Get to know Suburban Chanteuse Katie Cunningham as we trek around her native La Canada in her gold Jeep.
Born on the east coast, Cunningham, an “r&b pop fusion” artist, spent part of her formative years in Colorado before moving farther west to La Canada Flintridge. (listen to her love letter to Colorful Colorado here)
Katie meets me at Zeli Coffee Bar (La Canada’s single independent coffee shop, now closed) before she takes me on a tour of our hometown on a July afternoon. Read on for 9 Fast Facts to learn why Cunningham is “Nobody’s Second Best”.
1. Upon graduating from La Canada High School, Cunningham moved to Manhattan to attend the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, alongside friend and classmate, Moollz.
2. At our first stop, Memorial Park on the corner of Foothill and La Canada Blvd, Cunningham reminisces about covering an Amy Winehouse song with La Canada High School’s jazz band. She reveals she is a massive Amy Winehouse fan, fitting as she describes her musical content as “vocal-centric”.
3. Cunningham shows me her first house in La Canada once we leave Memorial Park. “I’ve had three houses in La Canada because I moved here my freshman year,” Cunningham explains. “I originally wanted to do acting; I really wanted to be, like, a Disney Channel star,” she divulges. “I decided that I liked music a lot more,” she says she decided around age 15.
4. Cunningham used to frequent Nashville in high school on micro business trips for time in the studio with a producer she was set up with. “I was in my sophomore year…fifteen years old…going back and forth to Nashville a week every month of the year.” In those sessions she made “Disney Channel-sounding songs,” a far reach from the content she’s working on now.
5. If she had to label her respective genre, she’d describe it as “r&b pop fusion”, best exhibited in her track “Nobody’s Second Best”.
6. Her dream New York venue to play is Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Her pipe dream venue out west is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
7. Cunningham has been “coast to coast and back”. “I was born in DC; I lived in Virginia for five years, then moved to Denver for eight years, and I’ve lived [in Los Angeles County] for five years now and I moved to New York.”
happy late thanksgiving! hope you all had a nice day at home with your families, or with your friends if you couldn’t make it home/home isn’t the best place for you to be right now. no matter your situation, I hope you had a peaceful day with the people you’re thankful for like I did. sending love and light this upcoming holiday season. 💕💫
8. I ask to dive into the Los Angeles versus New York conversation. “Things I miss about LA the most are being outside and nature,” she says.
9. Cunningham says a well-known perk of attending New York University is networking, networking, networking. Aside from professionals and business insiders, she says: “I’ve never had a friend group who…they’re all songwriters; they’re all musicians.” She finds that the ability to socialize and engage in elongated conversations with people who are truly fired up about music and have experience in varying genres creates a home away from home and provides motivation to work on her craft.
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