WE “LOVE, K” – A CONVERSATION WITH KATHERINE LI

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Katherine Li Releases EP “love, k” & Music Video for “Fell First, Fell Hard”

Emerging indie-pop artist Katherine Li is gearing up for the launch of her second EP, titled “love, k,” scheduled for release on February 14. Crafted exclusively by Li and produced in collaboration with her longtime creative partner, Joe Avio, you can stream here.

Li shares insights into the thematic elements of ‘love, k,’ exploring subjects such as unreciprocated affection, longing, insecurities, and contemplation. The lyrics encapsulate sentiments often left unspoken, addressing those who grapple with unfulfilled romantic aspirations and the complexities of relationships that seem to remain elusive.

The EP’s standout track, “Fell First, Fell Hard,” delves into the various stages of developing a crush, from discreet online investigation to the nervousness of being alone with the subject of interest. Li elaborates on the excitement and uncertainties of connecting with someone new. Accompanying the track is an official music video directed by Qran “Q” Zhu. You can watch the video here.

Katherine just announced her first headline tour, buy tickets here.

Interview with Katherine Li:

LADYGUNN: First of all, I just wanted to say congratulations and also thank you. I’m sure these last two weeks have been kind of a whirlwind in the best way possible for you. You just announced your first ever headline tour, and you also sold out two of those shows instantly, which is literally insane. And then you also just released your second EP “Love, K” yesterday. So I know it’s a busy time for you and we’re super grateful that you can take a second to chat with us. 

Katherine: Thanks for having me. It is a pleasure.  

LADYGUNN: I kind of wanted to first talk about your EP because I just have so many things I want to ask you. The first thing I think that I want to ask you is, could you tell me a little bit about the order of the tracks on the EP and how you went about organizing them? I’m assuming that this was intentional but when I first listened to the EP all the way through I genuinely felt like it was a continuous like story, if that makes sense.

Katherine: Yeah, you, you pretty much got it. Exactly. I guess with the track order, what I was going for is since the theme of the EP is like love letters and just like things that you want to say to the person you like, I kind of tried to reflect that in the track list, which is – so it starts with fell first, fell hard, which is like the initial like, oh, like, oh my gosh, like it’s, it’s beginning the, the crush has developed. And then from there, it’s kind of just like your inner thoughts, um, while all this is going on. And at the very end, the EP, um, it ends with more often than not, which is a song that’s very like, it’s, it’s, it’s a, I think it’s probably the saddest one on there. The message of that one is basically just saying, Oh my gosh, I keep trying all these things, but it just never works out in the end. And then I guess that’s just like the end of the crush phase. I don’t know where it goes after that. I guess we’ll see in the future, but, yeah, the track list is definitely just a story of my thoughts that happen in real life. 

LADYGUNN:  Yeah, I definitely felt that and I’m actually so excited to see where maybe what happens next. Having those themes that you mentioned of insecurities and overthinking, I’m curious, how have these experiences changed your perspective on love and what it means to be loved?  

Katherine: Yeah, oh my gosh, that is a deep question. We’re getting a little sentimental here. Well, I guess, in all of my songs that I’ve released so far, I feel like there’s an ongoing theme that’s very, um, unreciprocated love. Uh, and I guess  I guess a result from all these experiences is just, I don’t know, it kind of feels like a never ending loop of the unreciprocated love, the hopeless romantics,  and the perspective I have on love now is, is very wishy washy, I’m not gonna lie.It’s kind of like, is it there? Is it real? Is it not? Am I making things up now? I’ve yet to write a song that’s really, actually a proper love song. Which will be interesting to write about in the upcoming future, I hope.

LADYGUNN:  I know that kind of like the focus track of this EP is Fell First, Fell Hard. I kind of know the story behind it, but I just want to get the full story and like, what does this track really mean to you? 

Katherine: Oh my gosh. When I was writing this song, I had a specific scenario and vision in mind. It’s basically the equivalent of something similar to something like a hallway crush or a crush that you randomly see on the street, and when you see them, you know nothing about them. You might not even know their name. You might have just seen them for like five seconds and immediately you’re like, okay, I think I’m in love, that kind of stuff. So while I was writing the song, I just had this vivid, like, memory of imagining someone just walking through the door as I’m like writing and doing all the doodles and stuff, but it’s it’s very much a song that you’re so immersed in your own head and just coming up with all these different scenarios and thinning about the “what ifs” of everything that comes with liking someone new, I guess.

LADYGUNN: Yeah, I definitely, airport crush vibes for sure.

Katherine: Oh yes, definitely.  

LADYGUNN: Definitely. I honestly don’t think I have a favorite because I genuinely love every single song on the EP.  A track that I did want to ask you about is “could I convince you?”  I first heard this song on TikTok when you teased it and I instantly just loved it so much. Based on the lyrics, like, I kind of know what it’s about, but, like, I just want to know the details. Are all of the songs that you write based off of things that actually happen? Or are some of them, you’re just like, whoa, like, that’s a cool idea or concept for a song? 

Katherine: So “could I convince you?”, um, this is very much a song that I have experienced many times in my own life.  So basically, it’s about someone that you can’t really get over. And it’s been like, maybe a few weeks, a few months, maybe years. Um, but it’s, it’s basically just knowing in the back of your head, like it won’t work out or something like they’ll never see you that way, but you just won’t, like there’s something inside of you that’s like, I just want it to happen like so bad. Um, and it’s a song that’s very based on just the, the pining of it all just. Just saying like, I think the lyrics just, could I convince you, are just so strong. Um, just like a, please, like, can’t you see it my way, the way that I’m seeing it? Um, But yeah, I guess the story of this is that I’m very much a crush girl.I crush a lot. Most of the time the crushes don’t go away for a while. So this, this song really does speak to me.  

LADYGUNN: Yeah, super fair. Um, no, and that’s definitely something that comes across to me. It’s like even just the wording of the title, like, could I convince you, um, I don’t know. The wording is just really, really interesting to me because it’s like, oh, like, this is how I see it. Like, could I please convince you, you know? I love that. I genuinely love that. I want to transition a little bit to the content that you post on TikTok. When you tease these songs, it feels very much like I’m on a FaceTime call with you. Like we’re best friends. And you’re like, Hey, like, I have this experience and guess what, like I wrote a song about it and let me tell you about it. I love that just because it makes me and I’m sure like all of the rest of your fan base just feel super connected to you. I’m honestly super curious, obviously with your tour coming up, what type of tour content are we gonna get? Are we gonna get more of those FaceTime vibe videos, hopefully lots of photos, of you killing it on the stage. Um, but do you have, like, any plans for, like, tour content? 

Katherine: Tour content? Oh my gosh.  I think this time around, because this is my first little headline tour, I think I’m really gonna dive deep into the tour content. I really want to make vlogs. Just like, I don’t know, I want to give a little insight on the BTS of everything. I think that would be really fun. And also just, you know, the usual show video clips. Um, I think that would definitely be fun. You know, I actually just thought of this just now, wouldn’t it be crazy if there was a little series? in case I run into someone that I think is cute while on the tour.  Then it’s like, then it’s like in real life. 

LADYGUNN: I love that. You gotta make that happen now. 

Katherine: Yeah, well, we’ll see. We’ll see. 

LADYGUNN: Yeah, no, I definitely love short form vlogs too, just because it really does kind of bridge the gap and it just makes it more personal. But I think that all the content that you’re posting does that. I just love it. What are you most excited for on tour?  

Katherine: I think it’s definitely just seeing everyone. I feel like so far in my artist career, a lot of everything has just been online. So what I see from my side is just, you know, comments and likes, but, I do go live sometimes on my social media and like that way it’s like I get to talk to everyone in real time but I think on tour just seeing everyone’s faces and just like knowing, oh my gosh these are the people that I connect with and we all relate together is gonna be a really cool experience I’m sure, yeah.

LADYGUNN:  I feel like it’s always super surreal when you finally get that connection moment where it’s like, Whoa, this is real. It’s like you get to put an experience to everything that’s happening online.  I kind of talked about this a little bit earlier, but like, tell me what it was like to have tour shows be released and then literally instantly New York and LA sold out. What was going through your head?

Katherine: That was so crazy. Oh my gosh. I think I was just like in my bedroom while the tickets went on sale. And then, all of a sudden, I’m getting these messages like, Hey girl, are there any more tickets left? Or is it sold out? Just in my Instagram messages,and  I’m like, What? It’s been five minutes. Or something like that. They’re like, is pre sale out? It was so crazy. Honestly, I did not expect that at all. I guess I kind of mentioned this before but being predominantly online with my platform it’s hard to gauge interest in live shows and everything but seeing that on like the email threads, it was really really crazy 

LADYGUNN: So deserved. Genuinely so deserved. I didn’t go on Instagram right when you posted it, but then it said like 20 minutes ago and then like you check online and like everything’s already sold out. And I was like, there’s no way  I missed this. I didn’t even get to buy tickets. I’m really happy that you guys decided to add a second show. I’m stoked about that. You said that your platform is predominantly online, and I have to say I have been obsessed with – and we’ve already talked about how I’m obsessed with like your normal content – but also specifically like your visualizers to go along with this release, and the lyric reveals, how did you think of that? How did you execute it so well? 

Katherine: Oh my gosh, thank you. I guess for the visualizers that I put up, they are kind of real life moving versions of the cover art. Basically like how I do it, if I get my little brother, he’s like 15 and his name is Vincent. I’m like, Vincent, can you please help me film this? I have to almost beg him. He’s like, fine. So I drag him out of the house and he just helps me film it, which is amazing. I think he’s pretty much helped me film and take. the cover art picture for most of my songs. The visualizers I think are just super fun. I really like the loop element of it. It’s simple, but it also gets kind of like the whole theme of the song across. As for the lyric reveals, that was actually so fun to do. I don’t really know where it came from, but I thought it would be fun. I figured Let’s get, let’s get the people excited. And it was also really exciting for me just to put it out there and then seeing reactions. I see messages that are like, Oh, what does this mean? Or like, so real, so real.” It’s pretty thrilling. I’m not going to lie. 

LADYGUNN: Yeah it definitely builds excitement too, because it’s also like that. Kind of like a little concept of mystery in there, right? Because it’s like, oh my god, like these are the lyrics. How is she going to sing this? Like, what does this mean? I think that was insane for me and just like someone who’s looking at your social media and as a fan, I love it. Also on the topic of visualizers, I had the chance to watch your music video for “fell first, fell hard” which is out tomorrow (Friday Feb 16th). So it’ll be out by the time that this goes up. Everyone go watch it, everyone, can you tell me a little bit about the creative inspiration, and the creative forces that influence the video because I kind of thought of it as your different emotions, like we talked about and like the different sides to it, the love-y feelings and then the overthinking all of those different emotions. 

Katherine: Q, my friend directed it and she’s so talented. And while we’re on the brainstorm call for this, we were talking about how we can get the message across? How can we really immerse people into this world and what better way to immerse it than to put everyone in my brain. So basically I guess what’s going on in the music video is different versions of me throughout the song. Like it’s giving kind of like inside out. Do you know what I mean? Like we’re in Riley’s brain, but this time it’s Katherine’s brain. But it’s also the very sad version, the very in love version, little crazy version who goes off the rails and starts making mood boards and likes detective work in her little room. But it was, it was really fun.It was a really fun day on set. And I got to do a little bit of acting-ish, which was really, really fun. I’m really proud of it, and I’m really excited for people to see it. 

LADYGUNN: Yeah I think there are some of the coolest, insane visuals.One that I want to highlight is the part where you are kind of like helping point Cupid’s bow at yourself. I think that concept is so cool. I’m the type of person that thinks about all these little choices just because I also do visuals and music video stuff. And I think about these things and I just think that that concept is so cool. I just love it. And I’m really excited for people to see this too. I’m so excited that I got to see it early. I guess with the release of this EP on Valentine’s Day we have a little bit of a history of releasing songs on Valentine’s Day. I know your first song was also released on Valentine’s Day…Tell me about that.

Katherine: Oh my gosh, haha, my first song that I ever put out was called We Didn’t Even Date. And that came out on Valentine’s Day two years ago. The thought behind that release was that we just thought it would be Ironic if we release a song about not dating anyone on valentine’s day And ever since then it just really just matches The rest of my discography just the fact that hey, like we’re not dating anyone. What about all the people that don’t have anyone on valentine’s day? What are they gonna do? It is the same methodology that went into this release as well. I think it was really cool and there’s something to look forward to on Valentine’s Day for the singles out there. 

LADYGUNN: Obviously you are a lyrical genius, so I am interested to see who you’re listening to right now. Who do you draw inspiration from?

Katherine: I just started listening to Rihanna again. Her songs are definitely not the same themes as the songs that I write, but there’s just something so good about it. Her melodies are amazing. Taylor Swift is always up there. I’ve been listening to Taylor’s version of 1989 on repeat. I’m also in love with Tate Mcrae’s new album. Those songs are really, really, really good. And I guess also a writer that I always draw inspiration from is Julia Michaels. Her writing is just on another level. 

LADYGUNN: I’m sure you obviously have group writing sessions, but who do you want to write with? Who do you want to have a feature on one of your songs? 

Katherine: I think the pretty given ones are Taylor and Julia, for sure. Those are my dream ones. I’m also like the biggest fan of Shawn Mendes and I have been since I was a little teenage girl. That would be a crazy collaboration.There are so many great writers out there it’s hard to just think of one. An amazing writer now is Olivia Rodrigo. I really love her music.  

LADYGUNN: Awesome. In this world of music you really cannot go wrong! I only have one more question for you, but if there’s one thing that you hope that your fans or just listeners take away from your music, what is it? 

Katherine: You are not alone.

LADYGUNN:  I love it. 

Katherine: In the sense of, well, romantically you might be alone, but in the Katherine Li world you are not alone because everyone here is alone. There we go. 

LADYGUNN: I literally love it. I think that translates through your music and is a key reason why so many people are in love with you and your music and are fans. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day. I know you’re busy. 

Katherine: Of course, thank you!

CONNECT WITH KATHERINE LI

Instagram | TikTok

Words // Will Bollini

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