Up and coming singer Katja Glieson recently left her Australian home to take the plunge and jet to the land of opportunity, Los Angeles, where musicians, dancers and producers are aplenty.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Glieson one on one about her budding career, struggles and who she hopes her music will inspire.
Glieson’s just-released first single “Look At Us” is catching on like wildfire, as she sets the tone for a career in pop music. It was important to her that the first release be a feel good, fun song. Creating the video was a great experience “We had a lot of fun that day. All the dancers were wearing Disney princess-inspired costumes, [and we] included stars from RuPaul’s YouTube Drag Race. It was just a big party.” Glieson was thrilled with the choreography for the video, and had nothing but praise for Choreographer Jovver Fortuno. “He always brings such a fresh vibe and energy to the stuff that we do.”
One of the best things about social media for those just starting is that it’s an effective platform to be seen, and can help build an audience. Glieson feels it allows for ordinary, down-to-earth, real people to put their work out there and connect them with the audience. “I think that barrier between a famous person and the real world has been broken down,” she said, adding, “That’s what’s awesome about social media. It’s leveled out the playing field and everyone is equal.”
Gliesen made an appearance on Whitney Avalon’s YouTube Princess Rap Battles. In one of the most watched contests, with more than 24 million views and rising, Glieson Elsa (Frozen) took down Avalon’s Snow White. Glieson loves the idea of contrasting the 1930s-era Snow White and the thoroughly modern Elsa.
The road to stardom for Gliesen has not been without challenge. Glieson talked about struggling with shyness and bullying growing up, made worse by being an overweight kid (at one point, she was at 200 pounds). Suffering more than her fair share of ridicule and bullying in elementary school she turned to music. Singing gave her a positive outlet. “I used to sing to myself to kind of feel better and fill the void of having friends. It made me feel better,” she said.
While there’s lately been a lot of talk about cyber-bullying, Glieson believes that physical bullying has been sort of lost in the mix. She hopes to spread the word to young people to use their energy for something positive. “People don’t realize the power within, they’re just wasting it. You have the ability to do great things in the world.” Her message to victims of bullying? “Always know that it’s not about you. If you’re a victim of bullying don’t play the victim, work from the inside out. You can’t control what other people think and feel, say and do, but you can control how it affects you and how you feel.” She adds, “They’re looking for someone they can affect so they can feel better about themselves.” As she looks back upon her own experience with bullying, she sort of put herself in their shoes and understands the situation with much better clarity. Glieson also says it’s important not to turn into a bully as part of revenge. “Take the high road. Make sure you change the world for the better so that no one else has to go through what you went through.”
These days, the presence of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allows for bullying on a greater scale, Glieson believes that social media can also be used to empower individuals in a more positive way. She describes how she was able to start exercising to shed her weight via YouTube videos, which then helped to make her feel better about herself. Glieson is also preparing to take her empowerment message to YouTube with the release of a dance tutorial. This will give kids the opportunity to learn from experts in the field who otherwise may not have the ability to afford dance classes.
Glieson is passionate about the way in which women are often portrayed in music, movies, television. With software like Photoshop, it’s easier than ever to change your looks, however Glieson feels young girls need to learn to love themselves no matter what others say or what the media feels and depicts as “beautiful.”
How did she realize music was her passion? Growing up, she’d listen to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. “All their music seemed to make me feel better and it eventually got to the point where I wanted to create that for other people. If music helped me, maybe I can create music to help other people.”
So, which artist inspires Glieson? Interestingly, the very first concert she ever attended was Carlos Santana. “The moment he plays music you can feel that he puts his whole heart and soul into it. It’s communicated in his music and it really touches you. He’s a great example of a musician that knows what music is about and tries to heal the world through his music.”
Glieson is also a major advocate for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) equality. To that end, she will showcase her music as part of Phoenix PRIDE concert coming up April 11, 2015.
Being such a television junkie, I asked Glieson if she has any favorite shows. She loves The Walking Dead, and she binges on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.
Glieson seems very down-to-earth and has loads of talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in contention for a Grammy, right up there with Taylor Swift next year! For more information on her concert dates and album, check out her official website. And, be sure to follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00G5G7EXY][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00C6Q1Z6E]