The Deli Philly's Featured Artist Poll Winner: Kate Dressed Up

By: Alexis V.

May 11, 2018

Philly singer-songwriter Katie Miller, a.k.a. Kate Dressed Up, first caught our attention when she released a music video for “I Wish” (below), a transatlantic folk-fusion collaboration with London-based Ganda Boys. The wistful nature of the song and its mellifluous harmonies and melodies transported us away from the abrasive sounds of the city, if only for a moment. Miller has been quite active, of late – recently winning our Featured Artist Poll and wrapping up an April residency (hosted by Lost Compass). She’ll also be kicking off her Midwest Tour with Elaine Rasnake this evening at The Pharmacy, backed by a full band. However, before all this takes place, take a moment to get to know Kate Dressed Up.

The Deli: How did you start making music? 

Kate Miller: I grew up in a house where music was playing constantly - everything from Chuck Berry to The Beach Boys to Celine Dion. I started piano lessons at age 7, and I first picked up a guitar around 10 years old. My dad, who is also a musician, taught me a few chords, and from there, I taught myself how to play, using chord charts on the internet. Early on, I taught myself all of Green Day's American Idiot from a chord book. I started writing music in my teens, and it was something that I always did for myself. Eventually, I decided to start performing my songs for people, and along the way, Kate Dressed Up came into being.

TD: Where did the name Kate Dressed Up come from? 

KM: Well, my real name is too common to find in a Google search, so I knew I needed some other moniker for my solo art. Kate Dressed Up sort of came into my mind out of thin air, and it just felt right. I think it has something to do with my art being the part of me that I like to show off, but I'm not really sure. It's hard to explain, but I know it fits my music perfectly.

TD: What are your biggest musical influences?

KM: My biggest musical influences are folk artists, for the most part. The big three are Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan. Some of my contemporary influences include Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, and Fleet Foxes. I listen to a ton of different kinds of music, but those are the artists that I always come back to over time.

TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

KM: My favorite local artist right now is Foxanne (NYC), who is about to release her first EP, Halfling. Foxanne has the most beautiful voice I have heard in a while, and her songs are incredible. She has two singles out right now off her upcoming record, and they're gorgeous. My friend Wallace (PHL) just put out a super catchy rock and roll single called “Sunny Monday” that's been stuck in my head for a few weeks now too. Other than that, I've been getting into the most recent Dispatch album and listening to lots of Fleetwood Mac.

TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

KM: The first concert I ever attended was at NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. I saw Alicia Keys with my mom and cousin when she released The Diary of Alicia Keys. I think it was for my 13th birthday or something. I remember it being a really amazing time and being captivated getting to watch somebody perform music right there in front of me. The first album I ever bought was The Eminem Show, but my dad would only let me get the clean version. I still love that album, and have since listened to the explicit version.

TD: What do you love about Philly?

KM: I love that there are so many different parts of Philly, and each one is totally distinct from the rest. It's been fun getting to know the different neighborhoods since I moved into the area a few years ago. I also love the music scene, of course. There are a lot of opportunities for local artists to connect with one another and perform lots of different places, especially at the DIY level.

TD: What do you hate about Philly?

KM: The potholes and the Parking Authority. And being away from my family.

TD: What are your plans for 2018?

KM: I'll be releasing a music video for a new single sometime this spring that is preceding what I'm hoping will be my first full length record by the end of the year. I've also been booking some DIY tours for myself up through New England, then out to Chicago with Elaine Rasnake (PHL), and then to North Carolina with my drummer Chris in June. 

TD: What was your most memorable live show?

KM: It was the kick off date of my residency with Lost Compass, which I'm lucky enough to work closely with. I booked all three dates myself, and I really had no idea what to expect. Mostly, I was just hoping that the other artists on the bill would have a full room to play to. This weekend we had a packed house before the music even started, and it stayed that way to the end of the night. The rest of the artists on the bill were absolutely amazing, and everyone who came seemed to have a really good time. I also got to play with my full band, which is my cousin and two best friends, so there was a lot of love in the room that night. It was the culmination of a lot people's hard work, and I couldn't have asked for a better turnout.

TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?

KM: It varies depending on my mood, but I can always go for a good Italian sub, especially if it's from a deli in North Jersey (where I grew up). I almost never eat cold cuts, but that is my one exception.