Her style, which she calls “vintage pop,” is reminiscent of the movie scores and musicals that she grew up with. Her original songs are rooted in jazz, but there are also elements of rock ‘n’ roll, classic pop, folk and country.
Pulling it all together is a fabulous voice that, as a teenager, earned her a spot on the TV show, “American Idol.” Called “memorable and contagious” by NPR, Edmonson continues to garner fans with her well-crafted lyrics, clever melodies and distinctive singing style.
Edmonson will make her way to Harrisburg this month, showcasing a repertoire from her three CDs and featuring her band: Laura Scarborough on keys, vibes and accordion; Steve Elliot on guitar; Bob Hart on bass; and Aaron Thurston on drums.
“I like to create an intimate atmosphere during a concert,” Edmonson said. “I like to chat with the audience and get to know them and let them get to know me, too.”
Edmonson grew up in Houston, but moved to Austin to take advantage of the city’s vibrant music scene. After gaining experience in the local club scene, she released her first album, “Take to the Sky,”in 2009. The recording featured steamy cabaret jazz numbers, such as George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” along with a few originals.
Her second CD, “Way Down Low,” came out in 2012 and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign (raising $30,000 in just one month). On it, her sound moved away from jazz with more of a retro feel reminiscent of the early 1960s. She used the first song on the CD, “Lucky,” in an official video that she posted on YouTube.
The video is filmed in New York on Independence Day weekend and shows her playing a series of old pianos that had been dropped off all around the city. As the video wraps up, she’s on Coney Island, playing along with a stunning fireworks display.
The last two years have seen many opportunities come her way. She toured with Lyle Lovett, singing the duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with him on his CD, “Release Me,” and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She appeared on “Austin City Limits” and “A Prairie Home Companion,” and her songs were featured on several television commercials (Zales Diamonds, Coca-Cola). In the spring of 2013, she made her first U.S. tour as a headliner with 11 concerts around the country. The following summer, she played several festivals in Europe, including the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. She even was tapped to be one of the faces of the makeup brand bareMinerals.
About a year ago, Edmondson signed with Sony Masterworks, and, this past fall, came out with her latest recording, “The Big Picture.” To create the CD, she teamed up with renowned producer Mitchell Froom, working with him over a three-month period at his studio in Santa Monica.
“It’s a departure from the last record in many ways,” she said.” It’s more pop-oriented and more orchestrated. I had a plethora of musicians to work with, and we were laying down tracks and did a lot of overdubbing.”
These days, Kat Edmondson says that she’s very happy. She recently moved to Brooklyn, where, she added, there’s much more infrastructure for the kind of music that she plays than in Austin.
“I’ve always wanted to live in New York, and I live in a beautiful place right near Prospect Park,” she said. “It’s a place that I go and wander and contemplate and often write.”
Kat Edmonson and her band, along with opener Robert Ellis, will perform at 8 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, 222 Market St., Harrisburg. Tickets are $20 and $27.50 and are available at 717-214-ARTS or at www.whitakercenter.org. Learn more about Edmonson at www.katedmonson.com.