Katharine Hedlund: Soul, Standards and Rhythm in a Live Recording Session

When I moved to Memphis, I was a total jazz nerd. I hate to admit it, but I totally was. And I started playing at the Zebra Lounge at Overton Square. I thought, 'This'll be fun.' I had never played in a piano bar. Though I had played and sung before, I never played all the pop and soul and everything under the sun. That turned out to be the most amazing gig ever. I actually got really into it. My singing got better, and I started learning all these soul and pop songs and doing fun arrangements, and talking to the audience. It just ended up being this amazing community and an amazing musical experience. That was awesome. So a lot of what I'm playing on Saturday are these songs that I'd been playing for years at the Zebra Lounge. I had these arrangements in my mind and just had to write them out for the rest of the band.

So, coming from playing jazz in college, I saw it as coming back to my original love, which was singing these songs. I love the performance of it. So I'm taking all that musical knowledge and all that nerdy stuff you learn in college, but making it more accessible and fun and a real performance — combining all that together. That's really my home: playing jazz and standards, making them musically interesting for everyone to play, but the audience doesn't feel alienated, 'cos it's fun, and I'm talking to people. That's the energy I'm going for.