Katie Bejsiuk Solo: “More songwriting-based, more chill.” (7/19 at JB’s)

“I am interested in healing, freedom, tenderness in relationships…  I think about lyrics first and then build the song around that,” says Katie Bejsiuk.  Bejsiuk is the former frontperson...

“I am interested in healing, freedom, tenderness in relationships…  I think about lyrics first and then build the song around that,” says Katie Bejsiuk.  Bejsiuk is the former frontperson of Philly-based indie poppers Free Cake For Every Creature, who released her solo debut, The Woman on the Moon, last month courtesy of Double Double Whammy.  While her latest sounds resemble the kinds of things Bejsiuk was doing prior to Free Cake, the themes come with the maturity gained over the course of those years.  “Free Cake For Every Creature was very band-centered, just like rock songs: two guitars, bass drums.  Sometimes it was fun to play at college houses and stuff, but Katie Bejsiuk is more clearly a solo project, more songwriting-based, more chill,” she tells me during a recent phone chat, going on to tell me that one of her biggest and closest supporters is a big fan of her latest sounds: “My mom said really nice things about it.  She likes that these songs are a little more chill.”

The Woman on the Moon was conceived between 2019 and 2021 — when the singer/songwriter was living in upstate New York — and recorded between April and August of last year.  The songs were inspired Bejsiuk transitioning into a new phase of her life, which was filled with a number of speedbumps, including a temporary separation from her husband, an estrangement from her sister, several moves, and quitting her job.  She also spent a lot of this time considering her family history, her immigrant grandparents in particular, even prompting her to take on her original surname (Bejsiuk), which her father changed before she was born.  And early praise for the music picks up on this intimacy of her narratives.  NPR said, “Katie Bejsiuk’s hush doesn’t so much sing secrets as usher small revelations out of the fog.”

Katie Bejsiuk has already released three singles from The Woman on the Moon, and released a music video for “Onion Grass” (the first of the three singles) to coincide with the album’s release.  The video was a collaboration between Bejsiuk, Florist’s Emily Sprague (who filmed and colored it), and V Haddad (who directed), who created visuals that are just as intensely intimate as the song, which is a reflection on, “The rupture of an adolescent friendship, which occurred as we moved from the imaginative space of childhood to the restrictive and gendered structures of young adulthood,” (according to her latest press release).

Next week Katie Bejsiuk is taking the next natural step with her latest songs, when she embarks on a brief, three-date tour of the East Coast, which includes a stop at Johnny Brenda’s this coming Tuesday, July 19th.  When I ask what can be expected of the dates, she admits that she’s still figuring out how the songs will play out in a live setting, saying she hopes the audience will be patient, but does imply that the performance will reflect the intimacy of the songs: “A lot of songs will be lowkey, with some instrument switch-ups.”  And, when I ask how she plans to spend the rest of 2022, Bejsiuk tells me that she does hope to do some more with these songs, but she also has another craft that takes up much of her time: “Maybe play a couple shows in the fall, which is quickly approaching.  I’m also a writer, so I’m working on like a book-length project, and I also do a newsletter that comes out monthly.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.