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Q&A: The artist formerly known as Katie Faith O’Neill


Katie Faith O’Neill, who now performs as ktfaithful, started performing ukulele covers in high school and uploading videos on YouTube. She is performing at 3 p.m. April 6at the Pourhouse Cafe and will be this year’s opener at Culture Shock on April 20. Photo courtesy of Claire Mahoney Buy Photos

Katie Faith O’Neill, who now performs as ktfaithful, is an IU media major who got her start performing ukulele covers in high school and uploading videos on YouTube.

She is performing at 3 p.m. April 6 at the Pourhouse Cafe and will be this year’s opener at Culture Shock at 12 p.m. April 20. The Indiana Daily Student sat down with her to ask some questions.

IDS: Are you excited for Culture Shock?

KO: Yes. I’m kind of nervous but also really excited because it’s my first actual performance as me being ktfaithful. And I usually would always do cover songs, so this is the first time I’m actually doing a bunch of original stuff.

Yeah, I’ve seen some of your YouTube covers. I stalked you a little bit to prepare for this.

I don’t post YouTube videos anymore. That’s what I actually wanted to do when I was younger. I was like, “I’m gonna be a famous YouTuber!” But then I realized music is probably more my thing.

So you said you haven’t done live shows before?

Well, in high school I did a lot for fundraisers and stuff. And I would just do ukulele and cover songs, so I guess that’s like a performance but it was really chill. It’s just different because back then I didn’t write my own music. So it’ll just be a different kind of vibe, because I have to present myself in my music and not just like, replicate someone else.

So who is the self you present in your music? Who is the artist known as ktfaithful?

Well, I used to just go by Katie Faith O’Neill, and it was just piano songs and acoustic stuff, and that’s how I started writing my music, but then I felt like it didn’t really fit what I wanna do. Because I wanna do more electronic stuff because the people that I listen to aren’t usually going into, like, synthy stuff, and my full name didn’t really fit that. But ktfaithful, I’m not trying to use it like how Beyoncé does Sasha Fierce. It’s kind of like that, but not really because it’s still me. I also wanted to push me to become a more outgoing version of myself.

So when did you start playing music?

I first started singing literally in kindergarten, probably because I went to Catholic school my whole life, so choir was a big thing. I would do the psalms every Sunday, which is like a solo in mass each week. And as I got older, they started giving me more of them, and I wasn’t that good at first, but then my parents kept listening and were like, “Wait, you’re kind of good at singing.” I would just listen to the stuff my Mom would listen to, like Shania Twain or ‘80s disco. And then in 5th grade, I discovered alternative music. I was on YouTube and clicking on random suggestions and it just blew my mind, like “Woah, electronic music is so cool.” That’s what started inspiring me to want to be an artist. The idea of everyone listening to my songs was so cool to me. I didn’t know any instruments at the time, but then my mom was like, “You need to start doing that or else you can’t make it. You can’t just get discovered and not play an instrument.” So I started playing piano, ukulele and guitar.

So how would you describe your music if you could put it into a genre?

It’s kind of evolved recently into something completely different from what it used to be. It used to be kind of a Birdie, piano stuff, ballady, heart-wrenching. But now I’m going for more of a pop, dancey feel. It’s not too out there for the average person. I want anyone to be able to enjoy it regardless of what kind of music they listen to. I really like listening to female vocalists a lot, who produce and make their own music.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Marina and the Diamonds is my favorite artist. No one ever knows her when I say her name. I guess she’s Marina now. I loved her persona and that she would dress up a certain way. I’ve always loved the idea of creating your own image, like brand kind of, like a cohesive aesthetic. It’s cool to finally find your own style and perfect it. I used to love The Neighbourhood when I was in high school. The lead singer, Jesse Rutherford, he’s really cool because he plays with femininity and masculinity a lot.

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