interview by Michael McCarthy
“All your blue roses don’t mean a thing,” sings Los Angeles-based singer/dancer/model/actress Katrina Stuart on her haunting new single, “Blue Roses,” an R&B and pop hybrid about someone hurting you and trying to fix it with flowers (or, I imagine, other material things). “You can take your pretty flowers and burn them up,” she sings on the gorgeous ballad, giving the sort of people she wrote the song about a well-deserved kick in the gut.
Aside from doing all of the things mentioned above, Katrina is also an Instagram star with over 450,000 followers to date; I would certainly have to say that qualifies her as an influencer, though she’s much more concerned with using the platform to further her music career, her current point of focus. In the coming months, her fans can look forward to two new singles, three new music videos, and an entire album, with release dates to be announced shortly. This Saturday on September 28th, she will be performing live at a release party for “Blue Roses” in Los Angeles along with the premiere of the “Blue Roses” music video. In the meantime, get acquainted with her in the following interview, conducted via e-mail this week.
First of all, do people usually call you Katrina or Kat?
Honestly it’s a half and half mix of people calling me Kat or Katrina. It’s been Katrina my entire life but when I moved to LA, some of my close friends started saying Kat and it stuck. I still always introduce myself as Katrina though!
I understand you live in Los Angeles these days. Do you live in Los Angeles itself or one of the suburbs? And how long have you been living there? (I lived in Glendale for three years about a dozen years ago and loved it.)
Right now I live closer to the Calabasas area of Los Angeles and have been here for 5 years but I will be moving closer into the heart of LA soon since I work out there everyday!
Did you move to L.A. in hopes that it would help get your music career kickstarted faster or did you have other reasons?
I solely moved to L.A. for the purpose of kickstarting my career in the entertainment industry! There’s so much to do out here so you are always working and bettering yourself. I also find the city very motivating.
I love your song “La La Land,” which is obviously about the darker side of the city and the many fake people who live there. How long did you live out there before you realized how artificial so many people are?
Unfortunately it took me a couple years to realize what people are really like in LA. I definitely went through “scammers” and untruthful people which was hard to adjust to. I feel very lucky now to have found an amazing group of friends that are real. That’s why I wrote La La Land though, I want people to be aware of the people around them so they don’t get burned.
Do L.A.’s negative attributes ever make you want to move to somewhere else?
L.A.’s negative attributes definitely sometimes make me miss my home and my old friends but there’s also so much to the city to love. I think I would only move somewhere else maybe 20 years down the line or, if I work hard enough, maybe I could just have multiple houses in different cities.
Do you miss the change of seasons in Toronto? (I certainly didn’t miss Massachusetts weather when I lived out there.)
Sometimes I miss the change of seasons in Toronto when I think about Fall and how beautiful the leaves were on the trees but I am lucky that I get to visit Canada for Christmas so I still get snow then! People would be surprised at how cold LA can get at nighttime in the winter though. But I definitely don’t think I could live back in that heavy snow anymore. I’m too used to the heat of California!!
Let’s talk about “Blue Roses,” which we’re premiering and are in love with. I understand you worked on it with Swedish producer Trevor Muzzy and songwriter Aleena Gibson. How did you get connected with them? Was there anything in particular on their long resumes that made you want to work with them?
Thank you! I was actually connected with Trevor and Aleena through my label, Musicash. We’ve been working together a lot on my upcoming music. Both Trevor and Aleena have great resumes and are super amazing people. What’s nice is how well we work together in the studio which is so important.
What was the inspiration behind “Blue Roses” and why did you choose blue roses as opposed to another color?
We wrote Blue Roses for people that are in tough relationships or even friendships where someone may be lying and the other person has had enough. It’s like someone is trying to make up for everything they did wrong by just bringing their friend roses and unfortunately that just isn’t going to solve anything! I actually chose blue roses in specific because ever since I was little, that was my favorite flower!
I think “Blue Roses” is the best song you’ve done thus far, both in terms of its sleek production and mature lyrics. Is that something you were purposely aiming to do with the lyrics or did it just happen to work out that way?
Blue Roses was written by me and a couple other people and we really sat down and thought what is the best way to say this concept. So of course we tried to make it the best it could be but then at the same time it ended up just kind of working out perfectly!
So far, you’ve released singles exclusively. Will there be an EP or album in coming out anytime in the not so distant future? (I hope so!)
I’m really excited because in the near future I will be releasing an album along with more singles and this will be my first album ever so I hope my fans love it.
How do you usually approach songwriting? For example, do you typically hear something in your head and get inspired by that or do you get together with a producer and program some beats first? In other words, how does the magic happen?
I song-write a few different ways. Sometimes it’ll be in the studio after we got a beat down, sometimes I’ll sing random melodies on top of a few chords on the piano and words will start to flow, and then sometimes I come up with the concept beforehand or I will have random sentences written in my notes and then I’ll create a song around those.
Taking a look at many of your photos on Instagram, it looks like you’ve had blue hair for quite some time. How long have you been coloring it that way? Would we be correct to assume that your favorite color is blue or do you just feel blue looks best on you?
About a year ago I decided I wanted to do something different with my hair. Firstly I bleached it and left it blonde for a couple months and then finally dyed it blue! So I’ve had the blue hair for about 10 months now. I honestly don’t have a favorite color. I like them all but for some reason I just really like the blue hair look on me!
Are the photos you post on IG taken by yourself using a camera with a timer or is there someone taking the photos of you? If someone takes them, who might that be (if you don’t mind my asking)?
There’s a combination on my Instagram of how my photos are taken. Sometimes I’ll meet up with photographers and they will take pictures for me and I tag them in the photo so you can see all the different people on my page! Other times I will set up my phone on a timer or will have my friends take my pictures for me!
How long have you been on IG and roughly how long did it take for you to amass roughly half a million followers?
I joined Instagram in 2012 but started taking it seriously probably in 2015. So almost 5 years of me working and growing my audience!
It doesn’t look like you do any paid influencer things on IG. Is that something you’d consider doing in the future or is that something you dislike?
Once in a while I will do paid promotions but I like to do them with brands that I love and believe in and also I don’t want to bombard my fans with too many ads.
I know you’re a dancer, model and actress in addition to being a music artist. Can you tell us where we can check out some of your work in those fields?
I have some videos on Instagram of me dancing but my Blue Roses music video that’s about to come out is going to show a lot more dancing which will be cool! I have also done some random modeling ads and then when I was younger I actually had a role in a short film movie called Patch Town that traveled around the world and won lots of festivals!
Are you currently binge-watching anything? If not, what was the last thing you binge-watched?
That last 2 shows I binge-watched were Stranger Things and of course Bachelor in Paradise.
What are your all-time favorite series? (Or movies, if you prefer.)
I think Stranger Things is an amazing series and then I also love the Pitch Perfect movies!
Who are the artists you’re listening to most these days?
I’m currently listening to Post Malone, Ariana Grande, and Tone and I
What was the first album you ever bought with your own money?
I think the first album I ever bought was Taylor Swift’s 2006 album. I had like 3 copies of it.
If you could resurrect any one musician from the dead and they’d be happy to be back and make a new album, who would you bring back?
This is a tough one… if I could resurrect any one musician I would say Aaliyah or Michael Jackson. I can’t choose!! They’re both amazing.
If someone was giving you a million dollars to give to charity and it all had to go to the same charity or cause, which would you give it to?
There are so many great charities that I wish I could give a million dollars to but I am a sucker for animals so probably an animal related charity!
Special thanks to Katrina for answering all of our questions and to Robin Dallison at Vision Music Promotions for facilitating it!