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Melody's Miscellaneous: Interview with Kat Orlando

She’s the Queen of Sax in Detroit. The moody, funky, gritty notes that Kat Orlando plays on her venerable woodwind instrument have energized the stages of nightclubs and festivals across Detroit for decades. She is a remarkable artist and entertainer. Kat spans multiple music genres. She can lay down a heavy Funk melody that will mesmerize an audience, then bust out with some Rock music, and then easily shift to Pop, Soul, or Jazz. Her musical versatility and repertoire appeals to a wide range of fans. Kat performs her own 5-7 piece KAT ORLANDO BAND as well as the KAT ORLANDO DUO, featuring her husband, Larry Pinho, on Guitar.

Hi, Kat! Thanks for meeting with us today. You recently released new music. Can you give us a little backstory?

Thank you for having me! I’m a singer sax player, songwriter. I was drawn to

music at a very young age. I was 4 years old when I got my first record. I used to

play the 45s I got from my aunt and uncles. Several of them owned restaurants

with jukeboxes. Music TV shows had a huge influence. I had a transistor radio

constantly at my ear. Being from Detroit, I was very influenced by Motown and

Detroit rock of the late 60s early 70s. I’ve been performing and writing for years. I

have stories and messages I’d like to get out with my songs. I love performing.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt….so many. I’m also influenced by other musicians around me, especially one with a different approach.

What inspires you to write music?

Listening to artists I admire. Of course, if I have a lot on my mind and I’m

subconsciously hearing melodies and rhythms that is going to drive me. I tend to

do better in quiet surroundings, where time is slowed. More things will tend to

pop up in my head. Driving give me ideas. Sometimes dreams or semi-waking

thoughts get me started.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?

I suppose I can write still, regardless. Will I like it? That is another matter. I’m

waiting to stumble across the song I get a real strong feeling about, like my last 3

I just put out. When I’m in promotion mode, I don’t have the same flow for writing.

I’m trying to change that. Writing journals can help. Listening or watching other

artists I admire, helps. As long as you keep playing and/or singing, something

can happen.

What do you hope fans take away from your music?

I’m hoping listeners recognize the groove and lyrics as something that makes

you feel. Any artist would hope that lyrics are recognized and move the listener,

perhaps sparking thoughts, emotions. Also, it’s not about what genre it is or isn’t.

It’s whether you like it or not. Bottom line is, give it a chance. If you like it, talk to

others about it!

Have you ever had s strange fan encounter? Can you tell us about it?

That happens fairly often. Add alcohol to the mix and you never know what you’re

going to get. It’s usually the overly enthusiastic person in the audience who

insists they sing or play the best tambourine, or one that has an attitude, insisting

on a certain song immediately. Some barge up on the stage. Others drunkenly

dance, fall into our stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m counting on enthusiastic people

to help get the energy going. There are some that don’t know the etiquette. I

especially feel for some the artists out today who get stuff thrown at them on

stage. Not cool.

What is one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned so far?

The answer might be different on any given day. I guess, accept who you are.

Don’t suppress creativity. Keep expressing it. Most of my life I was always trying

to fit in, downplay the artistic, musical side. I went back to school late in life only

to find that playing music was the only steady thing for me. My other skills were

to fill in the blanks, supplement financially. This may not apply to everybody but

even if you do have another a career or just “life” you can still find a way to keep

active music in music no matter what capacity.

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