The Short Version:
Kat Downs is a Musician, Artist, Teacher, Composer and Performer originally from Green Bay, WI. She began studying music in the 2nd grade continuing on through high school and college earning a BA Degree in Music from St. Norbert College in DePere, WI. Now based out of San Francisco, CA, Kat’s current projects include the powerhouse “Classical Rock” duo, Sit Kitty Sit, and the goth rock band, Saints of Ruin. She is the staff composer for Wily West Productions, the Music Consultant for Blue Scorpion Dance Theatre and has an exclusive studio of piano and flute students. Best known for her intense piano playing style and exceptional lyrical compositions, Kat tours nationally and has shared the stage with such names as LP, The Memorials, Chris Wyse, En Esch, Mona Mur, Erica Dilanjian, Shannon Curfman, Lennon, Javier Mosley and WASP.
The Long Version:
Kat Downs: Musician, Artist, Teacher, Composer, and Performer. Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Kat began studying music in the 2nd grade. She began with the piano, and then mastered the flute. In 1998 she graduated from Saint Norbert College with a BA in Music, her focus being in teaching methods, flute studies, conducting and music theory. During this time Kat performed in wind ensembles, symphonies, pit orchestras, flute choirs, and woodwind choirs. Kat toured through Florida with her college Flute Choir, and through Australia with her college wind ensemble.
After graduation she taught private flute and piano lessons for more than 50 students, and served as an assistant band instructor for a private school. She was also the Assistant Music Director for the First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the section leader for the Green Bay Youth and Junior Youth Symphony Orchestras. In her spare time she did some transposition and composition work. This is when Kat started writing her own non-classical music. “I was influenced by an eclectic mix- Billy Joel to Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel, Ben Folds, Beck, Radiohead to Nick Cave to Leonard Cohen. Initially, the songs I wrote fit into the “folk” genre. They have since evolved into rock, hard rock and now what I call ‘Classical Rock’ ”. Kat moved to California in 2001 and joined a cover band, Good Natured Mortals, to learn more about performing in rock bands. “Good Natured Mortals was a great project for me… as I was never trained on how to sing, I had finally found a group of people I was comfortable enough with to really let loose and explore my voice and discover how it works.”
During that same time Kat also performed her own solo music at coffee houses all over the Bay Area. “I topped off one year at 46 performances in coffee houses alone. Being that I was from a classical background I actually used to perform with a music stand in front of me with all my music/lyrics written out. Not very rock and roll.” Always up for anything, In 2004 Kat joined Sparrows Point, a theatrical heavy metal band. They opened for WASP at the House of Blues on Sunset in L.A. Kat was soon introduced by a fellow singer/songwriter to Bill Bentley, a musician and recording engineer, and started work on recording a full length album. Head of Revelations came out in 2005 and is available on CD Baby and iTunes and just about everywhere else on the web.
Kat helped to co-found the Contra Costa Songwriters project and was in included in their compilation CD “The Secret”. In 2005 she and her band (Kat Downs and the Eclectics) opened for Lennon and Shannon Curfman at the Pound SF.
Since 2003 Kat has participated in the Tune Smith Series, and been included in recordings for True Margrit, Mark Steurvant, and Lindasusan Ulrich. She sat in with Vicious Fish, and True Margrit on television. In 2006 her own band, Kat Downs and the Eclectics, was featured on the local television show “San Francisco Sound” in 2006.
In 2008 Kat was asked by Wily West Productions to compose an all original score for the world premier of a new play, and has since written the scores for three Wily West Productions. She remains on staff as the Wily West Composer.
In 2010 Kat joined Saints of Ruin, a Goth Rock band based out of San Francisco, California. The group was signed to the Echozone label, toured with Slick Idiot, and performed at the Anne Rice Vampire Ball in New Orleans, LA all in the same year.
Also in 2010, Kat and fellow music-nerd and drummer Mike Thompson teamed up to create Sit Kitty Sit, a piano and drums rock duo described as “Bonham meets Beethoven”. The group has been taking San Francisco by storm for the last year, wowing audiences all over the Bay Area.
Kat continues to compose, perform and teach in San Francisco. In 2011, she decided that she wanted to add piano tuning and restoration to her resume, and began her studies as well as writing new songs for her solo album, and Sit Kitty Sit‘s next EP.
“I would say my music is more inspired by stories. The little ins and outs of life- the rise and fall of the day. I like listening to the natural rhythms in life- the patterns of sentences, the way the pitch of a person’s voice varies during a conversation. Sometimes just listening to the din of a busy street I’ll suddenly hear a song in all of it. Music to me feels like a person I live my life with. I write music because I can’t help it. I hear everything in my head from symphonies to country music, and I try to write down as much of it as I can.”