Kathryn Dean found her love and passion for music as soon as her pen hit the paper and lyrics started pouring out. Having exclusively released her new single “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” on High School Nation’s Quaranteen Live series, it is finally live for everyone today! She opened up about her experience throughout quarantine, her path that led her to where she is today and more. Her music like her fashion are a reflection of how she is feeling in the moment…Take a look at her new single! 

At what moment did you realize singing would be more than a passion for you? 

It has always been my dream to be a recording artist and performer, but it wasn’t until I started writing songs that I felt I could turn my passion into a career. Songwriting has not only been incredibly cathartic for me, but it has also allowed me to connect with listeners on a deeper level.

Your track “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be) is officially out today. How are you feeling? What do you hope your fans will feel when listening to it?

I hope that “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” will resonate with fans and that hearing (in the lyrics) the emotional journey I went through after ending an unhealthy relationship will encourage my audience members to evaluate their own relationships and only put energy into those that build them up.

Share with us what it was like performing “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” on High School Nation’s Quaranteen Live series. What is something about that moment that stuck out to you the most? 

When I take a new song, particularly one like “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” that has great personal meaning to me, to stage, I always feel like that song goes from being my story to being my audience members’ story. While I would have loved to have been able to perform “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” for an in-person audience, it was such a joy to be on stage again.

Tell us about your new docuseries Chart Breakers. What can viewers and fans expect?

Chart Breakers follows both my and iNTeLL’s (of 2nd Generation Wu [Tang]) journeys as we chase the same goal of having a hit song on the pop charts under the mentorship of elite producers and writers Sandy Vee and 88-Keys. The docuseries will also feature a number of Grammy winners, top artists, and hit makers as we all strive to redefine pop music as popular music, which includes rap, hip hop, and R&B.

How is your quarantine experience? Share one good and one hard thing you experienced during this time.

It has certainly been interesting! One challenge has been writing and recording remotely—dealing with sound lag during Zoom writing sessions, having to engineer my own vocals, and constantly uploading and downloading large files just to share ideas. On the other hand, I have been able to work with some great new collaborators whose schedules have changed. Before quarantine, sessions were deferred until all parties could be in the same city. Now, collaborating remotely feels very routine.

When faced with an obstacle, how do you overcome it? Do you have a quote or something someone told you once that helps you get through the tough times? 

When faced with an obstacle, I always find it helpful to get someone else’s perspective, whether from my manager, a member of my team, or a loved one. One of the pieces of advice I received years ago that has always stuck with me is to learn to love being told you can’t do something because it is incredibly satisfying to show naysayers just how wrong they were.

What is something about yourself that people do not know? 

I am addicted to Escape Rooms and have done over 20. After one of the most recent experiences, the Escape Room owner asked if I would be interested in consulting on developing rooms.

Who did you grow up listening to (music wise) with your family? 

I grew up listening to Carole King; Crosby, Stills, and Nash Young; and Fleetwood Mac. It’s always fun when a song I heard as a kid but forgot about, comes on the radio and I still know all of the words.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memory has to be when my dad surprised us with a puppy on Christmas morning, after months of me begging for a dog.

Tell us more about your fashion style. 

As with my music, my fashion style continues to evolve but I always seem to gravitate toward pieces that establish a mood every time I put them on. Fashion is a great way to shape how you see yourself and how you want to be seen by others.

A vaccine has been found and life goes back to “normal.” What is the first thing you want to do?

Hug friends and family members!

By Alexandra Bonnet
Photo credit Teron Beal