ALBUM: On A Mission (Rinse and Columbia Records), Katy B’s debut LP.
RELEASE DATE: September 13 in the U.S. (though it’s been available in the UK since April).
ALBUM PRODUCERS: Katy B worked with dubstep trio Magnetic Man on two tracks — “Perfect Stranger” and “Easy Please Me” — and with Magnetic Man’s Benga on the single “Katy On A Mission.”
She also collaborated with drum-and-bass/breakstep DJ Zinc for “Movement” and “Witches’ Brew,” while all other tracks were produced by Geeneus (who linked up with Zinc to co-produce “Hard To Get” and “Broken Record”).
About her first single, Katy B told us: “I got an instrumental from Benga and thought it had so much energy. It made me feel like I was in the middle of the dance floor, so that’s what I wrote about. I wanted to tell the story of the different encounters and emotions I feel whilst being at a dubstep rave.”
We say? Mission: accomplished. “Katy On A Mission” is a rousing dubstep number that makes us wish we were clubbing with Katy in her homeland.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE LP: An eclectic album that dabbles in a number of sounds — dubstep, R&B, house, UK garage, and more — without pigeonholing Katy B in any one genre. About On A Mission’s surprises, the recent Live Lounge performer said: “It’s not all dubstep. My first single is a dubstep track and because of my work with Magnetic Man, people seemed to expect that it would be all in that direction. I started off singing on garage, house, and grime records, so it’s got a mixture of those different influences from the whole scene of the British underground clubbing.”
Indeed, at times, Katy B delivers Lily Allen-style sass (such as on “Easy Please Me”), while other singles may remind more of Natalia Kills’ dark streak (“Witches’ Brew”) or the elegantly-crafted, club-ready tunes of someone like Robyn. The through-line? An aura of somewhat gritty authenticity Katy B brings to every recording. We can believe that she’s someone who belongs in this UK underground scene, rather than a pop star strategically planted there by a record label.
TOUR PLANS: Katy B recently hit the road with fellow Brit Tinie Tempah, and will kick off her On A Mission Tour in October throughout the UK (no word yet on a U.S. leg of this tour). Luckily, stateside fans can catch Katy B at Webster Hall in New York on September 13 (On A Mission‘s release date).
OUR THOUGHTS: Our attention has been divided between plenty of talented ladies coming out of the UK recently — other Brit breakouts of late include Adele, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Neon Hitch, Natalia Kills, and plenty more. But On A Mission has already spawned three Top 10 singles in the UK and got Katy B nominated for the Mercury Prize for Album Of The Year (alongside Adele and Tinie Tempah, amongst others). It may be difficult for someone whose sound skews toward UK underground and dubstep to make much of a dent in the U.S. market, but for those looking for an edgier alternative to the pure-pop confections of the likes of Jessie J, Katy B could very well stand out from her fellow countrywomen and carve out a niche all her own.