Capri Scarcelli | a&e editor
Jan. 27, 2022
In college, it’s difficult to follow your creative pursuits when it seems as though there is no time to.
For Duquesne student Katelyn Denman, however, songwriting has become a new passion that has led her to publish a single on streaming platforms.
“Flower” was released on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms on Jan. 14. Through Distrokid, a website for independently produced music distribution, Denman was able to upload her single to be pre-saved for release.
The song itself reflects a concept that everyone can relate to, even without a specific storyline to follow, according to Denman.
“Everyone can add their own ideas to it. Everyone is going through something, but they will always have someone there for them,” Denman said. “I was thinking of symbolic things in nature and decided on flowers, especially with the lines ‘bloom into a flower, you beautiful disaster,’ then made a story from there.”
Starting as a hobby her freshman year, Denman found that she wanted to expand her talents out of her comfort zone, using her knowledge as a piano player and singer to try the art form in a new way.
“Piano used to be a big outlet for me. Now that it is more like a job, song-writing has become something like a hobby for me, something fun for me to do,” Denman said. “It was a good way to let out some emotion, collaborate with people, and it gave me exposure.”
Denman said the learning process of producing original music was a difficult one, though worth the effort to fulfill her vision. Starting off with soft piano chords and vocals, her and her friend, music tech major Tyler Herholdt, were able to add technological instrumentation such as electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass and harmonies.
According to Denman, this single was also a project she could add to her running portfolio as a music student.
Denman’s professor, Dr. Doerksen, schedules meetings to oversee student progress, where Denman was able to give a shout out to her single. In the meeting, she was able to show the first scraps of sheet music that turned into a fully-produced work.
“I am currently working on a few other projects which I am excited to release. I have a lot of different genres I have been working with — like I have one with a jazzier tune, another with strings, so I think I will start out by releasing singles until the songs seem to combine together into an EP,” Denman said.
“A lot of the creative process is finding your new outlet,” Denman said. “Through music education, you are forced to improvise, write your own arrangements and sometimes you are able to produce for fun, whether that be learning a new instrument or trying a new genre. My outlet became song-writing.”
Denman said that before college, she had no inspiration to write her own music.
“My main thing was playing piano and singing in the choir, I never thought to write a song,” Denman said. “I went to a private school, and music wasn’t really a strong suit there. I felt like an outcast in the music world, but coming here I noticed everyone was trying new things, so I thought I would come out of my comfort zone [with music] too, and I ended up liking it a lot.”
As advice to aspiring singer-songwriters, Denman puts it simply and precisely: “go for it.”
“You have nothing to lose. I never thought that I could do it, but I didn’t know until I actually tried. People can do more than they say they can,” Denman said. “Even if you aren’t a music person, if you write all of your lyrics down, they don’t have to rhyme, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Letting out your emotions, talking to a music person, even just sitting down at a piano and seeing what you can do. You have to be willing.”
Denman’s single “Flower” is available for streaming now on Spotify and Apple Music, and listeners can look forward to more music to come.