Katie Costello is a singer, songwriter, and co-founder of REBEL POP Records. Katie started working on her first album Kaleidoscope Machine at only 15 years old, which was released after she turned 17.
I had the chance to interview Katie and ask her about her work and what inspires her. A rebellious heart and sweet voice, meet Katie Costello.
Read below to see what she had to say.
What's one thing you didn't learn in high school that you should've been taught?
There’s nothing more important and valuable than being happy, healthy and content.
Do you consider yourself successful?
Yes. Many people have our society’s version of success - wealth, fame, a high powered job - but despite these things, many are not happy, healthy, or feel they are doing what they truly love. Examining this, I always wished to create a life for myself that is authentic to my happiness, passion and health. Based on this point of view, I feel that I’ve already achieved certain important goals in my life by pursuing my passion, doing what I love to do and having loving friends who share my successes. Through my years of experience, I have learned there is nothing more fulfilling and “successful” as being your true self - and wishing for others to enjoy that too.
What do you attribute your success to?
I attribute my success to the way I’ve always trusted and listened to my heart - even when there’s been a lot of outside opposition to my decisions and the path I’ve followed. Knowing how rare and precious it is to be alive, I feel that I have a responsibility to do what I love and to share that enthusiasm to sing, perform and make music with others. We all benefit from each other realizing our dreams, goals and highest potential, so I want to do my part.
My partner and the co-founder of REBEL POP Records, Vivekan, is my biggest inspiration and muse. He’s the kind of person who is always learning, always growing, and has been the main inspiration to me about overcoming my fears and always keeping an open, happy mind. He’s taught me about being a fearless artist who is at once firm but always flexible. Vivekan’s inspiration has also helped me to see that cultivating an open mind can be your constant muse.
Biggest role model (career wise)?
Mick Jagger. He’s one of the most enjoyable people to watch perform. His songs with Keith are timeless, raw, true, unique and brave. He manages to be playful and profound, trendy and classic all at the same time. He surrounds himself with brilliant musicians and has co-created and fronts the greatest band of all time. I have immense respect and admiration for his musical career.
How would you describe your style?
I call my style of music REBEL POP. It’s “rebel” because I’m the artist, composer, music publisher and record label - doing it authentically and independently. It’s “pop” because it’s feel good music that is intended for everyone.
Thoughts on creativity in the digital age?
The sheer amount of creativity in the digital age is a beautiful thing and in my estimation it has created a new landscape of possibility, discovery, connection, etc. Despite these great aspects, I believe there needs to be more serious public policy around genuinely protecting artists, songwriters and creatives’ interests.
How does social media tie into your work?
As an independent artist, I use social media to announce releases, share exclusive details on what I’m creating, and connect with fans of the music. I love using it to express musings, inspiration and topics that I care about.
Books that changed you?
The Essential Dalai Lama, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Dhammapada, by Buddha
The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
Do you feel your education ties into your work?
Yes. During my public education, I learned to be hard-working and juggle a lot. Being an independent artist requires hard work, determination, juggling a lot and never giving up. The let downs, trials and tribulations of my school years definitely helped me prepare for the greater difficulty in my independent music career ahead.
Do you consider your age an advantage or a setback?
I was 15 when I started making my first album. At that time, everyone called me a “baby” and an “old soul” and I hated it. Now I can see how my young age is an advantage to me. I also feel that with greater age comes greater wisdom, experience, grace and knowledge - if you cultivate it. It’s just a number… I’ve met 7 year olds who already seemed jaded and people in their “golden years” who are more open and youthful than my peers.
Poets that inspire you?
My mom writes poems and this inspired me when I was younger. I also loved reading anything by Shel Silverstein growing up. I love Robert Frost for writing “The Road Not Taken”.
Favorite song you've written?
In truth: the most recent song I’ve written is always my favorite. However, everything I’ve released has a facet of being my favorite song. One that comes to mind at this moment is “Isn’t It Lovely” from my first album “Kaleidoscope Machine”. When I play this song, I always get into the same mood as when I wrote it, which is a really good mood.
Big projects you're working on in the coming year?
I’ve made my 3rd full-length album and it will be coming out sometime in the coming year. It’s the REBEL POP manifesto and my favorite music I’ve ever created yet.