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Readers' Music Reviewed

Published in SOS January 2009

People + Opinion : ReaderZone
Comin' On Strong
Katie Owen
.................. Katie Owen's music is the first I've come across that might conceivably find a place on the Smash Hits cable channel. That, by the way, is a good thing................ a pretty convincing stab at a contemporary pop production in the vein of Sugababes or Christina Aguilera. Massed vocal harmonies, snarling synths and vaguely suggestive lyrics are all present and correct and, in true R&B fashion, there are some splendidly unorthodox juxtapositions of instruments. .  Sam Inglis

Sound On Sound are proud to feature the Breed Media Group as the sponsor of Playback.
Each month, Breed will be giving away a run of 1000 CDs to the lucky winner. This amazing prize will be professionally pressed, and includes glass mastering, print, cases and delivery
This month's winner is Katie Owen.


Katie Owen
Comin' on Strong

Friday 22nd of May 2009

Record Review

By Steve

It's not often you hear an independent release that's got such a top twenty sound. Katie Owen's debut album Comin' On Strong is just such a record.

There's a strong Christina Aguilera influence on show on this record, both musically and vocally and with the songs split between some scorching dance tracks and some slower ballads, it's the faster tracks such as 'Don't Wanna Stop' and 'Terrified' that really shine.

'Something From You' is also an interesting track, a dark smouldering song especially alongside the plaintive 'Not Without You'.


Katie Owen returns with album number two 'black on black' which features some more strong vocal performances that could easily be playing out on the chart show.

'You're The One To Go' is the sparky opener, part Christine Aguilera, part Ashley Simpson. The backing track pumps away and Katie's vocal powers its way over it.

Things are slower and more soulful in 'I'm Alright Now' and the quality remains high. This song smoulders like a Sam Brown track, with a bass line keeping things moving throughout.
The vocal is certainly a rare talent” 

Steve – editor – The Mag


  • Interview with Nicola from 'Hit The Floor'
  • October 20, 2010 8:15 pm
  • Nicola HTF 
When first discovering the edgy talent of Katie Owen, Hit The Floor could not understand how someone so young could have such a sophisticated voice. With vocals powerful enough to match that of Christina Aguilera, anyone could see that the Southampton student deserves more recognition than her vast Myspace following. The singer is, without a doubt, evidence that some of the most impressive musical talent has yet to be discovered by record labels. Hit The Floor is thrilled to be able to take this opportunity to interview the girl behind the passionate voice and confident performances.

HTF: Hi, Katie. How are you today?
Hi, Nicola. I’m fine, thank you!

HTF: I first want to find out about where your musical career began: how long have you been singing for?
I started singing when I was about 10 or 11, but, at that stage, I really wasn’t very good! I was very shy and very quiet. I went to a weekend stage school – singing, dancing and acting – and we were putting on a show of Annie. I sang ‘Tomorrow’ by myself and I was so scared. I was so quiet and all the time I was thinking ‘oh my god, no one can even hear me!’, and anything they could hear I’m sure would have been terrible!

HTF: Is it something you’ve wanted to do all your life and when did you realise you had potential?
I’ve always admired female singers with strong vocals; Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Cher were my main influences when I was younger, as that’s what my parents listened to. It wasn’t until the stage school I went to had a guest singing teacher in for one session that I realised I had any power to my voice. He made us face the wall, right up close, and imagine we were singing the Titanic song to someone we loved, like we really meant it. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I found some volume and confidence that I just ran with.

HTF: As mentioned, you have a very strong MySpace presence, and your website looks very professional. Where do you begin in getting yourself known? It must be a bit of a disadvantage being unsigned.
MySpace is a fantastic opportunity as a starting place and I’m on various other social networking sites. Glad you like the website, and yes, you are right: it’s very hard being unsigned. However, I’m out there if you look for me; without massive media support who’s going to look? (Thank-you for finding me, Nicola!). Advertising is really expensive and one of the main problems is getting my CDs into shops – hugely expensive – rather than relying on iTunes and Amazon. Lots of people don’t like buying online.

HTF: You’ve experimented with a various number of completely different styles, from your eye-catching black short hair in the raunchy video Better Things to Do to longer blonde locks. Which style would you say best sums up your trademark image, or do you prefer to maintain the variety when it comes to how you look?
Well, the long wavy blonde hair was during the photo shoot for ‘Comin’ on Strong’. After that, I had a short, platinum blonde bob that I loved. That was at the time of the photo shoot of my second album ‘Black on Black’. Then, as you say, I experimented with a black, fringed bob, similar to Uma Thurman’s in Pulp Fiction! I love to experiment with style and colour and, as there were so many blondes in the industry, I wanted to stand out. I even had long black extensions for my first video ‘Wrong all along’. Right now, I have seriously short hair, again it’s platinum blonde and I experiment with various spiky looks. I think I’ll always change my hair but I’m naturally blonde and will tend to gravitate back to my roots, ha ha.

HTF: Do you write all your songs yourself? And who’s your biggest musical inspiration? Talk me through the process from the idea in your head to releasing a single.
As I said before, when I was younger I was always singing songs by Celine Dion and Whitney Houston etc, but, as I got older and more into singing as an actual career idea, my main influence became Christina Aguilera. I love her style and her lyrics; she’s very honest in her songs. This inspired me to write about some very painful experiences. I was around 15 at the time but these lyrics didn’t surface until just recently, in my second album ‘Black on Black’. I tend to stick to personal experience, as I can feel the lyrics more. I find sad songs therapeutic to write and, for some reason, I hate writing happy songs. Personally, I start with a feeling, like the pain of a break-up and then I just write words and lines and gradually link them up into a song.

HTF: In some of your music videos, your outfits are rather skimpy. To what extent do you get help in making your videos?
The first video for ‘Wrong all along’ was filmed in a derelict building, and we chose a vampire-esque image, with bright red lipstick, long black extensions and a skin-tight red dress. The second video, ‘Better things to do’ is the one where I’m least dressed! It’s a bedroom scene: I’m throwing clothes around, having a bit of a girly outburst. Originally, I was going to be getting ready to go out, I would have been fully dressed! But ideas were flowing and it ended up being a bit of collaboration between me and the film director and I lost some layers of clothing! I felt quite awkward at first, but it’s tasteful and I think the Idea really works. With ‘Terrified’, the dress was fine it was just when he turned the wind machine on.

HTF: How does your latest album differ from Comin’ on Strong?
Comin’ on Strong was my first album of original songs; I’d only recorded covers before that, so didn’t know what to expect of the process. The melody I went into the studio with was quite soulful, not quite as strong – the obvious hook wasn’t there. Gradually, we popped them up a bit, with loads of harmonies and stuff. I am particularly pleased with how ‘Wrong All Along’ and ‘Just when I think’ turned out. With ‘Black on Black’, I used some of the lyrics I wrote when I was a teenager and adapted them. I felt ready to do it, or thought I was. I was also determined not to pop them up – so there’s less production and more ‘sing it once and record it’. The result is more dark and moody.

HTF: Looking to the future, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I would love to be able to concentrate fully on my music career – uni does rather get in the way! If I get the elusive deal – either with a record company or a publisher – and make serious money, then I would want to play some really big stadiums, make more albums and possibly launch into acting as well.

HTF: You have a very established R and B style. Can you see your music taking a different direction in the future? I’d like to develop a sound somewhere between the production of ‘Comin’ on Strong’ and the starkness of ‘Black on Black’, without compromising the finished product. I’d like to do a dance album, not like rave, but so that I can perform with exceptionally talented backing dancers (I love to dance!). Maybe I’ll make some stronger ballads and really push my lyrics and melodies to the best they can be, to keep improving my vocals.


Below is the link to my interview with Emma Nuriel from behind the music