Kate Magdalena has released her highly-anticipated Americana album, A Larger Dance (Southern Skye Records) - available at all digital platforms. In advance of the new album, Magdalena released 5 of the tracks early as a series of singles. Fans as well as country radio stations quickly embraced her rousing cover of Sinead O'Connor's "Take Me To Church," the patriotic "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and originals "New Earth," "Be the Lark" and "Streets of Any Town," a song dedicated to the plight of the nation's homeless men and women.
Magdalena's second full length album is produced by GRAMMY-nominated-producer Billy Smiley (Johnny Cash, Whiteheart, Clay Aiken, The Newsboys). The album features some of Nashville's finest musicians with Fred Eltringham (The Wallflowers, Sheryl Crow), Byron House (Robert Plant and the Band of Joy), Blair Masters (Garth Brooks) and Brennan Smiley (The Technicolors). While mostly original, A Larger Dance also includes reimagined covers by Crosby Stills & Nash ("Southern Cross"), Joan Armatrading ("Dry Land") and Leonard Cohen ("Dance Me to the End of Love")
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: tell us a little about your journey as an artist. How did you feel led to write and sing?
I began singing as a young girl and have always found it the most immediate and natural expression for me. I cultivated my voice by listening to some of the most beautiful voices, Julie Andrews and Mary Travers of PP&M, Barbra Streisand, and Linda Rondstadt. Singing is a need, even physically. My larynx sometimes sweetly aches to sing! As far as writing, I began writing poetry in college, and it became quite a serious endeavor. I actually went on to get a graduate degree in Poetics in order to write and teach. I was led back into making music by the urgency of our times! Thus my music I call "Timely Americana."
Q: How would you describe your own style of music?
Pop, light rock, folk, visionary, Celtic inspired fusions.....all meld into my branding of "Timely Americana." What do I mean by this? I mean that we are in extraordinary times, times of enormous challenge. From my research, the problems we are experiencing worldwide have some fundamental causes, and it is these that I seek to address in my work.
Q: Why did you decide to call your new album "A Larger Dance"?
At the same time as we have these problems facing us, we are held in the immeasurably large and loving hands of God, and every part of our lives has purpose and meaning though we often do not often grasp it. I think it is essential to feel the greater fabric of His hand in our lives, as events come which otherwise we could not make sense of. "A Larger Dance" is call to feel that fabric behind our lives, a fabric that connects us to all that is truly Real, True, and Good.
Q: You have described your songs as "soul therapy." What do you mean by that?
Actually, a fan described it thus. However I was overjoyed because at the same time that I wish to awaken through my songs, I also wish to soothe and delight. My voice has qualities that I am told are healing, and it is healing ultimately that I wish to bring, in the sense that all that is pleasurable and delightful heals us. There is so much in our pop culture that is anti-healing! We are a wounded society! God is the healer, and I truly hope my music might serve His purposes in some way.
Q: Not many Christian artists would think of covering a song by Sinead O'Connor. Why did you choose to tackle her "Take Me to Church"?
Truthfully, I did not know her work or her controversies regarding the Pope, etc. I was drawn to her because I could tell that her conversion to Islam was genuine and inspired by her love for truth. Unfortunately, though I would not make that choice, I resonated with her because I could tell she was also genuinely religiously inspired. I felt a kinship. And I love that song, and felt that I could really put it over! Besides, I'm a little controversial myself -- a free thinker! The problem of pedophilia that Sinead addressed regarding the actions of many Catholic priests have come to light since, and I think she had enormous courage to address this worldwide issue, although I would have chosen a different method to do so. As a child she was a devout Catholic, and her horror at learning the truth of the church's ways in Ireland must have been profoundly shocking and disturbing. At the time, the world knew nothing of it. That has changed, and she has been vindicated!
Q: One of your own compositions that I really like is "Streets of Any Town." Tell us how did the song come about?
I wrote the song in Nashville while I was attending a music conference for Christian artists. It came out of an encounter I had with a homeless man on Nashville's Broadway honky tonk district. The man's story is really the song, his continual spiral downwards plagued by heroin addiction and life on the streets. The problem in CA is so bad that I just had to ask the question: Is it really okay for a civilized society to have people living on the streets? Of course, in CA they think differently....Unfortunately homelessness is in now almost in any town.
Q: What do you want your listeners to grasp after listening to your album?
If they feel a response to my voice and my music, I'd like them to follow my work! I'd like to sing to them, to write for them, and to join with them in addressing these times in a Godly way, in courage, in beauty and in truth. I'd like them to grasp that as Christians we have a call to serve God's purposes now as best we can. I'd like them to grasp that my music is an effort to do just that. I hope they find consolation and joy in my songs! For we are truly dancers in God's larger dance......