Steamboat singer wins singer-songwriter competition in Los Angeles
Steamboat Springs — The life of a Steamboat Springs singer has taken a turn in a new direction.
Kate Brady, known as Kate Ross in Steamboat, was named the winner of the Guitar Center’s Singer Songwriter 5 Competition by Grammy award-winning producer Ariel Rechtshaid following her performance, along with four other finalists, on the stage of the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
“He came backstage before it was announced to the audience and pointed his plastic water bottle at me and said, ‘The winner is Kate,’” Brady said. “I just melted in my seat and vaguely remember him saying something like you put on a beautiful and dramatic performance and I’m not one for drama, but ‘August’ is a great song, and I can’t wait to get in the studio and work with you.
“But he also wanted to make everyone feel like it didn’t stop here,” she continued. “He was someone who started with nothing to get to where he is, and everyone that was part of the competition kept telling us that it takes so much guts to do what we were doing.”
From 14,000 submissions, Brady was chosen as one of five finalists based on her original live music video, “August.”
As part of the grand prize, Brady will record a four-song EP with Rechtshaid. And with mentor Dallas Green of City and Colour, she will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this summer. She also was awarded a $25,000 cash prize.
Prior to the performance, Brady said she was nervous and wondered how she would be able to make herself stand out from the group of finalists, who all performed two songs in front of the invitation-only crowd.
“I love telling stories and really wanted to be engaged with the audience,” Brady said. “I tried to put on a good show because the song itself can’t stand on its own against the competitors. But I was really satisfied because I did the best I could’ve done. As tired as I was from the week, I knew that I was happy and gave it my all. I thought that if he doesn’t pick me, I know I did everything I could.”
Brady’s mother Bridget Ross and her sister Shannon Ross were in the audience and they said it was the sincerity of her music and the fact that listeners could relate to the lyrics, helped Brady win.
“A lot of people in these types of competitions are focused on the prizes and money, but for Katie, it was really to be produced by Ariel — that was her focus to win the competition,” said Bridget Ross. “She has admired his work since middle school, and that’s what she really wanted to win.”
Now in a period of rest and reflection after the whirlwind last week, Brady said she plans to graduate with honors in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado Boulder in the spring and then move to L.A. to start working on the E.P. and her music career.
“This is the real deal,” Ross said. “We are really proud, and it’s really been the community of Steamboat that has helped raise and mentor her — her teachers, piano teachers, experience in high school musicals, sports, etc., who helped her get there.
“This is a magical community, it really is,” Ross added.
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