The return of Katie Sutherland


I’ve long supported Katie Sutherland on this blog, right from when I first saw her supporting Emma Pollock over six years ago.

She’s performed as Pearl and the Puppets in that time, but right now she’s back, as Katie, and this is her forthcoming single ‘Canvas.’

You can pre-order the single here

Good to have you back, Katie. Here’s an interview I did back in 2007.

Presenting…Pearl and the Puppets


I’m really chuffed to be writing this.

Nearly three years ago I went along to see Emma Pollock and was blown away not only by her set, but by her support act, one Katie Sutherland. So impressed was I that I posted that she should be signed and I did an interview with her back in September 2007 as well.

Well, she then took the stage name Pearl, signed a big record deal, with Universal and her first single ‘Because I do’ is released a week tomorrow. this is the track I posted in an early form, which has since been used in an ad in Australasia, and it’s great to see an artist that I saw three years ago be poised on the edge of huge success indeed. So, glad to see that I was right, about both artist and song, and glad to see her doing well!

Here are Pearl and the Puppets with ‘Because I Do.’

Reminding youse all…

OK, I know I have blogged about Pearl and the Puppets before, including when she was gigging as Katie Sutherland:

Anyway, this morning I got another email requesting I post ‘Because I Do’ again.

Very happy to oblige. It’s a great song, still my favourite of hers and one I never tire of hearing.

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet round here of late,it’s just been kinda busy…
Katie Sutherland -‘Because I Do.’ mp3< Then go and make friends with Pearl and the Puppets on myspace…

Presenting…Pearl and the Puppets

A year ago, you may remember that I was bigging up a Glaswegian singer-songwriter by the name of Katie Sutherland who I was absolutely blown away by, firstly after I saw her supporting Emma Pollock, and then playing with Penny Century and the Amateurs.

Anyway, she now has a publishing deal, a stage name, Pearl, and a backing band, so here they are, Pearl and the Puppets.

Now I’m normally pretty loath to write about bands I don’t have mp3s for. However, so blown away by these songs am I that I’m going to suggest you head over to her mySpace. If these don’t impact on you, check your pulse. There’s gold in them there vocals…

Pearl and the Puppets’ MySpace

Kate Nash and The Black Kids!

Very frustrated that I am still waiting for my bandwith to be refreshed, despite the fact that today was supposed to be the day it was.


two things I have to share with you:

First of all, 17 Seconds’ favourite scottish unsigned singer, Katie Sutherland has signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell, and emailed me to tell me that today! Yes!!

Secondly, the hotly debated Black Kids -still unsigned as far as I can tell -have already been covered by the fab Kate Nash go here to hear her cover of ‘I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.’

Hopefully I will have bandwith again soon. Grrr…

Interview: Katie Sutherland

Back in May this year, I went along to see Emma Pollock at Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh. The support act that night was Katie Sutherland, who wowed us all from the moment she stepped on stage. Appearing as a solo singer-songwriter with a guitar as a support at gigs anywhere can be tricky: the apathy that support acts may encounter even if they are fully electrified can be made even worse for performers as they get drowned out by people talking. Yet, almost from the second she walked on stage, Katie Sutherland silenced us, drawing us in with her voice and songs.

Last Friday I saw her again, as support to Penny Century at Henry’s Cellar bar in Edinburgh. After another stunning solo set, I got the chance to talk to her and her manager John Gallagher about what they’ve been up to.

In the flesh, she’s a little shy, but very friendly and willing to elaborate on what she’s been up to. Manager John is down-to-earth to, and someone who’s clearly working very hard to get his charge to the top.

Katie was born and raised in Kirkintilloch, where she’s still based, though as she says ‘I’ve been in London quite a lot lately, doing some song writing.’ It was John who helped her to get her career launched by recording her four of her songs and stuck them on MySpace, which as she says ‘went down a treat.’ MySpace has clearly done a lot to help a lot of bands. Whilst not mentioning names, there are those who have made out that they are MySpace successes, but have done it all with the support of a major label. The same cannot be said of Katie, but support from a record label cannot be far away.

She’s clearly been writing a lot of fantastic songs -on Friday night’s gig she’s introduced three new ones into the set, including one that was just finished that day. I can’t resist asking her about ‘Mr. Lecturer,’ which she has been playing at gigs for a few months now, and which is my favourite song of hers. It still hasn’t been recorded, though she has been busy, networking in London and holidaying for two weeks in Mexico, and promises to let me know when it‘s done. She’s also due to play Connect festival the day after we speak, which seems to have gone down well too.

However, London may be where she ends up spending more of her time. For better or worse, it is still the hub of the music scene in the UK. She’s currently in discussion with people in London about both publishing and record deals. She won’t reveal who, though. ‘I probably shouldn’t tell you about that!’ she says, shyly. I wouldn’t want to tempt fate, I tell her, though if she hasn’t got a record deal in the bag by Christmas, then there is something very rotten going on.

As well as playing to record and publishing companies, She’s been collaborating with various people in London, including Marty beddenbrock who co-wrote with Paolo Nutini and Dido, and Paul Statham who has worked with Dido and Kylie Minogue. I ask her if she likes Dido, and she admits that she bought her two albums. John is clearly not a fan. I can’t resist asking if she’s throttled any record executives in London for comparing her to a certain ’brown-haired singer from Fife.’ She and manager John laugh at this -‘I’ll take that as a yes, then. ‘ We’ve got a wee chip going on there,‘ says John casually.

One of the problems that can be thrown up by record companies who have an attitude of ‘We Love You, You’re Perfect, (And We Just Want To Change Everything About You To Make US lots of money). Has she encountered people who want to mould her, and want to her compromise her sound?
’I thought it would be like that,’ she says, ’ but a lot of the record labels have been great. You’ve already written songs and they love it.’
John clarifies: ’ We’re quite clear [about what it is that they are going for in a record contract]. When we go to record companies we say that this is what we’re going for, what can you give us?’

Currently at gigs, Katie performs largely solo, with one or two occasional contributions from John and others. Is she is looking to assemble a live band to play with her?
‘Definitely but just now is ‘writing, writing, writing.’ Occasionally she plays live with other people like Blair ’a MySpace addition’ and John plays ‘when someone can’t fill in for a gig. In terms of live, that’s not what I want to be doing, ’ he explains.

Does she feel any pressure on her to relocate to London, even though there’s a fertile scene in Scotland? ‘It is tempting, actually,’ she says. She talks warmly about London, saying ‘ I really enjoy London, but I don’t know if I could live there. Glasgow’s great, she says, with obvious affection. ‘The music scene’s fantastic!’ Well, we knew that, but of course, she’s now part of it, and hopefully her profile will rise even higher.

So what of actually records of her own? There have been rumours of an EP, a version of which has been sold at gigs.
‘Oh man! The EP’s been delayed,’ she says. ‘But hopefully it will be out in the next couple of months.’

I wrap up the interview. She’s got two more gigs coming up that weekend, and more on later. The friends who were with me to see her supporting Emma Pollock had returned with me that evening. That’s a major vote of confidence in an -as yet-unsigned solo singer, but this state of affairs cannot remain that way for long. See her in small intimate surroundings while you get the chance.
And just for the record, she’s nothing at all like a certain brown-haired singer from Fife. OK?

Katie Sutherland’s MySpace is here. These two tracks of hers should be played to everyone who has ears.

Katie Sutherland -‘Because I Do.’ mp3

Katie Sutherland -‘The Roses.’ mp3

Gig review: Penny Century/Amateurs/Katie Sutherland

Gig review: Penny Century/Amateurs/Katie Sutherland

Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, August 31 2007

It has been an absolutely amazing month of gig-going here at 17 Seconds, with a lot going on. September may be quieter in this respect (it usually this). But this was a great way to bid farewell to the end of a month with so many and seeing two bands I have raved about on here finally and seeing one of the most talented singer-songwriters I have heard in ages on here too. This gig was put on by Edinburgh-based promoters Trampoline, who deserve to be getting more coverage for the hard slog they are doing.

Katie Sutherland blew me away when I saw her supporting Emma Pollock three months ago, and she does so again tonight. Still in her teens, this Kirkintilloch-born and raised singer-songwriter has receiving a lot of interest from South of the border in the last few months. She starts with Mr. Lecturer, whihc was the standout song for me from the last gig (alas, still unrecorded), and also plays three new ones: Mango Tree, Cocktails and a new one that she has apparently just finsihed writing this very day. She tells us that the Roses is about the good things in life ‘like Chips and Cheese and Curry Sauce (girl after my own heart. Apart from the curry sauce). ‘Because I Do’ still lingers too.

Edinburgh’s The Amateurs have some absolutely gorgeous songs on their debut, self-titled album. ‘The Water Of Leith Song’ is perhaps the most gorgeous of the lot live, though ‘Things You Only Know If You Don’t Drive’ is pretty fab too. Singer and Guitarist Seth Chanas has written some amazing songs, but the absolute jewel in the crown is the voice of Sarah Weatherston. Their album is due to be released in the next few weeks, having been completed over a year ago. Friends, Readers, Bloggers, lend it your ears. Though there are one or two troubles due to the fact that they didn’t get a soundtrack (this can play havov for any band, so bear this in mind the next time you are slagging off a support band), this cannot take away from the beauty of the songs.

Penny Century may very well have made one of the best albums of the year in their debut Between A Hundred Lies. I utterly fell for them when I heard their album, and now I fall for them all over again. They look so cool and sound so confident. ‘Too Bitter To Be Charming’ opens the album and it’s ironic, given just how goddamn charming they are, both onstage and off. Live they rock much harder than they do on record (they told me in an interview that they plan their next album to sound more rocky). ‘Between A Hundred Lies’ has a soulful edge that doesn’t come across so much on record. And of course ‘When the City Is waking up’ just melts you. Damn you guys!

An excellent night out from three bands who deserve to be playing bigger venues and taking up residence on your CD player. Penny Century and The Amateurs albums can be ordered from Letterbox Records. There will be interviews with all three acts on here very soon.

mp3s of the bands concerned:

Penny Century -‘Nothing Burns Like Bridges.’ mp3

Penny Century -‘What I never Learned To Say.’ mp3

The Amateurs -‘Cool By Me.’ mp3

The Amateurs -‘Things You Only Know If You Don’t Drive.’ mp3

Katie Sutherland -‘Because I Do.’ mp3

Katie Sutherland -‘The Roses.’ mp3

Katie Sutherland – SIGN HER NOW!

Two days ago, I went to watch Emma Pollock, and came away not only utterly blown away by her, but also by one of her supports: Katie Sutherland (see yesterday’s post).

I have been sent two of her songs as mp3s, which I will post here.

Katie Sutherland-‘Because I Do.’ mp3

Katie Sutherland -‘The Roses.’ mp3

What can I say? The voice grabs you first, the tunes gently take hold of you and when they’ve got you captive it’s the sweetest feeling, as you sing along and wonder why you don’t hear these lass singing out of your radio. If I have anything to do with it – and I’m just a humble blogger in Scotland – but if I can do my bit to raise her profile, I’m going to try.

Pop along to her MySpace site and make friends, if you haven’t already, here

Feedback will, of course, be appreciated!

Gig review: Emma Pollock/Popup/Katie Sutherland

Gig Review: Emma Pollock/Popup/Katie Sutherland

Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

May 14, 2007

It had been a somewhat trying day at school (I teach some of my most, uh, ‘challenging’ classes on a Monday) and one of the things that was getting me through was the thought of going to see Ms. Pollock. I was certainly not disappointed.

The first act of the evening was 19 year old Katie Sutherland. I’ve commented before on this, but sometimes you see Singer-Songwriters appearing solo as the support act to a crowd who ignore them. Ms. Sutherland managed to shush everyone very quickly. Perfectly content to sing in her natural accent, the warmth won us all over so quickly with her own songs like ‘Lower Ground’ and ‘Because I Do.’ There’s an endearing honesty but without the painful over-earnestness that renders so many singer-songwriters of both sexes as just one of the crowd. Katie Sutherland is an original. Her voice blew me, and indeed the soon-to-be Mrs. 17 Seconds away. She’s just about to take a break from university for a few years to try and make a career in music, which she plays a snog ‘Mr. Lecturer’ about. I catch a brief word with her afterwards, and she’s a lovely person who should be giving Isobel Campbell and KT Tunstall a run for their money very, very soon, if there’s any justice. She’s currently unsigned but please, please, PLEASE go to her MySpace, hear her songs, make friends with her -and if you live in Scotland, go and see her.

Blown away as I am by Katie Sutherland, Popup were going to have a lot to live up to. Singer Michale Cross has got a wonderfully thick scottish accent (put it this way – and this is meant as a compliment – he makes Aidan Moffat sound like he speaks with a ‘received pronounciation’ accent). Musically, it’s harder to place them – at first, I think they’re going to be like Arab Strap…then discover I’ve been led astray by his vocals, and they are nothing like that. They go down a rocky avenue that I find hard to get into, but towards the end of their set, when I’m finding i could grow to love thme after all, the reference that springs to mind is the wedding Present.

[Please note, in an attempt to allow her to move on, I will not mention Emma Pollock’s former band. This is no mean feat, given that they are my favourite scottish band ever.]

Emma Pollock wanders on, looking wonderfully relaxed. The ten song set she plays, to a welcoming crowd, takes no songs from her former band, and instead I find very, very quickly that I cannot wait for September and her debut Watch The Fireworks. This is coming out on 4AD, and watching her, I am reminded, yet again, that Emma Pollock is every bit as much an icon as many of those who appeared on that label – Kristin Hersh, Tanya Donelly, Kim Deal et al.. The songs have a lot of piano influence on them, but Pollock’s guitar playing is just as assured. She does ‘Limbs’ with just her and the pianist, and it’s gorgeous. future single ‘Paper and Glue’ and current single ‘Adrenaline’ should be there in those end of year polls. Like, at the top of them, not no. 23 or whatever.

The scottish indie scene has a reputation for being shambolic. Yet Emma Pollock makes light of any moments – I have seen artists of far less stuature go ballistic over the slightest thing, yet she’s not bothered by the roadie who didn;t leave her any plectrums. She has a great repartee that makes us all laugh, talking about how they drove up to do a gig in Aberdeen on Saturday, only to discover the venue was closed.

She encored with ‘The Optimist’, and it’s clear just how brilliant the album should be, and just how damn fine a live act she remains. ‘That was amazing,’ whispers the soon-to-be Mrs. 17 seconods, as we head out the door. It was. come back to edinburgh soon, please.

Emma Pollock’s single Adrenaline can be downloaded from iTunes now, and will be out on 7″ next week (UK anyway).

For now, try this:

Emma Pollock -‘Limbs.’ mp3

Read the Edinburgh Evening News’ review here, if you’re interested