Kat McDowell

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Born in Tokyo and raised in New Zealand, Kat has always loved music. While drawing inspiration from artists like Foo Fighters, No Doubt and Jason Mraz, Kat's sound is definitely her own. She mixes acoustic guitar-led melodies with emotionally transparent lyrics, delivered in a blend of Japanese and English.

After university Kat returned to Japan, where initial attempts at going professional were met with frustration—her mixed heritage made it difficult for the conservative music industry to market her. However, she finally got a break and was able to sign on with Avex. Her 3 year partnership with them yielded several mini-albums, her first full album, and a limited vinyl edition of Nagoriyuki, which went to #1 on Japan’s Vinyl Charts and sold out in two days.

Outside of the studio, Kat has been recognized for her performances in high-profile TV ads. Additionally, she has also performed over 1000 live shows, both throughout Japan and internationally. Some touring highlights included Raul Midon’s Japan tour in 2006 and 2008, and playing at the Summer Sonic Festival in 2006 and 2007. Kat also played at Australia’s One Movement Festival in 2009, and opened for Switchfoot in Japan in 2010.

After the release of her first album, she left the label to pursue a more international career in music and created her own label “Silvertree”.

Her first step towards going international was a 40-day musical journey that took her around the world. One particularly moving experience occurred in Nicaragua, where she got to play for children who live and work in a garbage dump. Reflecting on her experiences she said, “I met so many incredible people in my travels. I became friends with those who are very wealthy and those who live in extreme poverty. But, one thing everyone has in common is a need to love and be loved.” Her subsequent album, You and me, explored some of the facets of those relationships.

In 2011, both New Zealand and Japan were profoundly changed by large-scale natural disasters. In the aftermath of 3/11, Kat regularly traveled to Northern Japan to play for the people of Tohoku. Then, after visiting Christchurch at the start of 2012, she felt she ought to capture some of the stories she’d been privileged to hear in her two home countries. Her newest mini-album, Hope in you, presents songs of empathy, encouragement, and redemption—and a couple just for fun.

2013 was an exciting year for Kat. Travelling is in her blood and she is once again on the search for stories and new friends on her 2013 Summer Tour “Crossroads” around Japan and her first US Tour in the fall of 2014. It was year of transitioning from almost a decade of living in Tokyo to crossing the ocean and starting a new life in Los Angeles.

2014 will see the release of her third full album "Rise Above" recorded in New Zealand and LA, which is inspired by challenges we face in life and the over coming of it.

"I have seen and heard many inspiring stories and have a few of my own about over coming challenges and know from personal experience that fear is my greatest enemy. Our yesterday doesn't have to define our today or tomorrow. We can make choices every day to beleive, or to give up. I choose to believe!" [+]
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Created: March 7, 2016, 9:33 p.m.
Last Modified: June 8, 2016, 1:26 a.m.