Most artists who record their original music do so for various reasons. Some to relate their life experiences, others to promote a point of view and still others just because they have something inside them screaming to get out.
Kate Grom, however, had a different set of reasons and circumstances for the recording of her recent nine-track release, Heroine.
“This album was inspired by a Nora Ephron quote which was, ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim,’ ” said Grom with conviction.”I was going through a very difficult time in my life and I needed to be inspired so I moved around. I moved to Nashville, then London, New York City and then from New York to France, where I knew absolutely nobody. It was just me and a guitar but it’s a very freeing culture and it helped me center myself.”
Back home in the United States, Grom, who grew up on her parents’ farm in Frenchtown (Hunterdon County), went to work on the album and the release of a Christmas single, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” (see video below)
“I’d been searching for the right Christmas tune to cover,” she said. “I wanted to hit rewind but in a classic, timeless way, and I heard Mariah Carey’s version of it and wanted to be authentic yet in my style so I went with it. This was a lot of fun to record and it’s Christmas so it’s fun, right?”
Grom plays guitar and piano and says she writes lyrics with her guitar and music on the piano.
“I was actually a classical music major in college,” she said. “Transitioning from one style to another, though, was fairly easy, and that’s thanks to my Uncle. I had a Woodstock-attending uncle who’d pick me up from school and tell us stories about the festival, but the best part was his actual knowledge of music … Thanks to my Uncle Oz I heard a lot of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Led Zeppelin, America, Bruce Springsteen and the Joni Mitchells of the world.
“He opened up a whole world of things for me. I like Bob Dylan, and when I went to Nashville I was inspired by bluegrass music. I may never have been so open to so many things had it not been for Uncle Oz. When he passed away it was a great loss for all of us, but he left me things I’ll remember forever.”
Being an artist with classic influences is no easy task in this day and age of the copy-and-paste, perfect-sounding pop music world, but Grom is not worried about being lost in the shuffle. She feels that if one is willing to search a bit, finding quality is only a click away.
“So much today, I feel that the market is, I hesitate to say, oversaturated. I don’t think that the authenticity of recordings is as strong as they once were with the availability of the internet. I think it’s harder to find full-length records that are quality but they are out there; there’s just a lot more to sift through before you find them. I do believe that the internet has also allowed for some great music to be created, but for me it is just more of a search to find what I like.”
Grom’s influences have also created a great mix of music, one that cannot be defined or slipped into a genre. The record is very much “old school,” in that it has style, not repetition. All songs sound like Kate Grom but none sound the same, and that’s very refreshing. Even her version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is done in her own fabulous style, complete with hand percussion and real instrumentation.
So what is in store for this talented siren with the enchanting voice?
“I’m going to take a break,” she said with a laugh. “I am going to start writing again. I’ve been touring for about two years and I need a break so that I can get creative again.”
For more about Grom, visit kategrom.com.