October 19, 2005
Jakalope singer more than a pretty face
By SHERRI WOOD - Toronto Sun
Just four years ago, Katie Biever, a small-town girl who grew up on the family farm, was working as a receptionist at a music studio in Vancouver.
There, she caught the eye of a world-renowned producer.
She's now known as simply Katie B., a.k.a. the face of Jakalope, one of the biggest collaborative projects to hit the industrial music scene in years. They play the Phoenix on Saturday.
"I can't even remember what my life was like before Jakalope," Katie B. says during a recent interview at the Sun.
"I do really love that I grew up on a farm because it taught me a lot about hard work. I was tough when I was a kid. But the city life has definitely softened me. I love travelling and doing the big-city girl things now. It's exciting."
Now 23, Katie B. says her family and friends from her hometown of Airdrie, Alta., are all very supportive of her career, even if her brand of industrial electro-rock isn't really their thing.
"They're farmers -- they love country music -- but they embrace what I'm doing and come to the shows if they can," she says.
"They do love Jakalope's music because the lyrics I've written are right from the heart."
After being discovered by producer Dave Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, David Bowie, Motley Crue), the brain behind Jakalope, Katie B. was given the opportunity to write lyrics for the group -- which includes a roster of about 37 familiar musicians, including Trent Reznor and several members of Sloan.
They released their debut album, It Dreams, and its first single, Pretty Life, last year.
"The writing is what I feel most proud of and I wouldn't have had it any other way," Katie B says.
"I'm proud of the fact that I wasn't just given something to sing -- I know it's absolutely me."
The petite, soft-spoken singer says she sometimes forgets how rare it is to see a female -- especially one as young and Canadian as she -- in the hard rock world.
"Sometimes when I turn on the radio and realize I was the only girl played in the last hour, then it hits me," says Katie B., who happened to be the only girl on this year's Edgefest bill.
"There aren't a lot of girls in rock. It's a male-dominated industry. I guess girls feel they need to be sexy, and pop music is better for that."
Katie B. insists she's "been careful" about keeping the pressure to be "sexy" at bay.
"I won't wear a bikini to sell an album. My pictures aren't even included with the CD because we wanted the music to sell itself," she says.
"But I'm not afraid to be a girl. I'll wear a skirt on stage or whatever. It's about finding your comfort level as a girl (while) managing in a guy's industry."
And if anyone understands the old boys rock club at this point, it's Katie B. She's no stranger to being the only girl, whether it be on tour or in the Jakalope camp, seeing as she's got almost 40 dudes to accompany her.
"They look out for me -- they've been through it all -- but it's like having a bunch of brothers and dads," she said.
"Sometimes I'm like, 'Leave me alone, he's cute and I want to talk to him!' But, it's great -- they're overprotective but in the best possible way."