R.E.S.P.E.C.T., women are still searching for it in these streets,
While the street is watching, too many eyeing men are losing sight on what is right
How many of them are quick to forget a woman’s worth?
Worse, how many of them keep neglecting how she may feel
How she used to be as sweet as can be, and now she’s bitter, filled up with anger and blues.
Kathleen Lara Taylor, Los Angeles-based blues/rock singer songwriter, coming from Cape Town, South Africa,
Feels this way sometimes, when she’s walking in the Hollywood Boulevard.
Therefore, she wrote a few words so she can roar her Woman’s Rage, an honest song
Every woman who’s been bothered or harassed by men in the streets shall relate to.
All proceeds from the single are being donated to Women for Women International – an organization which seeks to empower and uplift women who have fallen victim to violence in conflict zones. They bring them together in a safe space to learn life, business, and vocational skills.
The songwriting begins smoothly, with quite a jazzy tone that could be interpreted as the elegant walk of a young and peaceful woman,
Until happens the disturbing element, when the vibe killer, the stranger gets in her space, gets in her face, reflecting her blues already.
From that moment the songwriting evolves onto something rocky:
A strong woman is rising, raging blast on the way.
Having the pleasure to chat with this strong woman, let us discover more about Kathleen straight outta Cape Town,
And who began the journey or her music career in Los Angeles.
1) I’ve been playing ‘A Woman’s Rage’ on and on lately. What event or story did cause you to write this song?
I wrote A Woman’s Rage after a really frustrating walk down Hollywood Boulevard.
Women experience haggling and harassment from men on the street every single day,
And we become conditioned to bow our heads, look down, avoid eye contact and quicken our pace as we walk away and try to pretend we don’t hear the jeers.
For some reason one day it was particularly bad, and I felt so frustrated by the fact that, because of my physical disadvantage, I felt afraid to shout back or retort to the men who were disrespecting me.
I felt this intense rage that I felt was just going to explode out of me one day if it happened again.
So I went into the studio and started writing a song about it! A Woman’s Rage was the result!
2) I actually like what you write, as one of our values, and favorite social topics at Sounds So Beautiful, is women empowerment. How much is this cause important to you?
This cause is hugely important to me.
Before I became a singer I did Law. In Law School I majored in Women’s Rights Law and intended to pursue a career in Women’s Rights Law.
I still do, one day, once I’ve achieved what I want to musically.
My dream would be to do both! But just because I’m a musician now does not mean that I have to abandon my passion for female empowerment.
If anything, it has increased since I became a full time musician.
The music industry is full of female objectification and continues to perpetuate sexism and pre-existing gender norms.
I want to challenge that and use my music career to shift the way the music industry views and presents women.
3) You wanted to go Jazz singer when arrived in LA. And the beginning of the song sounds kind of jazzy, particularly with the piano. Do you tend to put some Jazz in your music still?
Of course! It’s funny because it’s not something I do consciously at all.
I usually don’t even notice it myself and then I’ll play the song for someone else and they’ll comment on how jazzy it is.
I thought my first single, Sweet Solitude, was totally blues/rock, and it was only upon reading reviews that I realized it was jazzy too!
Haha so it’s clearly something that’s fairly ingrained in my songwriting – whether intentional or not!
4) Please tell us how you discovered blues when you came in LA.
It’s funny because I’d always loved soul but I’d never really listened to or sung blues before I got to the United States.
Blues isn’t very big back in my home country (South Africa).
When I got here I was exploring different contemporary genres and randomly decided to take a class in blues vocals – not really expecting anything to come of it. But I soon
5) Are you working on some new music?
I am! I’ve just finished recording my song “Don’t Flatter Yourself” and I’m now on to recording the next one, ‘Bound Together’.
I’m hoping to have my full album complete by the end of the year. I’m constantly writing new music – unfortunately it just takes time to get it all recorded!
6) Which blues artist in the LA emerging music scene do look up to/admire/would like to work with?
I’m not sure if you could consider them ‘emerging’ but I really love Vintage Trouble.
7) Same question but for the South African emerging music scene.
There is so much musical talent in South Africa – a lot of which remains unknown in the rest of the world.
Blues isn’t particularly popular in South Africa, but I would love to work with some with musicians of other genres too and work on adding a more uniquely South African flavor to my music.
Electronic music is actually pretty huge back in South Africa. I’d love to work with some South African electronic artists on some interesting electro blues music.
Of course it’d be different to what I’m currently doing, but I like the idea of challenging myself to explore new sounds and even genres.
8) How different is the LA scene from the South African one? And what about the cultural differences? You know the biggest one you noticed when you’ve arrived in Los Angeles from Cape Town.
It’s difficult for me to compare music scenes because back in South Africa I was never a musician. I was actually pursuing a career in law!
So of course the world of a lawyer or law student in South Africa is radically different to that of a musician in Hollywood! So that was quite an adjustment for me to make!
However, I have been struck by people’s confidence here in the US.
Some people think it’s a bad thing, but I think it’s rather fantastic how much self-belief there is here.
No-one is afraid to boldly assert what their dream or passion is, and in return no-one will ever laugh at that dream or passion – no matter how crazy it may be!
When I was back in South Africa, I felt a little embarrassed telling my lawyer friends that I wanted to be a singer. Here, though, I feel like it’s the most normal thing in the world!
9) Any live soon for people to go and see you?
Definitely! I’ve been performing every Friday at a place called The Parlor in Hollywood, but I’m taking the next month off to focus on recording my album.
However, there will definitely be plenty of shows coming up in July all around Los Angeles.
Later in the year I am also planning performances in London and a tour of South Africa.
Everything will be announced on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so be sure to follow me there! It’s Kathleen Lara Taylor Music on Facebook and @kathleenlarataylor on Instagram.
10) What do you like to communicate with your public when you’re on stage?
For me the most important thing is to evoke emotion in my listeners.
Whether it’s happiness, sadness, relaxation, peacefulness, excitement or anger; I want them to be moved.
When people feel something through music, that is when they are most likely to take note of its lyrics and message.
For instance, my latest single, A Woman’s Rage, carries a powerful message against gender discrimination and undermining.
It does so by channeling the emotion and anger which such treatment evokes amongst women.
It is my hope that through the anger which the song evokes, listeners are prompted to think about the important underlying issues.
Thank you so much Kathleen for letting us discover more about you, where you’re from and your music.
Let’s stay tuned for the new music!