A&E

Singer-Songwriter Katie Ekin Returns to Santa Cruz and to Making Music

Writing process helped her work through emotions around a move and breakup

Katie Ekin’s new single ‘Come on Back to Me’ is an intense breakup song that came out of moving from Santa Cruz to Seattle, only to see her relationship fall apart afterward.

When Katie Ekin moved back to Santa Cruz, she found a recording she’d made while up in Seattle, where she lived for a year. It was a song she’d forgotten about, one that documented the raw emotions and intimate details of her recent breakup.

Upon listening to it with fresh ears, she decided that it should be released, though she also knew it wasn’t finished.

“It was right in the thick of things, while experiencing loss and heartbreak. The song turned from pure sadness to a little bit of anger,” Ekin says.

She finished the song “Come On Back To Me,” with the addition of a final verse that evoked the healing she’d gone through since moving back to Santa Cruz, and released it last month. Along with two upcoming singles, “Wild Thoughts” and “Remember You Like That,” it represents a return to music for her.

“Once I moved back to Santa Cruz, I really started to write again. I used to write new songs every week. When I was in Washington, I think I wrote maybe three songs in an entire year, which is really weird for me,” Ekin says.

The process of writing “Come On Back To Me,” helped her work through the heaviness of her emotions around the breakup she’d gone through after moving to Seattle in 2018. She even showed it to her ex—and he was very supportive, she says.

“We’re definitely on good terms. He’s heard the song back in the beginning stages of it getting recorded,” Ekin says. “One great thing with him is he was very supportive of music and me doing that. Just making sure he heard it and knew it was going to come out was important.”

Once she got that song off her chest, she started writing more regularly. Last year, she met up with her friend and producer Andy Kong, and showed him 20 songs she’d either recently written or had been waiting to record. They whittled these down to the ten best, then down again to the three she is currently releasing. They both liked how they tied in thematically.

“I think they’re different stages of relationships,” Ekin says. “The next song doesn’t have a sad feeling. It’s more of a sultry, soulful song and more relates to being in a relationship. The third song is even more of a conclusion. It still has a sad feel, but it’s more powerful.”

The recording process for these three songs began before the pandemic, but wasn’t finished when the shelter-in-place orders were given in mid-March. So it was a slow, challenging process to finish them up, working remotely with Kong.

As she goes into this year, she still has seven more songs from that batch of ten that she may or may not record. She continues to adjust to the new rules of the pandemic and use music as a tool for healing.

“In the moment [I wrote “Come On Back To Me”] it was just me getting out the first emotions that I was dealing with. And by the time I finished it, I realized that my healing had come to a good place,” Ekin says. “I’ve always written very personally, and it definitely has helped me heal. But it also plays other roles in my life. With any sort of emotion, having kind of a soundtrack going. Music has done that throughout my life. Healing is a big one, but definitely other things as well.” 

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