She just started working on her next album when she penned the song “Ready to Love” with long time friend and British songwriter/electro-pop musician Frankmusik. The new single is an impromptu recording the two made while together in Hollywood a few months ago. “We’re good friends and have worked together before so we thought let’s go into the studio and mess around a bit,” says Katrina. “The result was ‘Ready to Love’- this fun upbeat dance song. We sent it back to the label and the next thing we know- they have all these cool remixed versions of the song including a radio mix by Mike Rizzo Funk Generation! It’s great when things like that happen.”
Katrina’s compelling story-her debut and return in the same breath-is unique. Her “return” is full time to an art she desperately loved yet left when she was just an adolescent; having made her initial music “debut” on the ratings high TV show Star Search, the same show that helped launch Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Usher and Justin Timberlake, among other household names. Katrina won the Junior Vocalist Category over the late R&B star Aaliyah and soon began receiving offers from record companies for what appeared to be a glittering career ahead of her. Instead, at the age of 11, her family life was thrown into turmoil and she quickly declined the offers. “The success of Star Search quickly turned my parents’ already tumultuous marriage into a battleground. Something I didn’t want a part of, I just wanted to be a kid,” she recalls. “I thought if I forgot about the music, things would be OK, but of course, the music was never the problem.”
Her parents soon divorced and although Katrina focused on her education, determined after seeing the abuse her mother endured, to control her own destiny by securing both a college and law degree, she continued performing in her school choirs, singing backup for friends’ bands and writing her own songs.
After receiving her Masters in Entertainment and Media Law, it wasn’t until one night when she went to see Cher in concert that it hit her: “I’ve always been a huge fan,” she says, “I went to see Cher in Las Vegas and walked out of that show in tears saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore’.”
The decision may have been simmering for a decade, but it was made in a flash. “I always knew I’d go back to singing,” says Katrina, who quit her law firm job and spent the following year writing songs on piano, exploring the blues, performing in clubs and learning how to play a ’63 Gibson SG.
She was soon introduced to Grammy Award winning producer Val Garay (James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Elton John) and multi-platinum songwriter/ instrumentalist Bonnie Hayes (Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Natalie Cole), who says he was drawn to Katrina by the distinctiveness of her voice, her “incredible” range and her “fearlessness” as a writer.
“I’ve always been influenced by rock music,” says Katrina, “and Val’s work influenced me a long time before I met him. Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Kim Carnes, the Motels, Dramarama–I know all of their songs from the radio. I still hear them all the time. Of her musical homecoming, Katrina says, “When the time came, I knew it was right and I haven’t looked back. I’m doing what I love most – this was meant to be.”