The Summer Getaway: Kate Nauta
Kate Nauta - singer, songwritter, actress and model.
Can you tell us a bit about your career?
I grew up singing in school and church, but I moved to NYC when I was 18 to pursuing modeling after being discovered at the Oregon State Fair. I connected with Lenny Kravitz in the early days of my move to NYC after he heard me cover Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I saw Your Face. We worked together on and off for years and have quite a library of music. I was then discovered by Luc Besson and cast as the lead in Transporter 2 opposite Jason Statham, so I moved to LA and worked as an actress for many years.
Eventually, I decided to take a big leap of faith, moving back to NYC to focus again on my first love, music. During this transition, I reconnected with an old friend who eventually became my husband. We began to build a new life together, but I felt lost as I settled into being a wife and creating a home, and music seemed so far away.
What inspired you to pursue music again and work on your upcoming album?
In 2015, my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed in October 2017. Those 2 years were the hardest years of my life. Through those struggles came the inspiration and the desire to transform all the emotions into songwriting. Music became my outlet. He made me repeatedly promise him that I’d do my music. After he passed, I had a purpose and a fire in me like I’ve never experienced. Just two days shy of the year anniversary of his passing, I completed my first full length album: Love, Loss + Recovery.
Inspired by my brother, it’s a memoir. My healing process was every written lyric and music note. My heart was completely exposed and it surprisingly felt good. While I touch on a lot of heavy subjects, there is a thread of hope through all of it. I worked with some of the most amazing musicians - Jesse Harris and CJ Camerieri to Kelly Winrich of Delta Spirit who produced the album. It’s scheduled for release in the Fall.
Where else do you find inspiration?
People inspire me. Things I go through personally inspire me. If I’m going through a hard or joyous season or someone I care about is, I often find my way of making sense of anything is by writing. I’ll go to my keyboard and let it all spill out.
Has travel influenced your work?
At 15, I was on a plane by myself and the rest is history. I’ve traveled all over the world thanks to acting, music and modeling. I also get to travel a lot with my husband for his work with his design firm, Studio Robert McKinley. We go to Italy a few times a year and Venice has become like our second home. We go in January to escape the crowds and it’s just so beautifully mysterious that time of year. I get so inspired while I’m there. I sit in the squares and take in all the people. I read, write and cook a lot - all of which leave me feeling filled and inspired for our return to the busy-ness of NYC life.
What is your fave getaway spot?
Montauk, where my husband and I have a home. We renovated a 1970s-ranch style house last summer and just completed our second McKinley Bungalow. It’s a venture we started together and it’s been a lot of fun. We partnered with some of our favorites so that everything in the house is shoppable, including the house itself! Living in NYC, it’s really a blessing to be able to escape the go-go mentality of the city. Waking up in Montauk is a dream!
What is your go-to spot in the Hamptons?
Honestly, I’m such a homebody. Rob and I love to cook and host friends at one of the McKinley Bungalows. If we’re going to rendezvous with friends in town, we might check out a performance at the Surf Lodge. They book some incredible musicians through the season. I perform there every year and just opened for Mavis Staples a few weeks ago. It was such an honor and so much fun!
Mortys is a really yummy new place... Truly, it’s all about beach hangs and surfing during the day at Ditch and gatherings among friends in the evening. I love our life there. It feels really special.
What is your go-to summer look?
A few summers ago, I got really into dresses. I used to be an all-black kind of girl and now I’m really enjoying embracing a more feminine, softer side of myself. Plus, it’s super comfy and just easy - not too much thought to throw on a dress!
What’s the best way to spend a vacation?
Because we run ourselves ragged in the city (you New Yorkers know what I mean), it’s really important to take time to unplug completely and reconnect with the ones you love most. Last summer, my husband and I spent a few weeks in Greece. It was beyond magical.
This summer, we are going to Sicily for a few weeks. We’ve never been. To plan the perfect getaway, we spend hours researching a place and talking to friends who’ve been. As I’m writing this, I’m currently on the jitney leaving my hubby for a week as I’ll be traveling to Oregon to see my family. After finishing our second McKinley Bungalow, this is the perfect getaway for me – spending time with my family refills my heart and soul.
What’s next for you?
My album is coming out in the Fall and you can hear a preview of my song here with a video created by John Castillo. I’ll be launching a podcast series that mirrors the album. Each song will be an episode. I’ll be inviting women on who I feel speak to the heart of each song, which I’m really excited about it. My hope is that this album opens untouched matters of the heart and for people to know they aren’t alone in what they’re going through.
I’ll also be releasing a short story series that takes you behind each song. It was important for me that people really get a sense of my story and the inspiration of the album. It’s a compilation of live performances around each song plus interviews from some of the musicians, myself, my husband and the people that the songs are about.
I trust that this album will find its way and believe my brothers wings will carry it where it needs to go.