You're Enough: An Interview with Katey Brooks

Photo courtesy of John Morgan
Writing songs has always been a way for Katey Brooks to process feelings she found difficult to face.
Growing up inside a cult, Brooks took refuge in music and ultimately her own songwriting. Her chaotic upbringing introduced her to both people and situations that were vastly different from children her own age, and music is what gave her the chance to feel free.

“My brain has a sneaky way of blocking difficult emotions out, and writing has helped me to realize and experience them in a safe way,” she said. “It also feels incredibly satisfying to create something from pain. It feels like it's never in vain.”

Although there were a few start and stop moments through her younger years that made her want to pursue music, it was a songwriters group led by Strangelove’s Patrick Duff that gave her the ultimate push. The group met once a week to talk, play each other their songs and give feedback, and one day Brooks pulled Duff aside and asked him how she should launch her career.  

“He was his usual enthusiastic self and told me I should put on a gig at the Bristol Folk House, and invite everyone I knew,” she said. “I just thought fuck it why not, and so I went for it. I had no idea what I was doing, but it worked out, and the people came. I've been doing this ever since.”

Her music not only gave her a platform to express her experiences but helped her come to terms with her sexuality. Due to fear, there was a lot of confusion and self-dishonesty that she fought with. She stayed true to herself, but she admits there were times she attempted to focus on the opposite sex. She sees now in retrospect that forcing something unnatural to her was harmful and looks back on it wishing she’d been more accepting of who she is.

“I think I'd tell my younger self to let it go,” she said. “I'd put my arms around her and tell her ‘It's okay, give it up, you don't have to lie to yourself anymore. You're enough.’  At the time I don't think I truly knew what I was missing until I really started to come out. It was only then that I felt a euphoric and deeply moving sense of pride and relief in it all.”

She may not be able to actually give advice to her younger self, but she has gotten advice that has permanently stuck with her. She had the opportunity to open for Carlene Carter, Johnny Cash’s step-daughter, and when they started talking about Nashville Carter said, “Honey, if you wanna go to Nashville you gotta be like ‘suck ma dick.’” They laughed about it at the time, but Brooks took it to heart. A musician’s life and conquering the music industry isn’t easy, and a thick skin is needed in order to thrive.

“I've had moments where I thought it might break me - I took a lot of things personally for a long time, and it caused me a lot of pain,” she said. “Nowadays I try to just let things go and detach from it all, but not take any shit either.”

Katey Brooks’ positive outlook, tough exterior and loving interior is brought to life through her upcoming album titled Revolute (listen to "Never Gonna Let Her Go" here). Music is a powerful tool that has helped her become the woman that she is today, and this album is sure to be another fascinating look into her life.