Kat O1O

||: Love | Music :||

About


 

Kat O1O (that’s oh-one-oh), known not only as part of the live-band hip-hop group Crown City Rockers, but also pretty much the go-to keyboardist in the thriving Bay Area music scene. She is also a part of Piecelock 70, an artist collective dedicated to sustainable creative independence. In addition, she also serves as Executive Board member for the American Federation of Musicians Local 424.

 

The youngest of six, Kat O1O grew up in Wichita, KS. Kat begin playing the piano at age four, trying to emulate her older sister, and for the next decade, hers was a strictly, highly competitive classical world. But by the end of high school, she had begun to tire of the piano. She started taking guitar lessons, where she was introduced to artists like Sun Ra and John Coltrane, and finally, the Herbie Hancock of the 1970s, who, fresh off his time with the Miles Davis Quintet, was eager to introduce the Fender Rhodes into his own music. It was his 1973 masterpiece, Head Hunters – which prominently featured the instrument – that changed her life. She quickly became attached to the sound of the Rhodes, even though, at that point, she wasn’t sure what was making it.

 

Boston’s Berklee School of Music gave Kat the opportunity to play with musicians outside of her family, as well as to finally play, and then own, a Rhodes. Like Hancock before her, her love of the instrument paved the way to electronic music, and exposed her to the world of analog synths, She played in a variety of jazz, funk and hip-hop groups, and in 1998, she, along with the band that would eventually morph into Crown City Rockers, moved to Oakland, CA. The Bay Area’s fertile music scene proved conducive and formative to Kat’s continued development, and soon she found herself deeply entrenched in it. Her virtuosic playing on the Crown City Rockers’ full-lengths was soon noticed. She joined indie rap superstar Lyrics Born’s live band, and the East Bay Express proclaimed her the “Most Mind-Blowingest Musician” of 2005, declaring that she “…passes through walls of genre and style like they were open windows. As the official keyboard sorcerer for live-band hip-hop sensation Crown City Rockers, she floats over the rhythm section’s vicious funk with Rhodes and Moog work that can float, strut, snarl, pounce, and shriek in equal measure, delivering the melody without stomping on the groove’s toes.”

 

Kat’s work was also noticed by corporations like T-Mobile and PBS, both of whom used her music, but it was thanks to the Crown City Rockers that her solo record was born.  Through bandmate Headnodic, also a member of the Mighty Underdogs, she was officially introduced to the Quannum crew, and when label co-founder Lateef the Truthspeaker heard her he decided to sign her immediately. Quannum Projects released Kat O1O’s solo debut, Natural Phenomena, an instrumental record that features Kat’s keyboard, composition, and production skills.