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SAY Award-winning singer/songwriter Kathryn Joseph brings From When I Wake – a collaboration with Glasgow company Cryptic Theatre – to Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

By Kyle Walker

FROM within the confines of her music, Kathryn Joseph crafts whole worlds.

The award-winning singer/songwriter, born in Inverness, has made a name for herself with her hauntingly piano and abstract lyricism through two albums – 2015’s SAY award-winning Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, and last year’s From When I Wake the Want Is.

Filled with vivid imagery of blood and bone and soil, one cannot help but conjure up the images she paints in her songs.

And now her songs have been brought properly into a visual world, thanks to the involvement of Glasgow theatre company Cryptic – who have brought her sophomore album to life with their staging and set design.

After a first series of shows last summer, the show is being revived – with a date in Inverness lined up.

“Josh Armstrong who is the director of Cryptic, he liked my music and wanted to do something with me,” Kathryn explained. “And then it kind of coincided with Rock Action releasing the second record which would have been the same time that Cryptic wanted to do the show, so it just suddenly turned into ‘Please could you be my tour for when I release the record.’

“I feel they created everything in the darkest parts of me that I hate and love at the same time and they made that into a small set. It’s full of mirrors and wine glasses and magnifying glasses and things like that.

“So yeah, I love it. My favourite thing about it is how it looks, but it’s also – I hate how I look so it’s very weird being surrounded by mirrors and I can see myself in lots of different directions. But it’s character building isn’t it, that kind of thing?”

For all the abstraction of her music and songs, Kathryn is always frank about herself in conversation – soft-spoken and honest without ever being harsh.

She’s also a delightfully chatty person on stage between songs – a trait that has had to be pulled back for this staging. “When we did this show before I was definitely looking forward to gigs where I would wear my own gigs or feel a bit more like myself.

“But weirdly now from doing so many gigs on my own and wearing my own clothes, having free rein to chat between songs – which is apparently my new thing, that I really need to get a grip and rein it in.

“So it’s quite nice to now, this show, I don’t talk at all and it’s like, ‘aw, that’s better – back to being really creepy and unfriendly, that’s better’ on stage.

“Definitely swear less and talk about s******* myself less on stage, which is much better!” she added, laughing.

This staging of From When I Wake at Eden Court on Wednesday comes at an excellent time for fans, with the album – nominated for this year’s SAY Award – celebrating the anniversary since its release last Saturday. “Oh my goodness! So it is! I didn’t even realise that! That is so weird!

“I still feel quite proud of it, it’s strange. I feel very comforted by it. Most of the time I’ve been playing the songs I’ve been doing them in order again, in album order, and I still really love that I’m able to do it like that.

“The fact that we’re nominated for a SAY Award again is so beautiful, and just really...yeah.”

I feel they created everything in the darkest parts of me that I hate and love at the same time and they made that into a small set.

And that affection bleeds into the individual songs. “I don’t hate my songs yet – that’s strange for me, I expected to hate them a lot more by now!

“But I still like my human child, so that’s all that matters, doesn’t it? I sometimes hate my songs a little bit, but I always like – hm, do I? Well, not always, but she’s pretty.

“So yeah, but she still doesn’t know that she’s on it, which is a little bit of a worry. She’s probably going to, because she’s not very keen on going ‘onto the internet’ as she calls it, so yeah. She doesn’t know her wee voice is on it, so yeah. Going to try and keep that hidden for another year!”

The nomination for the SAY Award is a particular delight – marking the third time she has been nominated – twice as a solo artist and once as part of Out Lines.

And Kathryn, despite her every musical release being critically acclaimed, is still getting used to people’s kindness. “Everyone’s so nice! Everyone’s so nice to me!

“That’s what was so weird about being worried about doing this job is that I thought people wouldn’t. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle people saying horrible truths to me or writing horrible truths, and I really got off quite lightly.

“I think I should stop now before, because it’s bound to get brutal any day, but yeah – I feel really lucky that it’s only very occasionally that someone isn’t that kind. And it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would because there are so many other people being nice.”

And after a summer of festivals, these upcoming shows, and more to come, she has much more of it to get used to. “Yeah – it’s so weird because I still, it’s almost like I still expect people not to come, I’m still, I don’t think I’ll ever have that feeling of, ‘Oh, this is what I do!’ I still find it weird that people like it, so I think probably the kind of brain,

“I mean I’m trapped in that, I don’t imagine it changing, but yeah. I think that’s maybe more healthy than thinking you’re great. I definitely like people who think they’re great less than people who don’t realise they might be okay.”

Kathryn Joseph brings From When I Wake (in collaboration with Cryptic Theatre) to Eden Court on Wednesday. The performance begins at 8pm and tickets cost £16 (£14 concession). Go to www.kathrynjoseph.co.uk

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