Not A Proper Girl

Model: KO001

SKU: 379418 Product ID: 270505

Format ‐ CD

Genre ‐ Popular

Release Date ‐ 13/03/20


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    A singer with a poetic, restrained intensity, Kate Owen has been songwriting for twenty years and performing live for a decade, but until now has never recorded an album. Her sound ranges from stripped-back laments to 90’s pop anthems. Her debut album ‘Not A Proper Girl’ showcases Owen’s songs with rich textures including synth and strings, and strong rhythmic pulses from live kits and drums machines.


    Kate Owen was born Kate Anastasiou into a Greek/Romanian community in Wellington. Her father was a refugee from Romania, and her mother was Barbara Owen, a teacher from Nae Nae. After suffering a long, hideous battle with multiple sclerosis and depression, Barbara took her own life in 1996. In the aftermath, Kate’s song writing and music became a way to process and work through the trauma and grief that followed her mother’s suicide. Having been such a major influence in her need for music, Kate chose to take her mother’s maiden name as her
    artist name. And so, her mother lives on in her songs, in her writing, in her name and in her heart.
    It was her mother that took her, at the age of ten, to Ngati Poneke marae in Wellington where she picked up the guitar for the first time. Fast forward three years and she’d written her first song. But as a daughter of a refugee who valued security, there was always pressure to succeed and to prove herself. This meant having a stable career
    and a ‘real’ job. Music was never an option. So, it was learned and studied in secret. When she made time. In the gaps and cracks of the ‘real’ world: the world that had her bouncing from job to job all over the globe trying to find her place. But thankfully, in 2009, she found her place in Lyttleton; a hub of musical inspiration and creative energy. There she thrived as an artist and found her voice. Her own real world. Choosing to remain after earthquakes flattened the city. Performing full time amidst the broken buildings as pop ups and rebuild venues started to appear.

    Kate watched local musicians go from strength to strength, each success fueling her own desire to share her story through music. Until finally, she teamed up with renowned producer, Ben Edwards of; Marlon Williams, Delaney Davidson and Aldous Harding fame - who also happened to live just up the road.
    Self-conscious of her age, she was shocked when he agreed to record her music. But the ever-woke, Ben simply said; ‘I want to work with you because of your age. I want to hear what a woman recording for the first time at your age, with your history, has to say.’ And so, began a wonderful collaboration resulting in ‘Not A Proper Girl’: an album with a sound that has been likened to PJ Harvey and Julee Cruise (Twin Peaks), with a lyrical style echoing Jeff Buckley. The talented ensemble of artists to add their unique styles are: Jonty O’Connor on drums
    (Shifting Sands, Emily Fairlight), Anita Clarke on strings (Motte, Devilish Mary), Elmore Jones on bass and guitar (Adam Hattaway & The Haunters) and Moses on guitar (House of Mountain, Jed Parsons). And given the Instrumentation on this album ranges from a crashing full band, to stripped back tracks with just keys and vocal suggests a freedom to explore, and do what any artist loves to do, try stuff out.

    Kate verifies this, enthusing ‘One of the most exciting things about making this album for me was that Ben was up for anything. I took in a crazy range of demos with everything from arpeggiated synth to midi guitar leads’. She pauses. Looks me dead in the eye and dry as week old bread says, ‘kind of hoping it would make me sound like Prince.’ I’m left thinking what any of us would give to sound like Prince. But back to Ben, ‘He embraced it all, and if it didn’t work, we’d rip it all out and start from scratch’, her eyes light up, ‘getting to play and create music with such freedom was intoxicating.’

    Themes of isolation and grief run strong throughout the album. Song writing was how Kate worked through all life’s struggles: not feeling feminine enough as a young woman; losing her mother to mental illness and then suicide; never having children of her own; and in her own words her ‘disillusionment with romantic love as the modern holy grail of human connection’: the first single on the album to be released, Lullaby, explores just this.
    Another cruel friend to rear its ugly head is shame. That little talked about and mostly hidden emotion, insidiously linked to suicide and a slew of illnesses seldom discussed, ‘My mother’s death was devastating and made me feel like, not a proper girl. There was a lot of shame around being a daughter that a mother could abandon so completely. My song, Trigger, looks at the damage left behind when someone kills themselves’. She is quick to add, ‘But my songs offer comfort too. The last track on the album, Clean, recognizes that everyone has their own battle to fight…I’m also proud to have told my story now, standing at this place in time, as a woman and a human.’
    Kate had already established herself in Christchurch via the live music circuit as Kate Anastasiou, but for this album; Not a Real Girl, a new artist emerged – a woman bravely determined to speak her truth, ‘I wanted to start afresh creatively. And taking my mother’s maiden name felt like a really powerful thing to do both as a woman and as a daughter that misses her mum very much.’ And from one motherless daughter to another, I one hundred percent concur.


    Primary Format - Music - CD

    Artist - OWEN, KATE

    Label - Southbound

    Music Genre - Popular

    Music Genre Primary - Pop & Rock

Track Listing


  1. The Void
  2. Lover
  3. Trigger
  4. Lullaby
  5. Hungry Ghost
  6. Heathens Prayer
  7. Better Man
  8. Blew Away
  9. Dangerous Dreams
  10. Red Rose
  11. Ask The stars
  12. Clean

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