Interviews

Off Duty: Nashville Singer / Songwriter Katie Schecter

Written By James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by: The Bleu

If you have yet to discover Katie Schecter or hear her music, let me just preface this interview by saying that “Scheci” is one of my coolest friends. She’s crazy talented, crazy beautiful, crazy down-to-earth, and one of those people that you just want to know. Her smile can brighten any room and uplift any mood. Of course, I wanted to shine a light on her being that she’s one of my dearest Nashville girls, and because I’m a genuine fan of her songbird style. She’s doing big things in the music scene and I am very proud of her. We made an afternoon of it, played dress up in her EPIC, vintage-filled closet, and listened to some great records — stay tuned for her playlist later this week!

Let’s jump right into it as this 30-something, indie babe gives Bleu the grand tour of her newly purchased home which she shares with bandmate and fiancé, Nick Bockrath of Cage The Elephant. Get ready to be inspired and shake any case of the Mondays you might have with this glimpse into love, life, loss, and a clothing stash truly unlike any other. I introduce you to the one, the only, Schecibaby — get ready to smile.

Vintage dress. Shoes by Dr. Martens.
Vintage dress. Shoes by Dr. Martens.

How do you typically spend a day off when the work can wait?  “I usually spend the day playing guitar and/or listening to records. If he’s home and not on tour, I like hanging out with Nick Bockrath. I enjoy working out and making out — doobies are key.”

Do you sleep-in on your days off?  “Yes, I’m definitely more of a night owl than an early riser.”

Some days are better than others. Can you tell us how you remedy being in a creative funk? What puts you back on track?  “Oh yes, I have been there plenty of times. Sometimes it’s walking away from the medium at hand and just approaching something creative that’s in a different wheelhouse. Drawing or free-writing helps me when I’m in a songwriting funk. Sometimes, I’m just devoid of inspiration and accepting that and taking the pressure off of myself helps, too. Load up on love, movies, books — whatever makes you tick. Then you can hopefully pull something out of yourself.”

What’s the story behind your home and how long have you lived there?  “About a year and a half now. My boyfriend and I like that it’s a bit outside of the Nashville action, but still close to everything. It’s on a dead end and right next to a creek, so there are plenty of animals running around. It feels like we’re part of their kingdom; it’s pretty cool.”

What are some of your favorite things you cherish in your home?  “My guitars, an upholstered leopard chair that was in my house in NYC growing up (it’s on the cover of my first full-length album called Feline). Our giant cactus is pretty tight.”

Tell us about the art in your home.  “My favorite is artwork done by our late best friend Tiger Merritt. We have yet to frame it, but it is epic just like him. I have an encaustic wax portrait of myself by my bestie Matt Shultz that I adore. We have a bunch of Nick’s show/festival posters framed. Also, my amazing collage pieces by my soul sister Ciara Ramirez.”

The living room.
The living room.
Katie's guitar strap.
Katie's guitar strap.

Where do you find/shop for home decor?  “Flea markets for sure. 8th Ave. Antiques is amazing. Pre to Post Modern is great. Leaving the city and heading out to Clarksville, Franklin, or Old Hickory is the way to go. And, our awesome rugs are all Relic Home.”

What’s on your bedside table?  “Chapstick, a lighter, lavender oil, and amber oil.”

Can you suggest five of your favorite, must-read books? Another Country by James Baldwin, The Human Stain by Philip Roth, The Vagabond by Colette, East Of Eden by John Steinbeck, and Dead Babies by Martin Amis.”

Favorite Netflix series/shows/movie?  “I am ashamed to disclose that, if I’m not watching a music documentary, Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives of New York, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians are my favorites. You can totally judge me for it, but I like to fall asleep to crazy women arguing, and I have no idea why.”

Coffee table books or magazines you love? Vogue and Rolling Stone forever and ever, amen.”

Favorite candles?  “Diptyque Baies or Philosykos.”

Signature scent?  “These days, I wear Stella by Tocca.”

Vintage t-shirt, marching band pants, and loafers.
Vintage t-shirt, marching band pants, and loafers.

Describe your personal style.  “Low-maintenance, high-frequency, conversational, and seriously playful. Pretty much the only thing I own that’s not-secondhand is my underwear.”

What’s the one thing in your closet you would save in a fire?  “Nothing in my closet, I would save my journals. I have so many, and they all matter more than anything I’ve ever worn.”

Your first fashion splurge  “Olive green, Gucci, lug-sole loafers to accompany my Chapin School kindergarten uniform. My mother’s splurge, not mine. I went to private school in New York City, so wearing Gucci at five years old was pretty normal, believe it or not. Gosh, I would kill for those loafers right now!”

Your biggest fashion failure?  “Would be hard to pick just one. I specifically remember wearing a bandana as a shirt once. Lots of really short miniskirts, too much bronzer, and really high stilettos in my past. Let’s just say I’m doing better these days.”

All vintage.
All vintage.

What do you wear when you’re spending the day comfortable, at home, and off duty?  “I’ve been really into my burgundy velour tracksuit from Aviator Nation lately. I got one for playing their showcase at SXSW this year, and my boyfriend Nick got a matching one in blue. Dorks.”

Who, what, where inspires your style the most?  “Oh gosh, mostly male rockers of yesteryear — Joey Ramone in particular these days. I find inspiration in the music I’m listening to or the musicians I’m surrounded by. Oh, how could I forget Betty Davis! She is my current obsession.”

What are three things on your want list?  “I am constantly looking for things to wear on stage that excite me, I can never have enough hot pants, and is it weird that I kind of want Jenkos?”

Your five wardrobe staples, go…  “Leopard print sunglasses, leopard print scrunchie, low-top Dr. Martens, Thom Browne suit, Sidney Garber horoscope pinky ring.”

Favorite designers/brands?  “Thom Browne, Dries Van Noten, and Marni because they still make wearable works of art.”

Very favorite online shop?  “I don’t have one because I never online shop; I have to see how things fit and feel in-person before I purchase.”

If you could raid one person’s closet (alive or dead), who’s would it be?  “Either Diana Vreeland’s or George Clinton’s because they are true originals and absolutely fascinating to me.”

What are your secrets to shopping for vintage?  “You can always get things tailored!”

Best places to find vintage in Nashville?  “Again, 8th Avenue Antiques, I love Black Shag Vintage, and I find some serious gems at Goodwill and Southern Thrift.”

Dresses or jeans?  “[Winks] Dress over jeans.”

Heels or flats?  “Flats.”

What are your hobbies?  “Treasure hunting, journaling, and crossword puzzles.”

Tell us about your journaling process.  “It’s the birthplace of all of my songs. And, they also act as scrapbooks. I truly don’t know if I’d remember my life without them. Each one has a different cover, I use Moleskins, so I can create my own aesthetic for each one. They chronicle my songwriting process from the very first song I ever wrote to the ones I’m working on today. I have an all-encompassing obsession with words and lyrics.”

A journal for Tiger.
A journal for Tiger.

Can you tell us about the latest journal you’re making for Tiger?  “My latest journal is dedicated to my best friend Tiger of the band Morning Teleportation. He was the sweetest soul and most brilliant artist I will ever have the privilege of knowing. The cover reads: ‘For Tiger, my most special friend.’ He didn’t have a cell phone or social media. For years, he didn’t. He was king of the road, never tied to one place. My Lord, he was the coolest. The one thing he always did was keep journals, and was either constantly drawing and/or recording music to tape. He was a true original; I strive to be more like him. #BELIKETIGER”

What’s kept you grounded during the grieving process?  “Nothing at all. It is a loss that I’ll never get over. Listening to the albums he made with his band Morning Teleportation (Expanding Anyway in 2014 and Salivating for Symbiosis in 2017) and the music he loved (Roger Miller to name one). But, I can’t say I feel grounded at all, more like I’m just floating through the stratosphere.”

Tell us the story behind these killer hair hoops.  “I played a BMI showcase at SXSW in March and their social media director, Lyndsey, had these incredible, long braids decked out in hair hoops. I was practically drooling over them, so she kindly put one in my pigtail and I’ve been rockin’ them ever since. Jewelry for your hair — it’s brilliant.”

Night in or night out? How do you spend it?  “When we don’t have to be out at night for shows/work events, we love being at home.”

Song on repeat?  “House of Glass by Cage the Elephant. Actually, their entire new album Social Cues.”

Breakfast/brunch of choice?  “Huevos Rancheros.”

Coffee or tea? How do you take it?  “So much coffee, iced with coconut milk.”

Favorite local cup?  “Sip Cafe!”

Fave cookbooks?  “Don’t have one! I am a terrible cook.”

Favorite local restaurant and what is your go-to order?  “Love me some Mas Tacos. I get the tortilla soup and fried avocado tacos.”

Regular Postmates/takeout order?  “Otaku Ramen takeaway.”

Any supplements you take/magic elixirs you make or swear by?  “I just smoke weed and let the music heal my pain.”

Any most-loved kitchen gadgets?  “My Nespresso coffee maker.”

Do you work out?  “Elliptical and sit-ups at the gym.”

What does self-care look like for you when you’re off duty?  “I really enjoy taking hot baths. Reflexology is another way I seriously unwind — such a great way to release tension.”

How do you treat yourself?  “My favorite treat is a manicure/pedicure. It’s not a given, but that little something extra makes all the difference in how I feel about myself.”

You’re writing/recording a new record. Can you tell us about it?  “I just finished recording a full-length record in NYC at Diamond Mine Studio. The musicians who played on it are heavy legends: Homer Steinweiss and Nick Movshon, drums and bass respectively, Nick Bockrath on lead guitar. Ben Baptie producing and mixing. It is a privilege to be in a room working with such incredible musicians. They really informed my sound. I mean, the rhythm section played on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. So when I say legends, I don’t say this lightly. I’m more proud of this record than anything I’ve ever worked on.”

What’s it like playing with Nick?  “Everything. I mean he is the reason I have ‘a sound’. He pushes me to be a better artist and outdo myself. I know if his ears perk to something, I’m doing something good.”

Who/what has been your biggest musical inspiration?  “Everything in my life thus far — good and bad. It probably all started as a baby though, falling asleep to my dad practicing Chopin on the piano every night next to my room, as was the case throughout my childhood. I am also really lucky to be friends with artists I really look up to; Cage the Elephant and Dan Auerbach are two of my major influences. They set the bar.”

What instruments do you play?  “Guitar and piano, but my main instrument is my voice.”

What has been a recent venue or show that you have played and what made it special?  “I recently played in Red Hook, Brooklyn at Sonny’s Bar sharing the bill with Holy Hive. It was right after we finished tracking my album in December, and we got to play a show to celebrate. We went straight from the studio to the venue. The room was sardines, we played multiples sets, a lot of covers. It was so. much. fucking. fun.”

What does a typical work/writing/recording/tour day look like?  “All look different. All I want to do is be on the road. It’s all about that set time when you’re on tour. That’s what you have to look forward to all day; it’s just a means to get to showtime and it feels so amazing when you’re finally up there.”

What keeps you motivated?  “The need for great songs and music will never die and neither will my passion. That’s what keeps me going — the music — trying to outdo myself and dig deeper every time. Coffee does too, quite literally.”

Any advice to other women looking to start a career in music?  “Don’t Hold Back. Art is subjective, so you can’t be wrong. You don’t have to be yourself; you can do and be absolutely anything you want!”

Any exciting news or projects on the horizon?  “Your new favorite Katie Schecter album will drop sometime in 2019. I know what I’m going to call it, but it’s a surprise…”

Written by: James Kicinski-McCoy

James Kicinski-McCoy is the 30-something Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Bleu. She likes tequila, picks fights with her husband so she can have the bed to herself, and is trying to figure out that work / life balance.

1 Comment

  1. Brian U.

    May 14, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    This is such a fun Q&A by a multi-talented artist.

    Reply

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