Florida-based Blues/Soul singer Kat Riggins talks about the late great Dr. Maya Angelou, music and her new album

"I find that in my case, the key to a life well lived is knowing what brings me joy and allowing that for myself. It's living according to what I KNOW my purpose is. It's loving out loud. It's understanding that every breath I take is a blessing… every moment, a gift. The ultimate key to a “life well lived" is to be grateful for it ALL!"

Kat Riggins: The Sound of Spiritual Lineage

“When it came to this record, the key words were ‘ACKNOWLEDGE’ and ‘HONOR,’” contemporary blues/soul singer Kat Riggins proclaims about her new CD, Progeny, releasing June 24th on Gulf Coast Records. To bring Kat Riggins’ musical vision to life on the new album, Gulf Coast Records founder/guitarist Mike Zito assembled a sparkling list of talented musicians to back Kat’s powerful, sassy vocals, including Zito, himself, on guitars, Matthew Johnson on drums, Doug Byrkit on bass guitar, and Lewis Stephens on keyboards, augmented with special guests Melody Angel on guitar (“Woahman”), Albert Castiglia on guitar (“My City”) and Busta Free on rap break (“My City”).

(Kat Riggins / Photo by Dennica Pearl Worrell)

Dr. Maya Angelou said, “You can't really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” With this album, Kat Riggins chose to honor that belief by paying tribute to her upbringing. In 12 original songs and a single a cappella gospel interlude, Kat kept with that theme and allowed her Spirit and spirit guides to have complete control when writing these songs. Progeny is compiled of songs about love, pain, passion and anger. It's Kat’s personal testimony of strength, peace, joy, God and so much more! These songs run the gamut between sweet soul-blues ballads to high-energy blues- rockers, with Kat's M.O. the same throughout. Whether it's a blues-funk party scene that moves your booty or a heart- breaking soul stirrer that moves your spirit, Kat wrote these songs to move the listener from a place of truth!

Interview by Michael Limnios                      Kat Riggins, 2020 Interview @ blues.gr

Where does your creative drive come from?

Most people know that I am a very spiritual person. I believe it's that inner spirit that drives me creatively. It's where my both my inspiration and my ambition come from.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

I find that in my case, the key to a life well lived is knowing what brings me joy and allowing that for myself. It's living according to what I KNOW my purpose is. It's loving out loud. It's understanding that every breath I take is a blessing… every moment, a gift. The ultimate key to a “life well lived" is to be grateful for it ALL!

Currently you’ve one more release with Gulf Coast Records. How did that relationship come about?

My relationship with Gulf Coat Records began around the middle of 2019. The way I understand it, they had expressed some interest in working with me after my agent at the time put a bug in their ear about me. What I'm told also worked in my favor, is that Albert Castiglia was VERY vocal about all the reasons they should sign me. I love that dude! Anyway, GCR and I began chatting virtually just to get to know each other and see if it might be a good fit. We made it official in January of 2020 when I recorded ‘Cry Out’!

"Dr. Angelou was a truth teller! That's not an easy thing to be, yet it seemed effortless for her. Personally, Dr. Angelou’s words continue to inspire me because she used her words thoughtfully and fearlessly. She understood their power and she was obedient to her calling by using her words in ways that would EMpower!" (Kat Riggins / Photo by Dennica Pearl Worrell)

Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album "Progeny"?

I don’t necessarily have an interesting story, per say. I DO have an interesting little tidbit that I can share though! Making a new album is always an interesting process for me, especially since I don't play an instrument. So, what usually happens is that I sing the lyrics and melody to the musicians and they compose the music around what I sing. Sometimes I'll have a specific bassline or guitar lick in mind, and I'll sing that to them as well and then we take it from there. This time around it was more about how the songs needed to FEEL. In ‘Progeny', I am the most vulnerable and expressive that I've been on a record yet. The interesting thing was describing a FEELING to Mike and the other musicians in the studio and experiencing how they translated that sonically!

What touched you from the late great Dr. Maya Angelou's quote: "You can't really know where you are going until you know where you have been.”?

What touched me the most about that particular quote is how accurate I'm finding that it is. There are things that used to perplex me about myself. As I navigate through my 40’s I am connecting more and more with myself. I'm digging deeper into my ancestry and exploring my biological AND spiritual lineage. The more I learn, the more I start to make sense of myself and the more I grow into who I'm becoming! It's not about living in the past or anything like that. To me, this quote is more about understanding the past so that we can not only experience a better future, but so that we can appreciate it when we get there.

Why do you think that Dr. Maya Angelou's words continues to generate such a devoted following?

Dr. Angelou was a truth teller! That's not an easy thing to be, yet it seemed effortless for her. Personally, Dr. Angelou’s words continue to inspire me because she used her words thoughtfully and fearlessly. She understood their power and she was obedient to her calling by using her words in ways that would EMpower!

"Most people know that I am a very spiritual person. I believe it's that inner spirit that drives me creatively. It's where my both my inspiration and my ambition come from." (Kat Riggins / Photo by Dennica Pearl Worrell)

What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? How do you want the music to affect people?

Prayerfully, when people listen to my music, they take from it exactly what they need. Whether that's hope, pride, peace, joy, comfort… I want them to be inspired and moved to be better to themselves, to each other, to this planet… I want them to FEEL!

In your opinion, what is the biggest revolution which can be realized today? What do you think the major changes will be in near or far future of the world?

I strongly believe that the most significant revolution that we can experience today is the realization that we need each other. It sounds overly simple and extremely naïve, but it's true. I'm my opinion, a huge part of what ails this world is our selfishness. It's the “every man for himself“ notion that's keeping us from manifesting the world that this one was MEANT to be. The weight of the world is much easier to carry if we do it TOGETHER.

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