By JESSICA MEDITZ
In the midst of an internet era where likes and streams are everything, Kathryn Koch does it her own way.
Many up-and-coming artists these days go to great lengths to promote their music on social platforms, aiming to gain the most clout that they can.
Koch, on the other hand, has no interest in this, and prefers to keep it local.
“I would really like to have more organic grassroots outreach to fans,” the Buffalo-born singer-songwriter said.
From starting on clarinet and saxophone at a young age, to playing in basement bands in high school, to working with her former bandmates in the indie folk group Redheaded Stepchild, music has always been a part of Koch’s life.
Now she’s kicked her solo career to the max.
Her brand new album, “The Single Girl,” is now available for all to dive into on her website.
You won’t find her music on streaming services, at least for the time being.
Aside from disliking the business models of streaming services such as iTunes and Spotify, Koch admitted she has moral objections to the way that these services go about compensating artists.
“I don’t think that art should be free,” she said.
“You wouldn’t walk into a museum and take a painting off the wall, so I don’t know why people think that they have a right to just take people’s music … I just don’t really want to participate in a system that is completely against the artist.”
Instead, she would rather put more time and effort into things that she has control over as an artist.
As a self-described “feminist killjoy,” her new album holds this true by remaining completely candid.
“My songs aren’t political,” she wrote on her website. “But I will use my voice in defense of what’s right as long as I have a voice to sing with.”
While there are some autobiographical elements incorporated into Koch’s songs, she said that she does enjoy delving into stories.
“I like to have characters, so maybe a song starts off coming strictly from my own perspective. But I do try to let the character speak for themselves as well,” she said.
In terms of her creative process for songwriting, practice and consistency is Koch’s philosophy.
She prefers to get her notebook and guitar out on a daily basis and just jam out, as opposed to waiting for inspiration to strike — which happens rarely, according to her.
She does have the help of her new band — the Kathryn Koch Band — to explore another side of her songs.
The Kathryn Koch Band consists of Tyler Westcott of Folk Faces on bass, Jeff Schaller of Leroy Townes Band on drums and Sean McNamara of Mosswalk on guitar. In addition to being the lead vocalist, Koch also plays acoustic guitar and harmonica in the band.
They are all very close friends; in fact, Koch, Westcott and Schaller all used to play together in the band Black Rock Zydeco.
Koch has had the opportunity to collaborate with several musicians in Buffalo over the years. She’s played some shows with Folk Faces and the Leroy Townes Band, worked with singer-songwriter Alison Pipitone and currently plays in The Healing Committee, an Americana vocal trio.
According to Koch, there’s no better place to be a local musician than Buffalo.
“It’s a very nurturing place to be a musician. There’s not really any competitiveness, at least not in the kind of music that I’m playing,” she said.
“The musicians in Buffalo are very collaborative. The guys in my band all play in other bands, we’re all friends with each other, we all have each other on our bills and promote each other’s shows.”
On March 21, Koch and Alan Whitney of The Healing Committee played a livestream show together. The full Kathryn Koch Band was scheduled to celebrate the release of “The Single Girl” with a special show at the Sportsmen’s Tavern on March 28, but that show was postponed. Look for that to be rescheduled.
Another collaboration Koch is proud of is with a local activist, graphic designer and photographer, Michelle Perkins.
Perkins designed the cover art for “The Single Girl” as well as a series of bags available for sale on Koch’s website.
All of the profits from the first 100 copies of “The Single Girl” sold have been donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.
It’s clear that with Kathryn Koch, there’s a lot of passion behind everything she does — and what you see is what you get.
You can’t put a price on that.