June 23, 2020
Tune-In Tuesdays #75: A Heart-to-Heart on Agoraphobia with Katie Wood
Portrait photograph of London-based musician Katie WoodSource: Katie Wood
Iridescent London-based power-pop artist Katie Wood uses the electricity of a nostalgic 80’s sound and sense of fashion to spark her heartfelt lyricism to life. Her aura is empowering and truly awe-inspiring.
Recently, we spoke to Wood via email for a candid discussion about her latest track, “Uh Huh Yeah,” which openly describes her experiences with agoraphobia.
Tell us a little about yourself and your connection to music
My name’s Katie Wood, I’m a singer-songwriter and I live in London. I started really getting into music when I was super young after I had a bad accident between my head and a door haha!
When I was unconscious, I remember hearing music in the car on the way to the hospital and thinking to myself, “This is what I am going to do with my life,” I was only five-years-old at the time.
What are some of your core values, both personally and musically?
I’m a forward-thinking person, so I guess my life is pretty centred around that and the people I surround myself with. I think it’s important to educate yourself and learn about things that are so important but often not considered that way in the education system.
What drew you to music as opposed to another creative medium to express yourself?
Originally, I was drawn to music because it felt like pure escapism… Which it still does, but being an artist within that, you get to do everything else alongside it.
I have really liked creating my own kind of world in which the music is placed into. I think the main reason is in the past I have struggled at times to verbally express my emotions.
But I could write a song about it and feel better. I don’t get that same feeling with anything else.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Who are some of your biggest fashion and music inspirations?
I present myself in a fairly androgynous way, I have always preferred to feel comfortable over anything else.
I love layering up clothes and wearing a lot of suits with shoulder pads, big shirts, and neck frills. I base most of my outfits around a jacket so you can imagine my difficulties in summer, haha.
An obvious inspiration is Prince, I also love everything about Christine and the Queens.
How has making music helped you grow as a person?
I think it has enabled me to become slightly more forgiving because making music gives you time to think about an event or situation that’s occurred.
I often find that if I allow myself to be I can become quite bitter and I’m very stubborn at times, too.
I guess having that freedom to get things off your chest without judgement is healing, in a way.
Take us behind the scenes of your latest track, “Uh Huh Yeah.” What inspired you to open up about your personal experiences with agoraphobia?
It’s been almost 10 years since I really began struggling with anxiety. There have been a few years in between that where I have felt great and been able to deal with it.
But last year I would say I literally hit rock bottom. I almost felt… I don’t know how to describe it, but a vibrational shift in my being. I just couldn’t feel anything but panic, which then lead to agoraphobia.
I wanted to open up in hopes that anyone who is or has struggled would know they’re not alone.
It was also a way for me to be honest with myself and relieve that slight sense of shame or embarrassment I originally had about feeling this way.
Could you break down some of the lyrics for us? Which lines from “Uh Huh Yeah” mean the most to you and why?
“Don’t have to drink to let go, live in the dark on my own, just to feel alive” in the middle 8 is probably my favorite part of the song lyrically.
I was really reflecting on anytime I went out with friends I wouldn’t feel relaxed until I had a drink. Just realizing that I would either do that or stay at home and avoid going out at all was a really scary thing.
Equally as scary to be that open and honest in a song as well, so it means a lot to me in that respect.
What was it like to self produce the track?
I’ve only been producing for about a year now. I knew a little beforehand, but I always got frustrated when nothing sounded how I would want it to.
So I spent most of last year teaching myself and just experimenting until I found my “sound.” It feels good to be able to have complete creative control and its been interesting to start writing tracks by producing them.
It’s opened up so many new realms that my music could reside in, as well.
How has creating “Uh Huh Yeah” helped you reflect on your experiences with agoraphobia?
It’s helped with the acceptance side of things more than anything, and just being able to understand it a little more. I think its actually very misunderstood as a whole because its very complex.
Music is a very powerful medium with a wide reach and mental health is a topic that definitely warrants more open discussions. Why do you think it’s important for musicians to express more “vulnerable” sides of themselves in their work?
I think it helps to normalize the conversation. I know that in some cases speaking about mental health is almost a taboo subject.
What advice would you give to someone who may be overcoming similar hurdles?
Just take each day as it comes, don’t put yourself under any unnecessary pressure and know that in time you will feel better.
Take it slow and set attainable challenges for yourself. Learn about how and why you’re feeling the way you do and speak to those around you, if you feel comfortable doing so.
I know with anything anxiety related a lot of those who suffer feel that speaking about it will bring them anxiety, but it really helps to feel relief, so I would recommend talking things through if you feel like you can.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
To trust my intuition. I think at times I have chosen to ignore it and I think gut instincts are there for a reason – and more often than not, they are right.
Overall, how do you hope to impact your listeners through your music?
I hope they feel empowered and a part of something. I think music is a universally known as something that can heal and helps people through situations, it’s definitely helped me throughout my entire life. So to give that back is one of my biggest goals.
What’s next for you, Katie? Do you have any upcoming music in the works, perhaps an EP or an album?
Always. There won’t be too long of a wait for more music, at least for another single. I definitely want to release an album or a body of work and I am so excited to show the world more music, all in good time
Give Katie Wood’s “Uh Huh Yeah” a listen on Spotify now!
Be sure to follow Katie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with her latest song releases.
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