In the beginning of summer on one of the many block parties in Jersey City, I was walking around and heard an angelic voice coming from the stage. I went closer and saw Katja, a young lady singing and playing on her guitar a Lana Del Ray song. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her, her voice is amazing, and she is stunning. Katja is only 13 years young and yet has this aura about her… she is truly an old soul.
Katja and her mom Barbara (who happens to also be a fashion stylist) invited me over to their beautiful home in Porte Liberte to chat, gossip and snack on pretzels and m&m’s. Katja even sang me a beautiful song! She is so talented and I know it’s only a matter of time before she gets big! Maybe Kanye will even interrupt her one day when she accepts an MTV award!
What’s your name? My name is Katya Larssen
What do you do? I am a singer and songwriter.
How old are you? I am 13 years old.
How long have you been singing? I’ve been singing in front of people since about 9….I started singing lessons when I was around 8.
(Barbara) She started taking vocal lessons at 8, but she started guitar lessons at 7. She was going to Metropolis… When I found out they had a vocal teacher…. Teachers told me that they thought she could sing at a really young age. I set her up for a lesson, and the teacher was nervous at first because of her age… but then he saw that she was so mature and so grown up.
We started working with him, and after she had her first recital, one of the women, Anna Olsen Nugent who was taking vocal lessons with him. Who is also friends with Beth Achenbach, recommended Katja to Beth. When she was doing her ladies on the mic pretty much monthly. She wanted to get younger women involved in her event. Beth had Katja sing and that was when she was around 9 years old…
Then Dancing Tony reached out to Katja to do the 4th Street Festival… It was all very organic, we didn’t look for it… we just went with it.
That’s what I love about Jersey City, it’s such a great community where everyone supports each other. Everyone wants to see each other succeed for the most part. Yeah for the most part!
What is your earliest memory of getting up and singing? I remember when I was 6 my aunt made me sing in her office when people where walking out… That’s a vague memory that I have.
What was the song? I think it was a Miley Cyrus song, she came out with an album around that time.
The Hannah Montana days right? haha. Yeah.
Who would you say is your musical influence? I really like Adele and Lourde. I really look up to them for my music taste and what I like to sing.
How do you feel when you perform? At the beginning I feel a bit nervous, but then I get into it and I really like it. I look at all the people and I get excited.
Any upcoming projects? In December I am doing a Christmas concert at Grace church.
Do you write your own music? I have two original songs and I am in the middle of writing another one. It’s for school but I think I will sing it at gigs if I like the way it turns out.
What is your creative process? I see what’s around me and I think “oh that would be a cool thing to write about” or one song, I really like is called “Let’s go”. I did it in 20 minutes because my vocal coach locked me up in a room and he was like “Ok here are some chords, now create lyrics in 20 minutes, I don’t care if the song is good enough but you need to do it” It was a practice and I really liked how the song turned out.
That’s awesome! I added it to my repertoire so I sing it sometimes.
Do you go to school in Jersey City? Yes, I go to Learning Community Charter School.
What is your favorite subject? I really like social studies and I like health.
Other than singing do you have other hobbies? Sometimes I like acting, I like writing, I like reading…
So you are very creative! I would say that haha.
What’s a fun fact about you? Hmm. Not sure!
(Barbara) You were born on the day of “The Entertainer”.
Huh? What do you mean? (Katja) We have this book, and it’s a book of birthdays. It has a description of each person based on the day they were born on. So I was born on the day of “The Entertainer”.
Wow. What’s mine? The day of Tragic Comic Contriversary….
Let me read this…. It’s sort of accurate haha. The mood swings is definitely true…. Exhibitionist? haha yup!
Do you have a favorite hangout spot? I like the mall haha. I like to hangout with my friends and walk around.
Anywhere else? This is so typical teenager but I like Starbucks! I go in with my friends and we get drinks.
How do you balance everything? Well I don’t do that many after school activities, more like over the weekend. I have time to do my homework, I have time to practice.
You are very mature for a 13 year old. You definitely have your stuff together! Haha thank you!
(Barbara) Actually when she was born, I looked at her and I was like, this girl has been here before… haha she’s an old soul!