Next Generation Spotlight: Kaity Rae

Audio Media International, in association with Genelec, presents our latest Next Generation Spotlight. Today, we catch up with songwriter and producer Kaity Rae to find out about her incredible career to date, the challenges facing newcomers to the industry and her ambitions for the future…

What is your name and what do you do?
I’m Kaity Rae, and I’m a writer/producer from London.

What inspired you to get into studio work?
I think I’m a bit of an unusual case as I definitely fell into being a producer – I had absolutely no interest in it until I realised how valuable it was to be able to produce in songwriting sessions. Now, I’m definitely inspired by other women in music production, (Kamille, LYRE, MUNA) and some of my all time favourites (Taylor Swift, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Mayer) who definitely keep me aiming high.

Tell us about your route into the industry?
I started out as an artist but slowly moved into songwriting/toplining for other people after I left uni (The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance). I was doing so many sessions with anyone who was up for it, and started working with producers as well as artists. What a producer could do in just a writing day really amazed me, and seeing the potential and freedom in having those skills inspired me to get started. I already had basic knowledge of Logic Pro from uni, so I started making simple demos for artists at the end of sessions and after they left I would use their songs to experiment with different ideas. I carried on with this kind of in secret, but it eventually led to a session where a producer had dropped out, and the artist (BETSIE GØLD, who is now one of my closest collaborators) messaged asking if I could produce, and if so, if I could produce the session instead. I said ‘yes’ on a whim, it went well (thankfully!) and we’ve worked together on every song of hers since. I didn’t expect to become so obsessed, or even to end up calling myself a producer. I only started as a means to record better demos and found out I was actually pretty good at it later down the road!

Tell us about some of the key projects you’ve worked on over the past 12 months?
One of the projects I’ve been working on the most is definitely BETSIE GØLD’s music – it’s been super hard this year to write with the pandemic but we’ve still managed to make some songs I’m really proud of! I also had my first production credit be placed on New Music Friday with lleo’s song ‘You Don’t Call Me Anymore’, and my first Radio 1 play as a credited producer with ‘Shh’ by Tragic Sasha – they’re both also artists I work with frequently and have known for a while, so it feels really great to all be progressing together. I also had my first sync in a feature film How To Build A Girl with a theme song for the end credits that GIRLI, Lauren Deakin-Davis and I wrote together, and I then co-produced with Jamie Sellers.

What is your approach to work in the studio?
It really depends on the session as I do a lot of different things day to day – but production sessions normally start with a lot of pre-planning. We’ll talk about references, their sound, and either myself or the artist will put a basic structure/demo down from the voice note if it wasn’t a demo on a DAW already – I find that it really helps to come into the first day together with everything set up ready to go. I love to get artists involved with the creation of the track even if they don’t see themselves as a producer, as I think it really opens up a lot of discussions and also gets me trying things I wouldn’t have done instinctively. We’ll pick drum sounds we like and put them into a sampler to play around with, chop up their vocal and make some echoey pads or see what things around the room we can turn into percussion – basically just have fun with the process, as I always find we ‘accidentally’ stumble on something cool. Creating a relaxed environment where an artist can tell me what they like and don’t like by making the whole song a very collaborative effort is always my favourite way of doing things.

Who/what have been some of your biggest influences in your career to date?
As well as my influences I mentioned earlier, I also think a big influence on me has been my friends and the people I work with. I would never have been able to get good at production as quickly as I did without my friends constantly being there to offer their advice and critique. I was very lucky to already have people around me who really knew their stuff, especially one of my best friends, Lauren Deakin-Davies, who was a producer on my first EP as an artist when I was 16. Having a support networking of people who believe in you definitely drives you to keep going.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
I don’t need to state the facts as we all know how under-represented women are, but sometimes knowing that you’re going up against the odds and having to prove yourself over and over can really make you doubt if this is what you’re meant to be doing. I definitely struggle to believe in myself sometimes but I’m so grateful for the support network that I’ve found in other womxn in the industry, especially the 2% Rising group, which anyone out there should join on Facebook if they are also a womxn working in music tech.

What projects do you have coming up?
I’m focused on doing a lot of writing at the moment, but I’ve just moved out of my home studio part-time into a shared space at BSMNT, and I’m loving settling in and going there to work. I’m working with a few artists on songs for their EPs due to come out in the first quarter of next year which is really exciting, and also just recorded a couple of Christmas songs for the upcoming season which has been so much fun. I’m also currently planning some more content for my TikTok where I upload remixes and tutorials, so I’m busy all round and looking forward to 2021.