KATJA just released a video for her song ‘Ride The Wave,’ which has gotten rave reviews for its artistic feel (http://katja.la/ridethewavevid). This follows the very successful debut of ‘I Would Kill,’ which premiered exclusively on Hollywire (http://katja.la/iwouldkill). In less than a week, the song had nearly half a million views! It’s also been featured on MTV Hits Fresh Faces and been picked up by the largest record pools and some of most popular Spotify playlists in the country.. Her original music has been described as raw and brutally honest progressive pop. Her latest single & video, ‘Ride the Wave’ is being exclusively released via a partnership with Shazam and live.me, and is inspired by her Australian heritage and features the indigenous instrument, the Didgeridoo, which she often utilizes in her live shows along with her dancers.
Hailing originally from Melbourne, Australia, the songstress is an exciting new voice on the pop music scene. KATJA first gained recognition for playing ‘Elsa’ in the hugely popular viral video ‘Princess Rap Battle’, which has had over 119 million views on YouTube: http://katja.la/princessrapbattle
KATJA has performed to massive crowds around America, at various major festivals and has a large social media following, including being one of the first stars on the live streaming phenomenon ‘Periscope’ where she was the first artist to reach 20 million hearts and 100K followers.
KATJA partnered with Doctors Hospital (HCA) to release “Shooting Star” a song about healthy and empowering relationships, cementing herself as an anti-bullying and healthy living advocate, visiting Augusta, GA and presenting a ’Shooting Star’ award for iHeartRadio as well as appearances on FOX and ABC News as part of the cancer charity ‘Relay for Life’ where she was also the headline performer. She has continued her YouTube success with powerful video renditions of Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande and through her newest solo release “I Would Kill“.
KATJA is a powerful voice and advocate for those who are going through struggles in life, and works with a number of charities and organizations to support healthy body and mind. She is committed to sharing her story and past of bullying, abuse, obesity (at one point when she was just 9 years old Katja reached 200lbs) and other challenges that stem from her origins growing up in a low income community in the western suburbs of Melbourne, without an opportunity to follow her dreams. KATJA’S story inspires others through her strength and resilience that she has achieved only by being willing to be open and vulnerable. Being a person who can literally relate to those who struggle through very difficult life challenges is a huge passion for her, so she can be the example, through her music, that one can overcome circumstances that hold us back. Her music and her message inspires a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone.
For more info on Katja, go to http://katjaglieson.com/bio/
I grew up in a working class, low income family situation. Music was never considered a ‘career’ option. Not that my family didn’t support it, just because it’s not what people do where I am from. I always believed people were either born into it or specially selected by the elite to be a part of the music and entertainment industry. I was a fat little shy girl that had no friends and would vomit at the thought of singing in front of people.
But it was being outcast in primary school that I found music chose me. It became my best friend and got me through every difficult situation I have ever experienced. I really have this insane, driving passion for it and I want my music to be there for other people the way it was for me.
I participated in absolutely anything and everything music related that was available to me. I joined the primary school choir because it was still pursuing my passion without having to get through the fear of singing solo. I joined local community theatre, and would save all my pocket money to have vocal lessons. I think that, most of the time, my family thought I was insane because I would lock myself in my bedroom every day after school, blast my music (so no one could really hear ME) and just sing all night.
I had one amazing teacher at school who helped me overcome a lot of my fears singing solo. She would practice with me during lunchtime and after school. I am forever grateful to her for standing up to a fellow teacher who criticized my breath in my singing voice. Which is interesting, because that breath is something that my co-writers and co-producers encourage.
Unfortunately, the low-income area schools I attended didn’t really have any performing arts budget to support what I wanted to do with my life, which made the struggle even harder as my family couldn’t afford to send me to external dancing and singing classes, but I always found that my teachers were trying to come up with resourceful ways to work around the limitations and help encourage me.
I kinda “ran away” from home. Haha I always had this urge to make music in the US. So, rather than continue study in Australia, I worked many jobs while at school, saving to make the trip to LA. I considered all my options carefully, but ultimately, made the decision with my gut instinct. I realized, I could still study online and experience all at the same time. Do I believe this is the path for everyone? Heck NO! I came here knowing one person (a past song writing mentor) and had to work out what the heck I was doing.
Here, I have found where I feel I belong. I began making my own music, connecting with other musicians, learning about making music videos and marketing it all independently. I found a program called P.A.C.E shows, who tours to elementary and high schools all over LA talking about bullying and music. I regularly do shows and talk about my experiences with bullying when I was in elementary school.
I don’t think there is a clear path for anyone. I am still working out mine, but one thing I am certain about, is this is where I need to be.
The best advice I can give, is to never expect someone to make it happen for you. Be willing to learn everything about the career you want to pursue, even the things you may not particularly want to do. I just wanted to be a singer-songwriter. I never imagined learning how to produce, choreograph, film, edit, or colour grade a video. But now that I have, I have a deeper understanding of what I want to create. And I feel like I can make it, even if I didn’t have a team to do it with me.
I absolutely loved performing on the main stage of LA and Capital Pride. I got to open for superstars like Jennifer Hudson and Bonnie McKee. Oh my goodness! It was such an amazing experience to share the stage with such inspiring artists in an environment filled with love!
I am also working with the Doctors Hospital and they are using my song “Shooting Star” for their “Live Your Healthy” campaign. I just found out it’s playing on their ad during the 2016 Rio Olympics! That song is so special to me, and it’s just an honour that people can feel it.
There is absolutely no reason why you cannot do it while you are studying. I was secretly plotting my music career long before I left home. It is so beautiful that parents worry about us. Trust me, I get it a lot! I think we also worry about our parents more than they worry about us. Our parents really want us to be happy. They might have a different opinion as to what makes us happy. But once my parents knew that this is all I wanted and nothing could stop me, they accepted it. I mean, I live in a whole other country!
That is absolutely true! I just love connecting with people. I love hearing their stories, their struggles, their dreams, their fears. I love that we are all thrown into this chaotic world with systems and rules but so much emotion. Music takes us on the journey together. It reminds us that we aren’t alone.
Wow! There is so much I still want to do. I can’t wait for my new music to have its finishing touches. I have been working super hard from the grass roots of the production and we are up to the mixing stage. Then it’s music video time! I love the entire process of all that. But my favourite thing is to perform live. Nothing beats being in the presence of people and the energy. I really can’t wait to get out and perform live again with my new show. I connect with the #KATJATORS (like gladiators) online literally everyday! So I just want to get out and tour and meet them!
The best advice I can give is to let go of expectation. If you are passionate about being an artist, you know it. You know who you are and what you were put on this earth to do. I am constantly trying to talk myself out of being an artist. It’s scary and vulnerable. But I just cannot imagine my life any other way. If you are passionate about money or fame, you are in the wrong game! Haha. This is a journey. You have to be open and patient.
Thank you so much for chatting with me. I am very aware that my story doesn’t fit the status quo of school, degree, job, promotion etc. But I am so passionate that there is a way to make your way through life if you don’t fit the status quo, or are following a career path that doesn’t have those systems in place to follow. So thank you so much.