One to watch: Kate Davis

·1-min read

It was, of all things, a viral 2014 YouTube cover of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass that launched Oregon native Kate Davis on her current career trajectory. It brought her attention, but some of the sexist online reaction to the Postmodern Jukebox video disturbed the conservatory-trained jazz prodigy deeply. “I was really overwhelmed by the attention, and, honestly, a lot of it was very inappropriate and really upsetting as a woman. So I hid,” she told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

After five years away from the spotlight, Davis marked her return with a co-writing credit on Sharon Van Etten’s sublime single Seventeen. With its blend of warmly indelible melody and indie-rock dynamics, it makes a good reference point for Davis’s newly released album, Fish Bowl; People Are Doing and Consequences, in particular, occupy similar ground. Compared with Davis’s 2019 album Trophy, the songwriting is sharper, the tunes far catchier.

The intensely personal lyrics, meanwhile, detail her fears and doubts as she changed career path. Davis explains that the standout Monster Mash , for example, is about “when you transition into a different phase of life, and how it’s easy to feel like a monster, to feel like you’re harmful to people, or that people are fearful of you”. As this has resulted in one of the best albums so far of 2023, it would seem worth it.