Building on an already impressive career – forged in an exceptionally short space of time when you consider what Kate Elsworh has achieved – the last 12 months have seen Kate play at some of the biggest parties in Ibiza, Miami and Dubai, and across Asia, Europe and South, North and Central America. Joining such dance music luminaries as Steve Aoki, Jamie Jones, Paul Van Dyk and Tiesto – the latter of which saw her perform in front of 15,000 people in Chile – Kate has established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the international scene.
Kate started writing her own songs when she was 15, strumming simple chords on the guitar and indulging her passion for heady jazz vocals after immersing herself in the dusty panoramas etched by the likes of Nina Simone and Erykah Badu. Despite no formal musical tuition, shaping melodies and intertwining them with her own lyrics came naturally to her, and it wasn’t long before Kate made her first step on the road to becoming a professional musician; in her own words, “there was nothing else I wanted to do.”
At 19 – like so many of her Antipodean peers – she moved from her native Australia to London, and began working and performing in the capital’s numerous jazz bars, building a reputation as a singer and all the while honing her songwriting craft. It was, however, a holiday to Ibiza that first formally introduced her to house music and kick-started her career in music proper.
This single-mindedness and devotion to her cause is a characteristic that has stood Kate in such good stead and was the catalyst for her first big break. Demos of her first records found their way into the lap of fellow Australian producer Dirty South, and ‘Alive’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ were born. Both records went on to become huge, international club hits, propelling Kate into the spotlight. In 2014, Kate had another successful hit with Thomas Gold called ‘Colourblind’ which reached number 2 on Beatport. However the success for 2014 doesn’t stop there. Kate’s versatility was proven through her track ‘Stand Still’ which made one of the biggest chill out compilations released in 2014 called ‘Cafe Mambo 20 Years of ibiza Chillout’ reaching number 4 on the itunes chart.
Despite the runaway success of her debut records, Kate remained level-headed and immediately started to focus on the next stage of her career. “I really wanted to be in control of my own music, so rather than just trying to get other people to play my records I was determined to learn to DJ so I could promote myself.” DJing, as with songwriting, came naturally to her, and despite being told by friends that it would probably take a few years before she would be skilled enough to perform in public, her next break came much quicker than anyone had anticipated. “Within 6 months I had my first gig at Pacha, New York… it was insane! I had been totally fine with the fact that it would probably take a while, but it just all happened so quickly.” Gigs in some of the world’s most prestigious clubbing establishments soon followed, including a return to Ibiza and performances at Blue Marlin and the legendary Amnesia.
Although a lifelong passion for some, 2014 may be looked back on as the year that the entire world woke up to dance music. Does it seem that way to Kate? “Yes definitely! The mainstream dance music aka EDM definitely peaked in the US and beyond and I’m interested to see where it will go now. When I played over the last year or so I felt that some territories were still yet to catch on to some of the newer styles of dance music. It was important to do your research before you played anywhere. You had to be prepared for anything!”
And prepared she most certainly is. Far from being a one-trick-pony, Kate can effortlessly shift between myriad styles of music, adapting her sets to suit the circumstance, whether that be the glamorous surroundings of Singapore fashion week, a small, dark basement and a few hundred hardened clubbers, or a huge outdoor stage and thousands of sun-drenched revellers.
Kate’s rise has undoubtedly been meteoric and the success of her records with the likes of Dirty South and Thomas Gold have rightly afforded her the opportunity to make her name with her ‘mainroom’ sound, however her musical passions range far and wide, both within house music and into other genres. She frequently explores the deeper side of house music in her mixes, and is currently working on her debut album which will showcase her undeniable songwriting talent across a broad spectrum of electronic textures.
Aside from a heavy gig schedule, Kate has also spent a lot of productive time in studio, working on her next batch of releases. “In 2014 I was lucky to work with some of my favourite producers” she admits “experimenting with different styles which you will be hearing in 2015. I think dance music is taking some interesting turns at the moment and I’m excited to be a part of the evolution.”
Kate Elsworth is an artist who has already brought joy to thousands throughout her insatiable enthusiasm and undeniable musical gift, but it seems as if this is only the start of a long, glittering career. As she herself says, “make the people happy”; it’s a sentiment that’s worked wonders for her this far and will surely continue to do so.