Kat Factor, Tannery resident and musician, is described as a “classically trained songstress in the folk-jazz-indie-electro fusion arts.” Her art form doesn’t end there: Kat is interested in how music can be used as a vehicle for social change. We caught up with Kat in between international travels to learn more. 

What’s the best part of living at the Tannery?

I’m super psyched to be a part of this artist community. It’s exciting to be at home and be surrounded by people living artfully. In my hallway alone, there’s musician Marty O’Reilly, painter NoMē Edonna, painter Elijah Pfotenhauer, and so many other incredible artists. My young daughter gets to take dance classes, art classes with Linda Cover, and is basically immersed in the arts. 

 

What are some challenges for working artists in Santa Cruz?

The music scene in Santa Cruz can be tough. Many hours of preparation, talent and expertise go into performances, and you have to travel for gigs. People here don’t have large budgets to pay musicians a living wage, and someone will always play for less money. Yet you would never think to ask your mechanic for a bargain. Santa Cruz artists also contribute to our community by putting on community events, education, and doing outreach that isn’t compensated. 

Kat Factor performing at Ebb & Flow 2019 at Tannery Arts Center

How has the Tannery enabled you to grow as an artist?

I was living on the west side of Santa Cruz, in a house with a group of people as a single mom. When my rent was significantly increased, I thought I couldn’t live in Santa Cruz anymore. My name came up on the Tannery waiting list just a few weeks later. Living at the Tannery, I could fully immerse myself in my career instead of taking time away from the music with other jobs. This has opened up new opportunities that I couldn’t have taken otherwise– to fully live as an artist. I am able to tour all over the world because I have this foundation. I can come back to my Santa Cruz community and sink my feet into the soil.

 

What’s next for your musical career?

I’m embarking on a musical journey with other musicians called “The Lost Art of Listening” tour. We travel all over the world, opening with an active listening workshop that teaches how to experience sound and music in new ways. We host a listening party and perform a live show at the end. We reach out to foster homes and underprivileged schools as part of our tour. 

We aim to bring new awareness and consciousness to the art of listening. As artists we believe we have a responsibility to say something worth listening to. Music has the potential for helping and healing communities, and leaving a positive impact on the world. We want to transform musical culture in a way that leaves lasting effects, inspires other artists to move through the industry in a different way, and not sacrifice our values as musicians.

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