Katherine Penfold celebrates that special someone who makes everything Better in her intimate new live video — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Co-written and performed with Grammy-winning producer Chin Injeti (Eminem), the silky Better expresses the sweetness and loveliness of how one person can lift your spirits with even the smallest gesture.
“I struggle with depression and anxiety,” Penfold admits. “The song is for my partner. He finds a way of making me feel better during those times. It’s dedicated to the person who helps you up.”
At first glance, the Vancouver-based soul-jazz singer-songwriter may seem like a tough cookie, between her prominent tattoos and her lifelong affinity for motorcycles, skateboarding and woodworking. But her music elicits a different impression altogether, as a sultry, smooth, and sweet delivery belies the rustic badassery she exudes with ease. This gorgeous contrast illuminates her full-length debut, Sweetest Thing, arriving Oct. 4.
“Sweetest Thing is a juxtaposition,” she affirms. “I have lots of tattoos and like motorcycles, but all of my music is about love and joy. When you see those extremes side-by-side, it really hones in on how I feel about myself and who I am. I had a cool and quirky upbringing that didn’t really fall into pigeonholes. Everything comes down to heart and soul for me, especially music.”
Born in Nova Scotia and raised “on a farm in the middle of nowhere Manitoba without television,” the singer and songwriter always gravitated towards music. Powerhouse vocalists such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and James Brown immediately resonated on a deeper level. Pursuing her passion, she went on to study classical piano and jazz at Manitoba’s Brandon University.
Between independent releases, she moved to England. A 2017 invite to sing at a wedding in Vancouver proved life-changing as the wedding planner filmed the performance and shared it with Nettwerk Records, who soon reached out to sign Katherine via their jazz label partnership with Montreal’s Justin Time Records.
Katherine dove into writing and recording what would become Sweetest Thing. Hitting the studio with co-producer David Sikula, she tapped into those formative inspirations and unlocked a spirited style of her own.
“I really sat down and wrote the songs I knew were sitting there in me the whole time,” she explains. “Soul, funk, and R&B have hit me so hard for as long as I can remember. There’s a story to every song and a really powerful vibe.” In the end, these moments define the duality at the heart of Sweetest Thing.
“I really wanted to make an album full of songs that could resonate with you no matter what you’re going through,” she leaves off. “I’d love for people to find a space for themselves to feel inside of what I’m doing. I hope they know someone is listening to them and hearing them.”