Newcomer Katie Armiger's powerful vocals and skillful songwriting are clearly showcased on her debut self-titled album. At the ripe age of 16, Katie does not hold back and has an inspiring combination of determination and passion that shines through in her music. Her voice is beyond her years; strong, skilled and dramatic, while her writing is mature yet, sincere and optimistic.
Katie Armiger's journey truly began two years ago when she entered "Houston's Best Country Singer" contest sponsored by Radio 93Q Country. The contest, which was held over an eight week period, had over 150 boys and girls ages 9-17 in the Junior Division who were vying for the title. After several performances Katie rose to the top to grab the title of Houston's Best Country Singer in her division when she blew the crowd away with her rendition of Martina McBride's "Whatever You Say." Upon receiving the title Katie was handed a thousand dollar check and a chance to record a two-song demo. It was then that her family knew they had a star in their midst.
Several months later, Katie arrived in Nashville, where she began her work in the studio with veteran producer Mark Oliverius for her demo. Over the years Oliverius has worked with the likes of Trick Pony, Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw, and Lorrie Morgan, among others. Fascinated by the recording process and feeling at home in the studio, Katie delivered some of her best vocal work which is evident on songs such as "Still" and "Beautiful In Me."
"It was different from anything I had ever done," Katie recalls. "Being in the booth for the first time was a little intimidating and I didn't want anyone watching me but little did I know, they put me on the big monitor in the studio and everyone was watching," she laughs. "That's when I knew I was where I was supposed to be, creating music."
Having completed some of the demo tracks that now appear on her debut album it was obvious to all those around Katie that the project was special and should become something more. Thus the juggling act began. At the same time Katie was going to high school and maintaining an A average, she was listening to, writing, and rehearsing music. She was flying back and forth between Nashville and Houston to work with Oliverius, pursuing her dream, the completion of her first studio album.
"Mark has a way of putting me at ease and letting me find my way through a song," said Katie. "During the beginning stages of the album he would give me a sample of music and I would write the words. Then I would give him words and he would compose the song. We got into a groove that worked for both of us and I'm really pleased with the result."
"At such a young age Katie Armiger has a lot to say," said Oliverius. "She has a huge voice and a strength for songwriting that goes well beyond her years. I believe that she really does have what it takes to make it in this business a strong musical talent and a passion for what she does."
Katie says that she's always enjoyed writing, a skill which really began when she was 10 years old -- jotting down her thoughts and creating poetry. "I wish I could say that I keep a nice, neat organized song-writing journal, but then I'd be lying," said Katie. "But when an idea comes to me I just grab what's near. I wrote part of 'Insanity' on a paper plate, while part of "Hard Road" was written down on a gum wrapper." Both of which she wrote when she was just 14 years old.
Katie draws her inspiration from her everyday life. This has been the winning formula for many a seasoned songwriter but there is a twist. "Most of the time I write about experiences related to my life and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. But, sometimes things just hit me usually after I've read a book or seen a movie."
Katie's writing abilities are apparent on her debut self-titled album, penning 7 of the album's tracks, her subtle and sensitive interpretations fuel the depth of the 11-song recording. In the track "Let Him Go," Katie explores unrequited love. Whether an innocent schoolgirl crush or an unfulfilled love affair, the ballad takes the listener on a musical journey with powerful vocals and a catchy melody. "17 In Abilene," however, is the quintessential road trip song. "I think every teenager thinks about getting in their car and just taking off," says Katie. "I wrote this song with fellow music newcomer Ashlee Hewitt. We put our heads together and came up with this great young and carefree road trip song about the possibilities of an open road."
"Insanity" is a coming of age song with a touch of rebellion. "It's a song about making your own mistakes along the way," said Katie. "It's about being a teenager and doing certain things on your own terms. It's something that I'm sure all teenagers can relate to - the balance between realizing a parent's love and the frustration of having your parents gunning for you when you do something wrong. I appreciate all that they do for me, but as the song says, 'It's my good, it's my bad, it's my turn to make mistakes'."
The inspiring "Hard Road" was written by both Katie and her producer Mark Oliverius. "It's a song about choices and temptations," explains Katie. "It explores the question of whether to take the easy way or to believe in yourself by taking a potentially harder road on the path towards achieving what it is that you might want. It's like the journey that I'm on now it's definitely not an easy path to take, but I have faith in myself."
It is the three tracks, "Now You Do," "Just Can't Say Goodbye," and "Make Me Believe" that will have listeners in awe of what is possible from this 16-year-old newcomer; poignant lyrics and a voice that is well beyond her years. "Now You Do" is essentially the must-have break-up song," says Katie. "Just Can't Say Goodbye" was written in memory of her biggest fan her grandfather. "Everyone has experienced loss in their lives," said Katie. "But this song in particular is about never having had the chance to say goodbye." "'Make Me Believe' is my 'chick empowerment' song," says Katie. "It is all about standing up and saying I cannot be your everything, so if this is not going to work out then you need to leave. It is a powerful song and I hope that is relayed to listeners." Taking on a reverse perspective than the usual break-up song Katie and her co-writer Ashlee Hewitt, made it a song of strength where the woman finally tells the man that he needs to leave.
Born in Houston, Texas and now living in the small town of Sugar Land, Texas, Katie Armiger has grown up with a large, supportive family consisting of 4 parents, 2 brothers and 4 sisters. With a family of this size, Katie's time for herself is limited, but it has never stopped her from pursuing what is most important to her her music. "Because I have so many brothers and sisters, it's always been a juggling act to get me to where I need to be for shows and recording sessions," said Katie. "But with the support of my parents and my brothers and sisters, I have never missed a show, a competition or a lesson. Plus I have a built in fan club wherever I perform."
According to her mother, Katie has been singing since before she could walk. She's still a sophomore at Austin High School with straight As, but she's a sophomore with a dream. She continues to perform at county fairs, rodeos, basically anywhere anyone listens a formula that has worked for many a multi-platinum artist.
The self-titled debut album from Katie Armiger heralds the arrival of a distinctive vocal talent with an unforgettable array of powerful and brilliant songs. Drawing musical inspiration from some of country music's greats like Dolly Parton, Wynonna, Martina McBride and Sara Evans, this 16 year old is passionate about her music, focused on her future, and exudes the talent that's needed to become a household name.