Music is and has always been practically in Kate Stewart's blood. A member of a very musical family, she's grown up surrounded by artists and the arts, and now she's adding her unique and intoxicating sound and style to the mix.
With her new single "The Game" out now, she spoke to XS Noize about the song, what it was like working with her producer brother to create it and teases her upcoming EP.
You grew up in a very musical and artistic family, with an entertainer father, a dancer mother and a brother who is a globally recognised music producer. Do you think it was fate that you went on to choose music as your career path?
I think no other career was more destined for me than this one. I grew up around it. I went to school from a very young age learning about it. I was always in the theatre with my dad; I was always learning from my mum; I was always writing with my brother and demoing his tracks; I definitely think there was no other path I was going to take; it had to be music!
At what age did you know for certain that you wanted to sing and perform for a living? Was there a particular moment where you said to yourself: "This is who I am and who I want to be"?
I think I always knew. Even when I was tiny, I had videos of me singing and dancing, and I'm not going to lie, I was quite good for five years old! I went to a stage school when I was 11, and singing, dancing, and performing every day really solidified what I wanted to do for a living. Every day was so much fun, I got the most amazing adrenaline rush, and I knew I wanted to keep having that feeling; that's why I chose this career.
Which three artists would you say have most inspired and continue to inspire your music? How do their influences filter through into your songs?
Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Growing up, they massively inspired me, and they have definitely inspired my music. Whitney, with her ad-libs, makes such classy choices and never overdoes it, Mariah with her breathy BV's, loads of layers and moving parts. And Christina with her crazy melodies and her confidence. These three singers will always be my queens.
Who or what most inspired your latest single, "The Game"?
"The Game's The Game" is a saying that me and my friends always say. It can be in any context, and I really wanted to get it into a song. I like the way it can be interpreted in many different ways, and I love that people are starting to say it now!
Is there a particular message or idea to it? What do you want listeners to think/be reminded of when they hear it?
I just want people to be reminded that it doesn't matter what people think about you; if you love yourself, that's all that matters. If you get knocked back, get up and try again, life is not for the faint-hearted, and it's definitely not for quitters!
Where did the idea for the video come from?
Whenever I write a new song, I can always see the video clearly in my head. If I can't, the song isn't good enough. I knew I wanted the lyrics to speak for themselves, so I didn't want the visual to be too fussy or conceptual. I knew I wanted it to be black and white for that reason, and to me, black and white is always so classy and expensive looking; this reflects the song too. As for the styling, I chose a suit because it's giving big boss energy, strong and masculine; again, this reflects the lyrics. When I first made the song, this is exactly how I saw the video in my head, and I'm so happy that my director Jack Bowden brought it to life.
How was it working with your brother, David Stewart and songwriter Jessica Agombar on this track? What did they bring to the creative process?
It was amazing. They are by far my favourite two people to work with. We always have the best time when we write together, we never stop laughing, and we always create incredible work. This session was no exception; David is the most incredible producer and songwriter; he totally gets my sound and vision and always takes it a level up; the same goes for Jess. She gets what I'm going for and always writes melodies and lyrics that I relate to. We have some other incredible music in the pipeline that I can't wait to release.
The song is taken from your upcoming EP 'You Had To Be There.' How would you sum it up without giving anything away in a few words or a sentence?
Fresh bad bitch anthems.
Given that we're in the middle of festival season and live performances are well and truly back after a two-year absence, do you have any shows or tour plans lined up?
I have been doing a few shows here and there; I also did a little impromptu one in LA a few months ago, which was amazing. Unfortunately, I'm not doing festivals this summer as I wanted to wait for my project to come out before I go out and perform it. Hopefully, next year I will be doing them all! I definitely want to tour next year too.
If you could play any venue in the world, which would it be?
There are so many venues I have on my bucket list, but I think a really special one would be the 02 Arena in London. I've gone to watch so many incredible acts there; I feel like it's a very nostalgic venue for me.
How has and does social media impact you and your career? Are the likes of Twitter and Facebook something you enjoy using, or do you try and maintain a looser 'connection' to and with them?
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I am always on my socials, and I love scrolling through them and looking at everyone's content. I find so many amazing things on Instagram, and I'm addicted to Tik Tok; it fully makes me laugh out loud. But if I didn't have to have them, I probably wouldn't. It's a lot of effort and remembering to post, but I know I need it for my work, and I know how important it is. I also love doing a shoot or taking a cool picture and posting it; it's nice when people respect your artistic vision.
Finally, aside from this single and the EP release, what do the remaining months of the year have in store for you? Have you started planning that far ahead, and what do you want to have achieved come December 31st?
I never really plan too far ahead. I'm just focusing on releasing this project and all the exciting things happening around it. I have some really exciting ideas for the campaign, and I can't wait for people to hear this new music. I'm so proud of this EP.