COLUMN: River City Sound Katie Watts

Ariana Beedie

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Katie Watts, local musician, looks to family for inspiration.

Katie Watts, local musician, looks to family for inspiration.

USI alumna races to the top as a local performer with only three years of live performance under her belt.

Katie Watts, 29, started playing locally because of her friend Andrea Worth, another local musician who helped her break out of her shell and sing.

“Worth was playing a show at Smitty’s, and I had just written a song called ‘Sunshine,’” Watts said. “I was scared sh*tless, but I did it.”

The performance of her first full song helped the Fredonia, Ind. native get her career off the ground.

“My first gig was at Hagedorn’s in 2010,” she said. “I got paid $25, and it was Fall Fest. It was sweet.”

Watt’s career took off after she married her wife, Whitney, who is also her manager, booking agent and handles public relations. Watts soon began playing around Evansville and surrounding areas.

“(Whitney) started booking me at every place you can possibly book live music,” Watts said. “And I started playing four and five and six nights a week.”

Along with booking shows, Katie Watts and her wife developed a Facebook page which lets her fans know when and where she plays next. The page also features recent photo shoots from the artist.

“It’s getting pretty fun,” she said.

Recently, Watts played with her band, The Ideas, made up of Andy Jones on guitar and John Kern on drums.

“I’ve known John Kern since I first started in 2010,” she said. “He bugged me and bugged me to start a project, with him playing drums for me for one or two shows.”

It just hit off like crazy, she said.

Watts suffers from a recovering fractured wrist, preventing her from playing guitar, and it prompted her to add another guitar to her ensemble.

“Andy Jones came in the picture after I had my accident six months ago,” she said. “I couldn’t play anymore so I called up Andy and asked him to play for me.”

It was “awesome,” she said.

“Henceforth, we became Katie Watts and The Ideas,” she said.

Much of Watts’ inspiration comes from her wife, but also from her emotions.

“If I go outside and I see a beautiful sunset, or rain is coming down on my face  or something like that,” she said. “It’s something you get a feeling for.”

It sparks inspiration immediately, she said.

“Whitney inspires me everyday,” Watts said. “She got me up off my butt, and she keeps me on track.”

Even though Watts has only performed live for the past three years, she’s been building her image from a young age.

“I’ve been playing since I was itty bitty,” she said. “I remember screaming some Michael Jackson when I was only 6 or 7.”

Watt’s first instrument was a hand-me-down guitar from her brother, which she received at age 11, she said.

Since then, Watts plays on “Ruby,” her trusted guitar that she’s had since age 20.

“She’s my baby,” Watts said.

Watts made her performing mark here in Evansville and hopes to take her career to the next level, she said.

“Honestly, I would love to record a full CD,” she said. “And I would love to tour Europe and the U.S.”

She might just buy a van and play in every city, she said.

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