Katy Tiz Talks Her Debut Album, Breaking Into The American Market & Twerking: Idolator Interview

Bianca Gracie | March 10, 2015 9:30 am
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We’ve been following Katy Tiz ever since her 2014 cover of Rock Mafia‘s “The Big Bang.” Now after shifting gears on record labels, the popstress is ready to officially enter the American market! She dropped her first single, “Whistle (While You Work It),” last month and now she is prepping her debut album — which is set to come out towards the end of this year.

The British pop singer-songwriter sat down with us for a chat where she discussed her forthcoming project, advice for new artists and even twerking! Check out the interview, as well as our premiere of Dave Aude’s remix to “Whistle (While You Work It),” below!

So who were your inspirations growing up?
KATY TIZ: I’d say Alicia Keys, India Arie, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder…it was more on the soul side. They could be singing a different language and I’d still really believe them as vocalists. I remember buying Keys’ first album and being like, “WOW!” And then I got my hair braided and thought I was exactly like her!

I’d like to see a picture of that!
KT: [Laughs] They’re probably all burnt!

So I feel like there are so many artists, especially females, who are trying to find their own place in the industry. Do you feel any pressure to get your name out there?
KT: I actually don’t. There’s never just going to be one person, and I believe there is a space for everyone as long as you’re doing your own thing and being who you’re meant to be. I certainly feel like I’m so happy, finally! I’ve spent almost my whole life trying to be someone else. Even as a kid, you’re always wanting to be like the popular person. Now I feel way more confident and I actually support other artists, even people who are on the same level as me. I don’t feel a competition. If they start doing well, then I love seeing it. It’s like, if you can do it then so can I! It’s really great for me as an developing artist to see other newcomers break through the box.

Are there any up-and-coming artists now that you’re a fan of?
KT: I wouldn’t say up-and-coming, but Meghan Trainor is amazing. Who she is in the press is exactly who she is as a person. Her voice is amazing, and she stands for what she genuinely believes in. I’m a huge fan.

I’ve been looking at your journey from leaving Republic to getting signed by Atlantic. What would be your advice for people who may be struggling to get into this business?
KT: Just keep your head down and keep going. Don’t get consumed by everything else that comes with the music business, and remember why you want to do it. I sing, write and perform because I love it, and sometimes if I get caught up in the other stuff I get bogged down. And I keep listening to music — not just my own, but other people’s as well. When it’s been a rough day, why not go back to the basics of why you wanted to do this in the first place? It gives you the inspiration again.

I know you’re working on your debut album right now. Do you have a certain sound that you’re going for?
KT: It’s now done, which is terrifying and amazing! It’s a real and true piece of me, I’ve co-written every song apart from “The Big Bang.” It’s sort of reggae-inspired as far as the feeling goes. It’s a real piece of honesty for the first time in my life. It’s how I genuinely feel about things, and things that myself and my friends have experienced. Nothing was pushed on me, my label was amazing with joining me on this journey. That’s really inspiring for me, because it makes me believe in my own voice. I’ve worked with my brother on a lot of this music, and it’s something that I’m really proud of.

Besides your brother, who else did you work with for the album?
KT: This song, “Whistle,” was written with some really good friends of mine — Kinetics. Also Emily Warren and J.R. Rotem. My best music comes from not being nervous, and they worked so well with me and there were no egos. Something about this album is that it is very consistent, it’s not just different songs from different producers.

Are there any artists that you’d love to collaborate with?
KT: I’d love to do a song with Justin Timberlake. In fact, I’d like to do a lot of things with Justin Timberlake [laughs]!

So getting back to “Whistle” now. It’s a great song, but when you really listen to it there is a motivating message. What was the inspiration behind it?
KT: It was a really rough period in my life and so far the most testing part. My brother called me and was like, “Get up, chin up and remember why you do this.” My thing is, whatever happens to you in life, no one can take your dignity and your class away from you. That’s up to you whether you lose them or not. That for me is what “Whistle” is about.

It’s funny because when I first heard the song, I instantly thought of Ying Yang Twins’ “Whistle While You Twerk.” I wanted to know your thoughts on the current booty trend!
KT: I just wish I could do it, let’s be honest! I think it’s awesome. Anything that catches on that people have fun with, I love it.

You have a girl power aura about you, so if you could be a part of a girl group from any decade — which would you choose?
KT: I love TLC and Destiny’s Child, but I am English so it’s got to be the Spice Girls! I was always Scary Spice, and I still am when my friends and I have had too many drinks and we all reenact them.

Speaking of the UK, was it an easier transition to come to America since there are so many British artists making waves now?
KT: I think leaving your country is never going to be easy. Sometimes I do feel miles away from home. But I admire the work ethic that goes into the music industry in America. When I came over, it was a huge shock to me because the dedication you have to put in I think a lot of British people don’t necessarily know. That’s why I moved here. I do feel like Harry Potter when I open my mouth, but I really enjoy living here. My goal in life is to break in America, so I’m not leaving until it’s happened.

Interested in more Katy Tiz? Check out the Dave Aude remix to “Whistle,” which we’re premiering today (March 10), below!

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.