unhappy Holiday” (which For Folk’s Sake calls a “swinging, retro roots scorcher”) hit the film festival market with a bang, screening internationally and accumulating over 40 awards to date.
Follow Katie at @katiegaribaldi
Hi Katie, please tell us a little about you?
Hi! I’m a singer/songwriter and guitar player and I love telling stories through music and videos that brings hopeful messages to others.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Spiritual, creative, and dedicated.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
I’d say my parents. They’re both compassionate and lighthearted people who always lead by a shining example of what it means to be a good human being. My mom and dad are also both owners of their own businesses so have always inspired me to pursue my passions in life and give back to others as well.
How did you get started in the business?
Once I started writing songs and performing live as a young teenager, I knew I had found my passion at an early age and I was dedicated to learning as much as I could about the music industry in order to run my own business as an independent artist. I attended a conference called Music Strategies for artists when I was around 16 or so, where I learned a lot about marketing yourself as an artist and everything that went along with that. So it was really a learn-as-you-go type of thing while I was getting out there more and more in live music settings to gain experience.
Did you go to music school?
I did not. I went to college for Communications so I could study the marketing and business route of my career, which really helped me. I took classes on how to create my own website, which back then we had to learn code and everything. I took some public speaking courses, learned how to write press releases, etc. It really fueled my career determination, all the while playing live shows. I did take some music classes, but mostly learned musical tips outside of school.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Acoustic, inspired, and organic.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I loved listening to the Beatles when I was a kid (still do), and I think they really influenced me with their use of melody, and their songwriting prowess is so crucial to learn from. I was also very influenced by Jewel because her debut album hit when I was learning the guitar and writing my own songs, so she was a great role model as a musician, songwriter, and as a female artist in the industry to look up to. She inspired me to be honest with my songwriting and true to my own voice.
Do you ever get nervous?
Sure. If I get nervous, it tends to be when I’m getting ready prior to a show or an interview, or whatever it is. And then once I’m at the venue or on the call, I’m in my happy place!
What is your next goal as a musician?
I’m always striving to create music that sonically represents the ideas I get in my head, which is not always an easy task. It’s trying to translate something intangible inside of myself to something I can share on the outside. Each song and each album has its own process of creation, so my next goal is to produce the sounds I’ve received through an intimate channel of creativity with my new album in a way that best represents these songs.
Now tell us about your singles “Delightful,” and “Safe and Warm (Lullaby for Jesus)?”
“Delightful” is a song I wrote about being responsible for your own happiness. Happiness is a choice and we all have that choice every moment, regardless of what’s happening around us. I also believe that our true natural state of being is to be happy; to be delightful, to ourselves and to others. So it’s all about remembering that—remembering who you are. “Safe and Warm (Lullaby for Jesus)” is really like a thank-you letter to Jesus that I wrote in a song. Sometimes I’m in awe of God’s graciousness and how He is busy making mountains and creating the universe, and yet still has never left my side. There is a lyric in the song, “God knows the world is full of its need, but You still take care of me.” So it is a lullaby of gratitude.
Do you have a tour coming up or where we can see you performing?
Things are up in the air right now because of the situation we’re all experiencing on a global level with the quarantine. So there are no tours planned right now, but any updates can be found on my website, katiegaribaldi.com.
What we can expect of Katie Garibaldi in 2020?
New videos and new music! I was in pre-production for a new music video right before the quarantine, but once the dust settles, I’m planning on filming a new video and releasing that some time this year for sure. In the meantime, I’m working on my new album. I’m experimenting with making demos and learning recording strategies at home right now, and really looking forward to bringing these new songs to life soon.
What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.”
Name one your strengths?
I’d say being dedicated to following through on things I want to do. So even if it means working all night or putting more hours in the studio to get something done, I’m committed to seeing something through that I set my mind on.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Happiness for me is all about being fully present in the moment. It’s not about worrying about the past or stressing out about the future. It’s the joy I feel in those moments of stillness, appreciating the now and letting everything else go. It’s being in alignment with my heart.
Any loves other than music?
I love to read. I used to read a ton and then the busier I got, I let it slip and didn’t read as much using the excuse, “I don’t have any time!” But the past year or so I’ve fallen back in love with reading and have made it a priority to spend a few minutes every morning and every night to read. There’s always time for things that are important to you, you just have to decide. Reading helps my mind focus on the present moment and helps wipe away the cobwebs from the day.
Any exiting news you want to share with us?
My music video “Star in the East” was recently selected to screen at the North Hollywood CineFest! The film festival was originally scheduled for April, but needed to postpone due to the quarantine. It’s now (tentatively) rescheduled for September and you can get more details at nohocinefest.com. I’m really excited about this screening and can’t wait for a new audience to see the video!
How’s a typical day in your life?
I used to wake up and dive right into my work, but I’ve recently discovered that I’m most productive when I dedicate my mornings to my inner work first. This includes visualization, gratitude journaling, free-writing, reading, and yoga or a walk outside. Then I’m in a much clearer and positive headspace to work productively and from my heart space. Depending on my goals for the day, I’ll either be working on the business side of things (social media, emails, research for music videos, etc.) or on the creative side of things (writing, recording, etc.) Sometimes I’ll have a plan to work on something but it just doesn’t happen because I’ll get the urge to write a song, or just pick up the guitar and play. So everything else has to wait because I try to never ignore inspiration. The muse always wins! I’ll usually fit in a few minutes of late afternoon meditation when I can. And I typically end my night with reading or listening to music.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Reading all day long.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I really like green smoothies, especially in the warmer seasons so in spring and summer. I’ll blend greens, water, and whatever fruit I have—usually a blend of frozen and fresh organic fruit.
And your favorite cheat food?
I love chips and beef jerky.
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
No sense of humor.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet so many great artists, but I’ll choose Jeff Lynne of ELO because he’s inspired me beyond belief in my journey of going down the rabbit hole of the amazing Electric Light Orchestra! He’s such an incredible songwriter and extremely humble for having such an impressive history (working with the Beatles, etc.). If you’ll give him my number, I’d be fine with that! He’s my hero.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I see myself abundant from the work I’m doing in music and film and creating much more music and content that will inspire others in new epic ways. I’d also love to own a house with a studio and a library in it.
How would you describe your fashion style?
A mix between comfortable, cute, and clueless.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think Social Media is great if you use it intentionally. Use it to get your message out there and connect with others, but stay away from the comparison game and the scrolling temptation. The best way I’ve discovered that works for me is to unfollow or mute accounts that are not giving the energy that’s in alignment with your energy. Only follow accounts that give you high vibes. I try to check in with myself and see, do I feel better or worse after being on social media? If I feel worse, it probably means I’m spending too much time looking at energy vampire accounts. If I feel better, I’m looking at uplifting content and people doing great work. And I’ve been better about limiting my scrolling time as well. With these boundaries, I’ve found it a blessing to share what I want to share and also connect with people I want to learn from or get inspired by.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)
Song: “The Heart of Rock & Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News
Movie: “The Little Mermaid”
Travel Destination: Bali
Sports Team: San Francisco Giants