Artists Worked With: Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Midland, Cage The Elephant, Margo Price
FEMMUSIC : How did you become involved in music?
KW: My mom was a ballet dancer and my dad a painter who decided to start me with Suzuki violin lessons at the age of 3 1/2 because they thought it would be cute and both loved music. I took both classical lessons and fiddle lessons growing up and performed in different youth orchestras. Attending Mark O’Connor fiddle camps in Tennessee during my summers as a kid really opened my mind to all the different genres available to a fiddler. Eventually this curiosity led me to Berklee College of Music where I studied jazz and bluegrass and classical and ended up in an indie rock band for 6 years. The band moved to Nashville, broke up and thus began my career as a side musician picking up any gigs I could get. Fast forward to sharing the stage with Eminem and Lorde and Dolly Parton.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?
KW: Often the inspiration hits while I’m getting distracted from practicing. I’ll play a pattern or a chord progression that catches my ear and I’ll run off on a tangent. Lately I’m experimenting with fitting a song within the context of a string ensemble.
FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?
KW: The greatest part of tour (or my life 🙂 is when I’m on stage. Even when I’ve been sick and run down on tour I look forward to the time on stage because it’s when I feel my most energetic and fulfilled. Everything else about touring… is not terribly glamorous. The schedules are often exhausting: early lobby calls, not sleeping great on a bus, little control over your meals and your schedule. I always tell people that touring is the greatest and the worst thing. You’re homesick and exhausted half the time, and the other half of the time you’re having the most amazing new experiences and eating fabulous food and rocking faces and creating unbreakable bonds with the members of the band/crew.
FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?
KW: Most of my work these days is studio work. Often I’m playing in small string ensembles or fiddling or adding harmony vocals or creating string arrangements. I started veering towards studio work a few years ago when I was getting burned out on traveling and am blessed that I can make a living doing it.
FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?
KW: There is no separating. I love it all so I say yes to everything that sounds fun and make it work. This means there are days of running from a recording session to a rehearsal to a soundcheck.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?
KW: As I see it, the challenges are not what I face but the opportunities that never come my way. It is an unwritten law in the world of pop country touring that you do not have women in your band or crew and I’m sure this applies to other genres. Particularly male artists and bands. Women create problems back home. It’s archaic and disgusting and thankfully I have had the privilege of working for some open minded artists. And that’s exactly what it is to me: my work. Inclusivity means going out of your way, going against your old patterns, to show diversity on your stage. Many artists (of all genders) have a way to go in this regard. I see so many talented female artists and musicians getting overlooked for no reason except a pattern the industry can’t seem to break.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
KW: Play more women on the radio. More inclusivity across the board: at festivals, on bills, in your music videos. Pay the band more. Any band. Anywhere. Did I say play more women on the radio?