We had the good fortune of connecting with Katherine Byrnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katherine, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
It took me a while to realize that when it comes to being a musician, talent is only a small part of being successful. Talent can get your foot in the door, but work ethic and reliability are everything. I was so fortunate to grow up with a family that took my dreams seriously. My parents always taught me that no matter what job you take on, if you agree to do something you have to give it 100%. This has influenced my entire career, from how I practice my craft to how I conduct my business.
People see the final product of being an artist, and although they realize that it takes a ton of work, it’s very difficult to know from the outside exactly what that work entails. I am a singer … but that also means I am a booking agent, manager, PR representative, band leader, costume designer, director, and more. Every single performer under the sun is doing multiple jobs, and the ones who succeed are the ones who rise up to that challenge.
For me the most important habits are to be organized, reliable, and able to shrug all that off once it’s time to perform!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am most proud of making a living doing what I love. It’s in every aspect of work I do! From singing the music of Janis Joplin and Carole King, to guest starring with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, gigging with my original band Sweet Ghosts, and even directing & choreographing musical theater shows ~ music is a part of every single day for me, and that has always been my goal.
I won’t say it has been easy … there were definitely times I considered giving it all up and getting a “real” job, but I never struggled with having to prove to myself or my loved ones that music can be a career. My maternal grandmother was a ballet dancer and co-ran a business with my grandpa, so work and art have always gone hand-in-hand in my family.
I think the most important lesson I have learned is to never stop pushing forward. There is no level at which I will say to myself, “Ok … you are officially successful. Time to relax and sit back”. That doesn’t exist, and frankly I don’t want it to. I love learning from other artists, growing my craft and my business, and trying new things. I think the minute you stop pushing forward is the minute you lose the excitement of being an artist.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week in Tucson?! There’s so much to do!
If it’s nice outside (anytime that’s not the summer), go to Sabino Canyon, Agua Caliente park, hike Tumamoc, visit San Xavier Mission, explore Kartchner Caverns, drive up Mt. Lemmon, or just watch a sunset … from literally anywhere.
If you like coffee go to Exo Roast Co. (owned by 2 incredible musicians who contribute so much to the local scene) or Decibel Coffee (owned by an audio engineer & musician too!)
For food / drinks I would suggest The Cup Café @ Hotel Congress, Anita Street Market, The Little One, Cafe Desta, Kukai (or anything at the Annex), 5 Points, The Coronet, The Downtown Clifton, and basically any taco stand you pass.
Tucson is awesome ~ just pick a place and try it!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m going to dedicate my Shoutout to the two most influential teachers I had growing up, Monte Ralstin & Jeff Haskell.
Monte taught me so much about discovering truth in lyrics and connecting to that truth. I learned from him how to step into a song and let it flow through me. Although he is gone, Monte’s teaching lives on in every performer who was lucky enough to study with him.
Jeff Haskell taught me (and is still teaching me) the world of jazz harmony and melody. From him I have learned to think of my voice as an instrument like any other, how to use it within a band or orchestra as part of the composition … not just fronting it.
And to every other musician I have ever worked with, thanks for teaching me.
Other: I perform a lot with Khris Dodge Entertainment as well ~ check out their website @ https://khrisdodgeentertainment.com/
Ed Flores Photography Khris Dodge Entertainment