I have no idea who I went to see at Hotel Cafe all those years ago, but it was impossible to forget the headline set by Kat Parsons. Impossibly gorgeous and utterly charming, this Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter captivated the audience with basket of haunting and beautiful ballads. I picked up her CD, No Will Power, played the heck out of it for a while… and then I forgot all about her.
Thankfully, she kept in touch with thousands of her much more loyal fans. They Kickstarter’d her close to $20,000 to fund a series of EPs that began rolling out earlier this year. The EP series is a very smart move — they’re affordable and easily digestible for fans; artists are able to steadily build a fanbase over the course of the year; reviewers don’t have to slog through mountains of filler (I’m talking to you Madonna’s MDNA Deluxe Edition). Robyn’s spectacular Body Talk series defined this new business model. This past year, American Idol (and Hotel Cafe) alum, Brooke White, also released a winning trilogy of EPs with her act Jack and White.
Kat Parsons’ sonic leap forward into radio-friendly, sunny day real estate on these EPs is incredible. Talk to Me came first, kicking off with “Fall For It,” a feisty number that would make Kelly Clarkson proud. “Thinking Through” chimes in with a Journey-esque piano chord before setting the stage for Kat’s musical transformation: ”mirrors mirrors everywhere, reflecting back to me/I want to smash each one of them, I’m so tired of what I see.”
Kat Parsons – Differently (to download: PC: right click/save file as • Mac: option/click) is also about moving forward in life. “Right now, I thought I’d have a job and started a 401k, and whatever happened to who I was supposed to be?” EP highlight, “Talk to Me,” is one of those breathtaking ballads I imagine will just kill during a particularly dramatic romantic moment on Glee.
The recently released Oh! EP is even more epic than what came before. It kicks off with the joyous “Love Changes Everything” — an earworm (in the best sense of the word) on par with “Call Me Maybe.” Even the video — a very DIY take on a big Glee musical number — is a pure giddy delight.
The title track and “Let’s Not Be Scared” are spellbinding ballads with hooks that are huge and instantly hummable. EP highlight “What’s Wrong?” hopscotches across the fine lines of indie rock, funk and reggae.
The final EP, It Matters to Me, comes out early next year — and not a moment too soon. But alas, while I am in love with Kat Parsons again, she has moved on in what is easily the best TV actor stalker anthem since Bree Sharp’s “David Duchovny.”