Exclusive: katie MAC on Her New Single ‘Self Sabotage’

katie MAC, a Nashville-based pop artist, released her newest single “Self Sabotage” on Aug. 20. Known for her authenticity and honest lyrics, the singer-songwriter is a star on the rise. In an email interview, katie MAC told Showbiz Cheat Sheet about her experience writing “Self Sabotage,” which will serve as the title track of her upcoming EP.

katie MAC
katie MAC | Gramophone Media

katie MAC’s beginning

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What first inspired you to pursue a career in music?

katie MAC: Truthfully, I don’t remember a time where I didn’t want to pursue music. Like I actually remember being in kindergarten and dressing up as a “pop star”… Since I grew up in Kansas, where the music industry isn’t really a thing, my career didn’t get serious until I moved to Nashville for college. Since then, I’ve learned a lot and I’m grateful to have my own unique path.

How she came up with ‘Self Sabotage’

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: How did you come up with the concept for “Self Sabotage”?

katie MAC: Well. It all started with a conversation I had with a close friend. We were talking about life and she just paused and goes, “I think you’re doing the self-sabotaging thing again.” And it hit me that I actually self-sabotaged a lot — in my relationships, career, pretty much everything.

Obviously this was unintentional, but I had just fallen into this pattern of getting let down over and over. I especially felt this way in romantic relationships — I have long been attracted to kind of sh*tty guys who I know will end up screwing with my head, but I fall for it over and over again.

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Showbiz Cheat Sheet: I’ll be honest, listening to the song felt like a personal attack because the lyrics reflect the mindset I had in college and the year after I graduated, which just shows how subjective music really is. When you write music, how do you relate your experience in a way fans will connect with it?

katie MAC: This made me laugh really hard. A lot of girls have said stuff like that to me before like, “OMG I feel like you’re literally writing about my life.” And honestly, that’s one of my favorite things about making music but it’s not really intentional.

Most of the time, when I’m writing I’m challenging myself to be as honest and real as I can. Obviously there’s an element of artistry and crafting something interesting, but the bones of all my songs are based on real experiences. I feel like if I stay honest, there’s always going to be people who relate, and that is so rewarding for me.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Do you have a favorite lyric from “Self Sabotage”?

katie MAC: 100 percent. “I know he’s saying that it’s just fun, but it all feels so romantic” is my favorite line, probably because I tend to romanticize everything — even the bad stuff, which is great for my art… Not so great for my love life.

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Behind the singer-songwriter’s creative process

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Describe your songwriting process. Is your process the same for every song you write or does each song idea inspire something different?

katie MAC: It’s definitely different for every song. Typically, I like to start with a concept or title that’s based on an experience I’ve had or a feeling. WIth this one, I collaborated with two other amazing writers and we brought the idea to life along with the basics of a track and vocals.

Sometimes though I write alone and bring it to a producer when I’m finished or have a rough demo for myself. It really just depends on circumstances — If I’ve got an idea that I feel like needs to come out right away, I’ll just sit down at a piano and do it. Other times, I write things down and bring them into writing sessions and work on them with people I trust.

What to expect from katie MAC’s EP

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What can fans expect from your upcoming EP?

katie MAC: This EP is definitely a turning point. It’s a really honest look inward for me — mostly revolving around my own “Self Sabotaging” tendencies. I hope that people will really relate to the stories and also be able to dance along to the melodies. Sonically, I feel more and more solid in myself every year and I think that this EP represents me really finding my true voice and sound.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: As a pop singer-songwriter, comparisons to other artists seem almost inevitable, but what do you hope makes you stand out as an artist? When people hear “katie MAC,” what do you hope they think of?

katie MAC: I hope that when people hear “Katie MAC” they think relatable, down to earth, and empowering. I really strive to take all of my feelings and experiences and frame them into art that I’m proud of, which feels like the most empowering thing I could do. I know there are a lot of pop artists who are super honest, but we all have our individual stories and I just hope that people can connect to mine!