Tea-Totalled welcomes you to the vocally amazing singer Katy Carr, who .We met in the cold morning in a rather comforting tea house named Yumchaa in the centre of town, she sipped on a red chaa whilst mine was a fruity tea mix named “The Regents Park”.
Q : Good morning Katy, please do tell us more about yourself and your music:
KC: The music that I am making has been currently inspired by themes, stories and characters from 1940s Britain, France and Poland. FOR MORE OF THIS ARTICLE READ ON!  I am a London based performer and songwriter and I play a variety of instruments including a vintage, wurlitzer electronic piano, ukulele and banjolele with my group ‘The Aviators.’ My previous three albums, ‘Screwing Lies,’ 2001,‘Passion Play’ 2003 and ‘Coquette’ 2009 were all self released on my record label called Deluce Recordings. Initially I started  singing and sharing English folk songs from about 300 to 400 years ago in lots of little folk clubs around Britain. Now I play to large and small audiences at home and abroad.
Q: The theme of the 1940’s is very much part of your music and part of your character:
KC: Yes the era of the 1940s has inspired me not only through style, fashion, music and songwriting but also from a historical angle. It was a time of great change not only on an emotional level but also through invention. The Spitfire airplane for example was developed indeed played a huge part in helping Britain to win ‘The Battle of Britain’ during the summer and autumn of 1940 and save Britain from Nazi occupation. When I was younger I was also in the Air Training Corps and I wanted to become a Fighter Pilot for the RAF. Through the ATC I was granted an RAF Flying scholarship.  I went on to get my Private Pilots License and so this helped cement my interest in all things aerial including a continued interest in aircraft especially my love of the Spitfire which is such a well crafted example of aero engineering.
On an artistic level my Grandmother Dorothy Carr, now 97 inspired me to think about the songs of the 1940s. She taught me many of her favourite tunes including ‘Sally’ originally sung by Gracie Fields and ‘Leaning on a Lampost’ by George Formby.
Q: I really enjoy your version of “Lili Marlene”; I find the original by Marlene Dietrich quite unusually husky for my ears. My dad sadly tried to sing it to me the other day! But your version isn’t so stiff and has more of a softer edge to the song.
KC :Yes I love this song which I believe was originally written in 1908 but became a huge hit in the 1940s made famous then by singers like Marlene Dietrich. I like to sing it accompanied on ukulele which give a lighter feel to the sound.
Q : Were you brought up in Poland?
KC : Partly, I was born in Nottingham and lived in Poland for the first 5 years of my life. I have a continued love of Poland especially the Beskids mountain range and region from where my mother comes from. Her home town is a little provincial market town called Bielsko-Biała. My fond, childhood memories of Poland are picking wild mushrooms in the forest with my Polish Grandmother who sadly in not with us anymore and adding them to scrambled eggs. Yummy!!! The other side was that I lived in Poland during the 1980s when it was behind the Iron Curtain in the time of Communism.  I remember that my Polish family had to queue for everything and pay with ration cards for example if bananas were available at the local supermarket people would start queuing at 5am in the morning even though their chances of buying them were slim… sadly it wasn’t so easy back then.
Q : What most captivates you about the 1940’s?
KC : The human angle interests me the most. I love hearing and listening to stories from the 1940s told from a first hand point of view. Both my Grandmothers on the British and Polish side have shared a lot of information about this time. Britain was never occupied by the Nazis and so thankfully although my British Grandma had her own worries and difficulties she didn’t have to experience some of the horrific events that Nazi occupation brought to my Polish Grandmother’s country Poland then under both Nazi and Soviet occupation.
On an aesthetic level I love to watch the films from that period, look at the amazing hairstyles and use of makeup. I also like the ‘make do and mend’ attitude and try to recycle as much as I can. Obviously if I had a small plot of land I would like to grow my own fruit and veg as reflected in the “Dig for Victory” scheme.
Q : If anyone was starting out in music what would be your advice to them?
KC : Do it yourself and do it now! Main thing is to believe in who you are and follow your heart…. All will work itself out if you follow your dreams!
Q : Please do tell us more about your most recent album track‘Berliner Ring,’ :
KC : The Berliner Ring is actually a large motorway which goes around Berlin, much like the M25.  I used it as a metaphor for Marlene Dietrich’s time in Berlin. Before Dietrich left Berlin she was a huge cult star in Germany and this song questions whether her move to the USA was a good thing for her career.
Q ; Which do you find yourself working with most, the ukulele or the piano?
KC : I play both instruments at my gigs. Up until recently I only ever composed my songs on piano however since learning to play the ukulele I have begun to create music on the uke. I have wanted to record a 1930s / 40s album for a while and my dream is for the record label Decca Classics to release so I can get the promotional backup to reach a larger audience with these tunes.
Q : Is there any exciting news that we should hear about which is happening in the future?
KC : Yes, amongst doing tours and gigs in Europe in 2010 my next major event will be in March 2011 when Kazimierz Piechowski who inspired my song ‘Kommander’s Car’ comes to Britain. There will be two main events one at the Polish Embassy and one for the public where people will get a chance to question him about the daring escape he made from Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1942.
Additional Hopper Questions:
Q : What is your favourite movie:
KC : I love ‘Grizzly Man’ telling Timothy Treadwell’s story of living with the Bears in Alaska and ‘Top Hat’ with Fred and Ginger.

Q : What are you reading at the moment:
KC :“Spitfire Women” by Giles Whittell
Q : What other hobbies do you have:
KC : I love dancing, solo or in a couple to swing, 20s, 30s 40s tunes and Northern Soul
Q : What is your best afternoon tea memory:
KC : Never making my British Grandma Dorothy Carr’s tea right! She likes her tea acid strong and leaves it in the teapot for at least 10minutes before pouring. At 97 years old I wonder if her magic brew has kept her alive… She drinks 6 cups of this a day with 2 spoons of sugar!


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