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Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan
- biography -
At just 23, and with over a million record sales under her belt, Kate Ryan is a hot young singersongwriter with a passion and ability to match her success. In a time of instant celebrity and pop idol style fame, hers is a refreshing story of achievement through sheer talent and hard work. It became obvious at a young age that Kate had a natural flair for music; born in a small village in Belgium to a musical family, she would entertain everyone with her impressions of Madonna, complete with red Spanish La Isla Bonita dress lovingly made in miniature by her grandmother. Whilst everyone in her family played an instrument, by age eight Kate had mastered both the piano and guitar, finding that she could play anything that she heard on the radio almost immediately. In addition to lessons in piano and singing techniques from her aunt, a teacher at the prestigious Conservatory, Kate studied at art school, specialising in jewellery design. In her (very limited!) spare time, she still makes rings and trinkets for her friends, who often ask her to design pieces for them. She’s also designed a best selling range of the clubber’s essential – sunglasses – as she’s a bit of an eyewear addict herself.
But it was always Kate’s dream to become a singer, and she could frequently be found armed with a guitar and singing in bars, cafes, and clubs. It was at one such gig, aged 16, that she was approached by a manager who wanted her to record in the studio. She consequently became a member of a pop group, Melt, performing soft rock and pop, something that she absolutely loved. But after two years composing and recording with them, nothing was released commercially. A twist of fate saw Kate meet with her current manager, and quit Melt. He introduced her to producer Andy Janssens, and the pair began to write together, everything from ballads to pop, R&B and trance oriented tracks. Their debut single was the aptly titled Scream For More - it shot to Number 2 in the charts, something virtually unheard of for a teenage newcomer.
“I was really surprised to go top 5 in Belgium, for an unknown artist it’s just great. People didn’t know me, and to be honest, I was just really happy the first time I heard my voice on the radio! I couldn’t believe it.

And I’m so happy that I got the chance to do it because many people would love to do what I do – I’m really thankful for it.”
Her following singles stormed the charts, with her cover of Mylene Farmer’s ‘Désenchantée’ sitting on the top spot for five weeks and going double platinum in Belgium. Aside from its success at home, ‘Désenchantée’ was a true international success reaching the following peak positions in national singles charts across Europe: 2 in Germany (gold!!), 3 in Austria, 3in Norway, 4 in Holland, 4 in Sweden, 7 in Spain, 11 in Switzerland, 11 in Denmark, 12 in France, 12 in Portugal and 9 in the European Top 100 singles. Kate’s debut album ‘Different’ went on to sell more than 250,000 copies in Europe alone and generated 2 further international hits with ‘Libertine’ (another cover of Mylene Farmer) and ‘Scream For More/Mon Coeur résiste Encore’. Now, Kate and her team are amongst Belgium’s most respected dance singer-songwriters. And as well as her own material Kate writes and composes for other artists, working with producers across a wide of genres. “It’s great because I don’t have to write in one style, I write R&B, pop, rock; it’s nice for me to explore such a varied scope.”
Indeed, much of the depth of Kate’s tracks can be found in the diverse range of her natural talents – her passion for rock feeds into her dance tracks to give a unique and credible sound. Her strong and evocative voice soars over the sort of peak time tracks that would bring a dance-floor to its knees anywhere in the world, and she is equally comfortable singing in French or English. Her lyrics are a far cry from the often sparse or inconsequential chorus’ of lesser quality dance tracks, something that is hallmarked by her strong album sales.
“All the songs that I write are about my own emotions, my own feelings, and things that I see in other people – sadness, happiness - I went through a lot of things in my life, sad things, happy things, and all the lyrics and songs I write are about things I experience. I think that’s really important. Sometimes people think you just write something about the sun or the birds and the bees but it’s really about things I feel myself.”
Indeed, Kate’s life has been touched by an unrelenting mix of highs and lows, most visibly in 2001 when in November, at the end of a breakthrough year and top chart success, her mum, whom Kate describes as her biggest fan, tragically lost her battle with cancer. Though heartbreaking for Kate, she remains a pillar of professionalism, and the thoroughly upbeat, bubbly and down to earth girl that she has always been. “My mum always believed in me”, says Kate.

“She always supported me in my dream of becoming a singer.
Though a consummate all-rounder, Kate’s favourite aspect of the job has always been the performing, “because then you see reactions from people, and you have contact with the fans.” She spends most of her time travelling, something that suits her fine as she has most of her ideas for new tracks in unusual places…
“Sometimes I’ll be in a plane or taxi or a train, or in bed, and I think about something; I always have a recorder with me so I can get it all down!” Indeed, this organic style is the only way Kate will write. “If you said I have to write a song right now, it’s an obligation – then I couldn’t do it!” Kate has blown away audiences everywhere with her emotive, catchy tracks, from small Spanish clubs, to huge festivals – singing in front of almost a million people in Berlin at an anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin wall is one of her most mind-blowing memories, and a far cry from the cafes where she started.
Funnily enough, because she’s always travelling at the weekends, Kate’s own big club night out is Monday, and whilst other celebrities lounge around in VIP members’ bars, she hits her local club. “ nice people, nice music. I always try to have Monday night and Tuesday off – Monday to go clubbing and Tuesday to sleep til noon! Belgium is known for its dance music, and has a lot of great clubs and artists. I know the girls, I know the boys, Ian Van Dahl, Lasgo, Milk Inc, they’re all very nice people with both feet on the ground. That’s what I like, normal people who like to party and who like to have fun.”
Belgium’s equivalent of Kylie, Kate is recognised all the time in Belgium but seems unfazed by the attention. “It’s part of the job, of course. People like to come up and say ‘Can I have an autograph?’, and ‘Aren’t you that singer?!’, and I’m always friendly because they’re always so nice. They’re always quite shy, and I really have respect for them. That’s one of the reason I love doing this so much, the respect of the fans is so special to me.”
It’s easy to believe Kate when she says that she’s still the same person as she was 5 years ago – “My life’s changed a lot but I’m still the same person, with the same friends”. In fact her only real indulgence has been an apartment, though she’s waiting for the builders to move out before she moves in. Her new album, ‘Stronger’, which includes the single ‘Only If I‘, indicates a new maturity and confidence both musically and personally. Her first release ‘Different’ represented her early forays into the industry, whilst she acknowledges that the new album is more individual. “I think this album is more mature than the last one, as am I. It’s been almost cathartic for me to explore the challenges I’ve faced through my lyrics. There are songs about love, of course, good love, bad love; it’s really about things that I’ve experienced myself. I have memories on every song.

I actually like them so much I can’t choose a favourite, they’re like your children! And because I’ve been doing so many performances, I’ve trained my voice a lot more, and you
can hear a big difference from the first album.” Kate’s also used the 14 tracks as an opportunity to explore the many different influences that inspire her. There are various styles: dance/pop, and a little funk, as well as two ballads. ‘Stronger’ also includes ‘The Promise You Made’, Kate’s own take on the 1986 hit from US pop act Cock Robin. As for the future, Kate is optimistic about her chosen path..
“I’d like to keep having success with my music, keep travelling, performing, composing and recording. I’d also like to stay true to my roots, with smaller gigs in intimate venus.”
With this sort of talent and determination, the number of countries under Kate’s spell can only continueto grow.

Kate Ryan - Different -
Kate Ryan - Stronger -
Kate’s homepage -

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