YouTube crooner all about that upright bass and then some

Kate Davis talked to Art Beat about her attraction to the bass and writing her own songs before a recent performance at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland.

Kate Davis’ ’40s-style jazz rendition of Meghan Trainor’s pop hit “All About That Bass” has garnered more than 8 million views on YouTube since September. But Davis isn’t only about that one instrument.

While she makes playing the upright bass seem like a breeze, the 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist and vocalist prefers not to be boxed in as a bassist or under any specific label. She stretches her talent across many different genres of music as she continues to explore and develop her personal style, showcased on her recently released EP.

Photo by Ariel Min/PBS NewsHour

“My relationship with the upright bass has been a wild ride.” Davis says she has sometimes been in physical therapy in order to keep playing her instrument, and that she didn’t really connect with it until she started writing her own songs. Photo by Ariel Min/PBS NewsHour

While Davis sees herself as a songwriter, her musical foundation comes from growing up with the Great American Songbook, learning classical music on the piano and the upright bass, and studying jazz at the Manhattan School of Music. Unlike her new work, her previous albums feature her interpretations of traditional jazz songs, like “I’ll Take Romance,” and bass-based renditions of modern songs, like Rufus Wainwright’s “Leaving For Paris” .

“I learn a lot about music from doing covers or being immersed in pop music or old music,” Davis told Art Beat before her recent performance at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland. “People appreciate the thought that goes into personalizing (the song) or just making it something else.”

Video shot by Ariel Min and Jaywon Choe and edited by Ariel Min. Black Rock Center for the Arts, Technical Director: Marc Wright; Sound Engineer: Scott Twiford – Big Bear Productions Ltd.; Stage Assistant: Conor McNamara; Lighting Design: Adam Konowe.