Katie and the Carnival

Welcome to Wednesday!

This week we have a really great interview with Belfast talent Katie Richardson …

Katie and the Carnival is the musical project of musician and actress Katie Richardson and her band. Known for their energetic and engaging live performances, their music is soulful and harmony-driven with influences from folk, pop, indie and torch song. Following a number of sell-out special events last Summer the band have made several TV (BBC NI’s Out Of The Blue and Come Dine With Me), radio (performed ‘Dinosaurs’ live on the Gerry Anderson show on day-time BBC Ulster Monday 14th May) and festival appearances (just announced to play this years Glasgowbury Festival) and joined Foy Vance in The Ulster Hall for a magical gig last November.

Katie also works as a composer and has written music for numerous theatrical and community arts based arts projects.

New single ‘Dinosaurs’ (listen HERE), out June 18th

Katie creates the kind of smokey jazz that Norah Jones might make if you snuck a load of vodka in her diet coke...” (never enough notes)

How and where are you today?

How nice of you to ask…! Today I’m delighted to be in Carndonagh, Donegal… I’m pretty tired at the moment as things have been a little crazy with work recently (lots of all-nighters and minor nervous breakdowns!) but I’ve managed to escape Belfast for a day to these beautiful surroundings. There shall be lots of sitting down and drinking tea! Hooray!

How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And was this the destination you had in mind?

Well I always dreamed of working in music and theatre – I was heavily involved with both from an early age. When I left school i discovered a passion for travel and spent some time in Australia, America, Africa and Europe. In New York I did a short acting for the camera course at the Film academy and decided to focus my energies on acting. I had no confidence in my singing ability so i set it aside. I discovered music again by accident when I got involved in the band scene in Belfast as a backing singer in a band and i never looked back. Suddenly the music started to take over form the acting and I found myself writing music for plays and all sorts of other projects including Katie and the carnival which was a total accident – but a very happy one. Having full creative control of something like that is the most wonderful thing in the world.

I’m very ambitious and I can get quite panicky that I might not live my life to the fullest or be as successful as I want to be, however I always try to remind myself to focus on the journey as that is really the only important bit. I know I’ll never reach a point where I’m satisfied – I’ll always want more. Where I want to be in life changes all the time and there is so much I want to do and learn and so many places i want to see that I find it equally exciting and terrifying!

So where I am right now is probably not where i saw myself at this stage but things are rarely what you expect them to be. I’m very lucky to be able to do so many things that I love doing so much. The journey so far has been fun, challenging, exciting, terrifying, sometimes soul destroying but always interesting.

Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?

You know I’m working on that – I’m not great at giving myself enough time to be creative – I mean I spend most of my life being creative but it always seems to be a mad last minute rush to get things done – maybe that’s my process – maybe I work best under pressure…

How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?

I think my background has a lot to do with what I do. Musically I grew up listening to a lot of jazz music and folk music with my parents, then i went through the pop phase, then the goth phase, then the indie phase, then a rock phase… now i like a bit of everything. I also grew up with amazing choral opportunities in school – I sang in some amazing places and my love of choral music has really influenced the music I write now. I am harmony mad.

Growing up in Belfast has actually been great – there has been an exciting wave of arts happening here in the last few years. It feels like something really special is happening in the city at the moment and I’m really happy to be part of it. I have always been surrounded by creative people – starting with my family and friends from an early age – and they keep me inspired. My biggest influences are probably the people around me who are creating incredible work and working so hard to make ends meet. I get really excited when I see people following their passions and dreams. It keeps me going.

What does beauty mean to you?

Happiness, freedom, kindness, possibility, creativity… beauty can be found in so many things. Sometimes for me the most simple things are the most beautiful. True beauty for me is not just a visual thing – it’s a feeling, an atmosphere. You can feel the beauty in a place, a person. Beauty in people is an attitude – it’s found in actions and words and thoughts.

If we had interviewed you when you were 11, what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?

A singer/actress. Back then I wanted to be in musicals – on the stage… Gene Kelly was my hero and I was obsessed with anything that involved a song and a dance. I loved it all the clothes, the glamour, the romance…

On a personal level I always had real confidence issues as a teenager so it took me a long time to learn how to express myself unashamedly. The music I write and events I put on now are always expressions and extensions of myself and finally I don’t care what other people think of me or them. I think that’s part of growing up and I’m so proud to be doing what I’m doing now. My 11 year old self would be proud.

What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?

Never give up, always believe in yourself where you can. Hard work pays off and nothing is impossible.

(Katie’s Twitter and Facebook)

Thank you so very much Katie. We are so delighted to have you on the blog, and loved your answers. So excited for you and all that is on your horizon. We will be sure to keep all readers updated on performances and news. Welcome to the family!

*** Be sure to listen to the Playlist this Friday – Carnival Katie will be our DJ!***

handsome and pretty



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