Kitty Perrin is a third year UEA student studying History and Politics. She works as a radio presenter for BBC Introducing and is a singer-songwriter.
Kitty has been playing shows since she was 11 and has dealt with stage nerves by connecting with the audience. Kitty said, “I feel like if you are looking directly at people, they will usually smile at you because they want to be nice. So if they smile at me or look at me, I’ll connect with them a bit more and then it will be nicer.”
Speaking about coming back together after her band hadn’t performed in 6 months due to lockdown measures, Kitty said it was a weird experience, especially after they only formed in January. She said, “My drummer Ben lives opposite me and we play together. He plays in his living room and I play in my living room and we can hear each other so that’s really nice. So we were playing together then a little bit but then lockdown hit and even we couldn’t play together for months. So we met in January and we rehearsed together for about a month and then it was suddenly lockdown and we just couldn’t do anything for six months. Then we got an email about this event two weeks ago saying ‘do you guys want to play a festival?’ and we were like ‘well we haven’t played together for 6 months but we’ll give it a go!’ And it worked!”
I also spoke to Kitty about what she loved most about performing and being on the stage. For Kitty, it is being in the atmosphere of the crowd. She said, “I love seeing people and being able to look at a crowd and enjoy that. I love music, I love listening to music. I’m also a middle child so I like being the centre of attention.” When I asked if Kitty liked her own music and hearing her voice back, said although it has taken a long time, she does now. Kitty writes all her own songs, and has done since she was 12-years-old. She said that the key to being a musician and writing music, is to “write music that you would listen to.” She said that although it sounds a little egotistical to say she likes her own music, “it would be weird to write music that you didn’t want to listen to.” Kitty said, “I never performed, recorded or played a song that I thought I wouldn’t like to listen to and I feel like as a result I do like my own music and listening to my music. Having a band helps that because they’ll be behind it and say ‘I love this new track’ and then it feels like I can do it a bit more too and not come across as cocky.”
Kitty also spoke about the fact that “If you are performing and recording, you can’t really hate yourself,” but that female musicians say they do hate elements of their voice, their performance, far more than their male counterparts. She went on to say that “there is a massive gender inequality in the music industry still.” Kitty spoke about a recent report that only 3% of producers in the industry are female, and that when she presents BBC Introducing, less than 10% of submissions are from women. She said, “It has always been really important for me to be a female musician and champion female musicians and I do on my show and now I’m in a band of all male musicians and I think at first I was a bit unsure of how I felt about that because there are a million women that could do the same thing and play the same instruments. But I think in the end it was just that we (bandmates) have all been friends for a really long time before we started playing together as a band and having good friends makes a big difference. We come to events like this and you turn up very early in the day and you are on your own for hours. And I used to do that all the time and I’d be sitting at 10am waiting for anyone else to come and not knowing anyone but the staff and it was a bit lonely. And now I come with all my best friends and it’s really nice.” Talking about the future and what that looks for her, Kitty said, “If I start working with a team, then I am hoping that everyone I work with industry wise will be female. Especially I think having a female manager is super important to me, I think only a female manager would understand how difficult it is to be a female in the music industry.”
Leading onto the conversation about inequality of women in the industry, Kitty also spoke about the way she was pushed towards learning acoustic guitar instead of other instruments. But even then, Kitty said she sometimes feels patronised by sound technicians when she turns up at gigs with a guitar. She said, “People at the end will be like ‘aw I didn’t expect you to be that good!’ and I always think ‘well why didn’t you expect it?” Kitty is now branching out and learning drums and she comes to term with what feels right within her music identity. She said, “When I was growing up, I didn’t know that it was even an option. I hear the word drummer and I think ‘man’. So I learnt guitar and then I’ve learnt drums recently and now I think that is actually more my instrument than guitar has even been so in the future I’d like to play sets with drums and sing and play drums. But I think it’s weird that at some point when I was about 8 years old, I got shoehorned into playing acoustic guitar and I think musically that now doesn’t feel that right.”
Finally, I asked Kitty what she hoped the audience would take away from her music. Kitty spoke about how important it was for her to make people smile and leave feeling happy. She also said that when she performs personal songs that she’s written, she’d like the audiences to feel like they know her. But she also hopes to create songs that inspire audiences. Kitty said “I also write quite a lot of songs about bigger issues and that is very important to me. I’m gay so I’ve written a lot of songs about that before and I want audiences to connect with that. I always hope I’ll play a song about a girl and there will be like a 12-year-old girl in the audience who is like ‘that means a lot to me that I’m watching a singer that is singing about women.’”
You can follow Kitty on Instagram at @kittyperrinmusic and follow her journey as she progresses with her music career. You can also catch her on BBC 6 Music on ‘Kitty Perrin sits in’.