Katey Brooks is a clear-eyed rebel in an industry that demands consistency. A devastating songwriting talent that has drawn comparisons with Jeff Buckley, Brooks has no shortage of famous admirers and yet she has resisted formula. Over a career spanning four continents, she’s journeyed from intimate living rooms to opulent concert halls, from dive bars to decorated studios with some of music’s biggest names. The wandering troubadour defies easy classification, with a back-catalogue incorporating soul, folk, blues and country. With her new album under construction, the mercurial songstress is more determined than ever to do things her own way.
Growing up inside a cult, as a child Brooks found refuge in song. “It was a very chaotic upbringing, full of some pretty colourful and sometimes unsavoury, characters. But when I sang, I felt free and connected. For as long as I can remember, it’s been my way of getting what I need to say out”, she reveals, "When I was 22 my mum got ill and she died. And then not long after that, my lifelong best friend went missing and she also died. That’s definitely had an effect on the course of my life and my writing. I guess I’m lucky that I have songs that I can write, as a means to deal with things”.
All of these hardships seem to have driven, rather than dragged her under. Brooks has certainly had her share of romantic turbulence, not to mention the struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. “In my most recent work, I’ve finally been able to sing directly about women instead of using the mysterious ‘you’. I’m a private person in a lot of ways and I never wanted to be a poster girl for anything. But a few years ago I just thought to screw it; I want to sing completely honestly. It felt like a weight lifted.”
Brooks latest single ‘Never Gonna Let Her Go’ is about being true to yourself and rejecting shame. The singer reveals, "We’re all going to walk this planet with different scripts in our heads, different upbringings, experiences and beliefs, and if we want to get along and be peaceful we need to accept that. Hate isn’t the answer in any situation – so I believe anyway”. The stunning single exudes soaring vocal harmonies, bluesy guitars and passionate lyrics, essentially becoming a peaceful protest song. Brooks prevails, "Judge me for my true failings, ask me to change those things that actually affect you, and I’ll hear that. But one thing I’ll never change, and one thing that is definitely not wrong with me, is my love for women”.
Brooks has found success recording with the likes of Brian May (Queen), Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones) and Paloma Faith at Abbey Road. She has played some of the world’s biggest festivals, as well as having received an enthusiastic reception from radio stations around the UK and internationally. Brooks has also received acclaim from such prestigious outlets as Billboard, Pride and The Advocate to name a few. Katey Brooks is now ready for the next chapter of her musical journey, with ‘Never Gonna Let Her Go’ out now.