A reformed wild child, in recent years Kate Vargas has traded the party for meditation, yoga, clean eating and a renewed focus on what she values most—her music. The NYC-based artist is building ever more mindfully on her sound, and the music press is taking notice. Vargas has packed houses from Ireland’s Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival to The Troubadour in London, The Mansion on O Street in Washington D.C. to New York’s Bowery Electric. She spent last year touring Germany with her trio, Kate Vargas & The Reckless Daughters.
Her new single, ‘Nothing Turns My Lock’, is a new direction in regards to her Americana roots and her more folk-rock turn with last year’s For The Wolfish & Wandering. That acclaimed release featured Vargas’ moody and deeply personal songs that wove stories from her life with tales she soaked up from literature and also the rich oral folklore tradition with which she grew up.
‘Nothing Turns My Lock’ was born from a week-long February 2018 stay at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Led by prolific songwriter Pat Macdonald, it’s the world's only fully operational motel featuring live music, collaborative songwriting retreats and a radio station that exclusively broadcasts the music created within its own walls. While at the hotel during a songwriting week branded as “Love on Holiday,” Vargas co-wrote the jazzy treatise on being open to love in all forms with Andrea Wittgens and Jerod Kaszynski who she was paired with by the spin of a bottle, based on a piece of art that was also chosen by the bottle’s spin.
“We were inspired by the art piece, “Relations” by Chelsea Littman. It's an installation with a bunch of frames and in each frame, there are different configurations of locks and keys - some are two locks and a key and then one lock and two keys, or five keys and a lock. I wrote it with Andrea, who also happens to be my neighbor and good friend and Jerod, who’s a killer sax player. We got to talking about jazzy stuff and decided to take it that direction. We wanted to play around with this really classic sound but make it a bit more current. Those old standards tend to be pretty hetero and monogamous and we wanted to expand that”