Nashville, Tennessee has always been a place that produces such heart-filled music, specifically country music. Kate Magdalena is a complete embodiment of these feelings and has projected them into her music in a truly fascinating way. Her latest song “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” starts off with a mystical synth that sets the tone of angelic sounds, then is met with beautiful piano and steel guitar. When her vocals come in, you fully emerge in the world created by her beautiful music. The song feels like it speaks to bringing yourself closer to God/ your higher power and provokes feelings of love with the birth of Christ. The 3/4 ballad changes up in the chorus, but still keeps the overall tone and vibe of the song. It’s hard to not get emotional with her smooth vocal performance and her annunciation, coupled with her choice in lyrics. Clocking in at 4 minutes, you feel lighter when the song is done and closer to all of the things that brought you, love.
Kate is backed up by amazing people, such as producer Billy Smiley. (Johnny Cash, Clay Aiken) and her band that consists of players who also perform with Kacey Musgraves, Sheryl Crowe, and several other names. Make sure you give her music a spin today!
Listen to “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” here.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us here at Buzz Music! What was your inspiration to write “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”?
I didn't write the song of course, but my arrangement of "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” is unusual in that there is pedal steel which gives a lustrous quality to the instrumentation. I love this Christmas Carol, how it focuses on the angels being so close to us, especially on one clear night. I will probably make a full EP of several carols to release for next Christmas.
What sort of influence does your new producer, Billy Smiley have on your vocal performances?
Billy Smiley, my producer, has a terrific impact on my music. I had never worked with a producer before, as I produced my first album with a local recording engineer. Working with Billy is night and day from what I experienced before. Billy is able to bring together some of the world’s finest musicians to build a track that it is just heavenly to sing with. In addition, Billy is able to get the best from me. It’s his gift. The influence of the producer is tremendous because, in a good artist-producer relationship, the producer draws forth from the artist vocal qualities the artist might not reach on her own. This has been my happy experience working with Billy Smiley.
How did you come across your back up band members?
Playing on this track are Blair Masters on keys (Blair plays for Garth Brooks); Jonathan Crone on electric guitar, a master player; Byron House on bass (Byron played with David Plant); Jared Kneale on drums (Jared plays with Kacey Musgraves) and Bruce Boudin on pedal steel guitar. While these musicians lead active touring lives, they also play as studio musicians for Mr. Smiley. So lucky to have them, plus they are the swellest guys.
Do you find being in Nashville has helped your career?
As far as Nashville, I don’t live there yet! Though I’d like to have a place there, I’m in Northern California, about an hour north of San Francisco, in a little town called Sebastopol, where my husband Randall and I raised our two children, now grown. I will continue to record in Nashville, but as far as actually living there, that might be in the future. I feel California is becoming a less safe place to be, especially with the fires in our area. I love Nashville. Being there would bring more opportunities certainly; it’s the music capitol of the world!
What’s next for you, Kate?
I’ve begun to work with a manager in the Los Angeles area, and we are working to build really nice performance opportunities. I’m heading to Utah tomorrow to sing and play the harp at the Zurmaat Resort in Midway at their Swiss Christmas event. And I’ll be returning there again in January to play at the Multi-Cultural Film Festival there from January 24-February 2, 2020. This November I’ve just released a full album produced with Billy Smiley, called “A Larger Dance.” Please find it on Spotify or here: https://smarturl.it/LargerDance . And I have another album on the way in 2020! It’s exciting, and also a labor of love! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with your readers about my music which is about healing from and understanding some of the unique challenges of our times. My music is strongly influenced by the songwriters of my own generation, the 1960s, however, the sound is contemporary and modern. I call it “Timely Americana.”