Local Noise: Kat McGivern

“I really miss the diners in New Jersey; there are no good diners in Boston,” laughs Kat McGivern about her return to Boston after spending much of her college years in the Garden State. Kat still considers New Jersey her second home, but has for the most part returned to her where she grew up as she continues her musical journey.

It’s a journey that almost ended prematurely. Kat actually considered quitting after some false starts in the world of the music business. “Before I started recording My Kamikaze Heart at Bopnique Musique with Anthony Resta, I had been searching for a producer with little success,” she recalls. “I had been writing for two years and was ready to give up. I went on to reverbnation.com to delete my account and quit playing. When I opened my emails, I discovered Anthony had been writing me for a year and a half under the name Ajax Ray O’Vac. I had never even opened his email! We got in touch and I quickly un-quit music. So now I check every message every day and I credit Anthony Resta for keeping me in the music business.”

You can often find Kat performing with her band in local venues such as the Stanhope House, the Mercury Lounge, Mo Pitkin’s, and Angels And Kings. Her band is somewhat of a family affair, with her brother Mike playing guitar. She has had many band members come and go, but lately has been touring with Mike’s band, The Sign Off. In fact, her whole family was musical when she was growing up, and she started out by learning Gaelic ballads and classical pieces before being bitten by the rock music bug.

While she would definitely fall under the singer-songwriter genre, there’s a little more to Kat’s music than the typical “girl with guitar” model. She describes it as one part story, one part party, one part heartbreak, and one part attitude, which seems like an appropriate description. She has also been described in print as the unusual combination of “a bohemian Judy Jetson with a bad attitude,” which she explains by noting, “Someone asked me to explain my style. I have a Judy Jetson hair cut, and love anything mod, hippie, or ‘80s rock, so Bohemian Judy Jetson fits.”

Kat is a combination of accomplished vocalist and singer-songwriter sensibilities, which can be explained by early influences. “Growing up I wanted to be Cyndi Lauper,” she relates. “I loved her unique vocal. As a songwriter, Bob Dylan has been one of my biggest influences. I love the way he finds the perfect voice for that moment in time. He really was the voice of a generation. As a business person, Ani DiFranco has been a huge influence. She made her music on her terms in a business where that is extremely hard to do, I really admire that.”

Like most artists, it’s hard for her to pick one song that she feels epitomizes what she does, or that stands out from the rest. And although fans seem to react to many different songs, a personal favorite is “Dance With The Devil.” Like much of her work, it started with the devious sounding phrase that became the title. “I usually start with the title of the song and work backwards from there,” Kat explains. “But every song is different. Lately my songs start with a catch phrase.”

My Kamikaze Heart has been met with considerable success, as the brass tinged title-track reached the top 10 on the industry publication Friday Morning Quarterback’s Adult Contemporary top 40 chart. Additionally, Music Connection Magazine named her one of the “Hot 100 Unsigned Artists” of 2011, which led to her being the opening act on the Ingram U.S. tour earlier this year.

Kat’s goals basically remain unchanged from her early days but they’ve become a little more artist oriented. “When I was 10 years old I decided I wanted a Grammy someday; that hasn’t changed too much,” she muses. “But really, I am just happy to be able to share my songs with people.”

You can find out more about Kat and when she will be coming through the area at katmcgivern.com, facebook.com/katmcgivernmusic, and reverbnation.com/katmcgivern.