The Daily Country Interview

Thank you to The Daily Country!

Katie Barbato demonstrates great talent and a generous heart on her new record, The Art of Falling (released September 21, 2018), a seven-track collection led by Barbato’s delicate guitar work and angelic voice that is warm, hopeful, and openhearted.
Here, Barbato answers kindly her Essential 8 where she speaks of her mentor, Obie O’Brien, shares the story behind The Art of Falling as well as meeting Beth Orton, and much more.

Do you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you?
My musical mentor is engineer, producer, and songwriter Obie O’Brien. He has taught me so much about songwriting, recording, and performing. Through his guidance, he has shown me how to work on the narrative in my songs and how to really focus on the lyric writing process. He has challenged me in the studio to get out of my comfort zone with my voice and to really push the limits to get a great take. He has several old jukeboxes at his home where he will play the old hits and talk about what makes a song awesome regarding performance and creative measures. He always sends me YouTube links of amazing live performances from the greats. He keeps me inspired and always reaching for my personal best with his wealth of knowledge of the industry and his take on songwriting.

What is the story behind your album’s title?
“The Art of Falling”: I had many personal falls and one actual physical fall that inspired the title of my new EP. The title signifies learning to get back up with grace and learning to follow the light after experiencing a period of darkness. I had lost a few important people in my life and decided to leave my day job as a music therapist in a nursing home. I was facing a great deal of grief with losing my work family (my patients and their families were the light of my life), and I was taking a lot of runs down by the Delaware River to clear my mind. Unfortunately, I had a bad fall and ended up with stitches and unable to play guitar for a few months. While I was recovering in bed and facing my grief, I promised myself I would master the art of falling and write as much as I could when I recovered. This is where the songs were born.

​When/where do you do your best writing?
I have lived in the cities of Boston and Philly for a combined 20 years. A couple of years ago, I decided I needed to move out of the hustle and bustle, and headed for the country. I do my best writing on my back porch, sitting with my dog, and this big 200+ year old Sycamore tree watching over me. I mainly write on my guitar, but recently I have been gravitating towards the piano. Co-writing with others is challenging for me so I have been facing my fears and trying to write more with my producers, my husband, and songwriting friends I have made along the way.

​What are your must have albums for the road?

Nick Drake “Pink Moon”
Miranda Lee Richards “ Echoes of the Dreamtime” and “Existential Beast”
The Sundays “Blind”
Danielle Miraglia and the Glory Junkies “All My Heroes are Ghosts”
George Harrison “All Things Must Pass”

Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Brent Cobb. I only recently discovered him thanks to my good friend Tracy. I would love to co-write and sing duets with him. I have been listening to his album “Shine on Rainy Day” on repeat!

Have you met any of your heroes? If so, how did it go?
​A  sweet friend of mine from college was touring through Philly. He was in Beth Orton’s backing band and my husband and I were on the list for the show. I used to listen to her album “Trailer Park” on repeat! After their amazing set, I went backstage to meet up with my buddy. I remember seeing her walk into the room. It was almost like she glided in. I stood frozen. Her songs and beautiful lyrics always inspired me and gave me hope. I got to give her a hug and thank her for how inspiring she had been for me. I still to this day think I hugged her too tight! Ha ha It felt wonderful to thank her in person. I will never forget that.

What’s the best advice to give to a musician just starting out?
There is no “making it.” There is just your career and how you manifest the goals and dreams you would like to achieve. There are many highs and lows and learning how to ride the waves without your fears getting in the way is a lesson I have learned. Believe in yourself, put in the work, practice, be kind to yourself and others, be grateful and persistent. Have patience and follow your heart. Network, share your truth, and keep an open mind.

If you weren’t a musician/songwriter where would we find you?
I would be an oceanographer, archaeologist, or maybe even a professional treasure hunter! You would find me by the sea, in the woods, or spending time in nature with my dog Wilson exploring the wonderful world!


Along with her songwriting and singing for hospice patients in the Philadelphia area, Katie runs The Giving Groove with Matt Teacher, Mike Lawson, and Randi Lawson. The Giving Groove is not your ordinary record label. The artist-friendly, socially conscious model pays the artists 50% of all after-tax profits and donates the other 50% to a 501(c)3 music-based charity. As Director of Philanthropy, she works alongside the artists and with various music related charities to give back to the community.


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