Utah songwriter and pianist finds her voice in message songs

Local sounds • Inspired by her day job as a violence-prevention specialist, songwriter blends activism and music.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Katie McMinn found herself, at age 7, when she discovered the piano.

McMinn, now 29, of Cottonwood Heights, produced and recorded her first song at age 17. Her music has been likened to Ingrid Michelson, Adele and Sara Bareilles. She's released an EP, "Fly," and regularly performs her piano-driven songs locally.

Her song, "Sleep Through It," was chosen as the theme of the 2008 Utah Dating Violence campaign, which aimed to bring awareness to the issue of abuse. She was inspired to write the song by her day job as a violence-prevention specialist for the Utah Department of Health.

In an email interview, McMinn answered questions about her inspirations, her work and presidential politics.

Why were you drawn to the piano at an early age?

When I was young, my dad was a songwriter in a band, and I grew up listening to him jam on the piano.

What are some of your most memorable experiences in music?

Being able to sing to a huge crowd like at The Depot or the Sandy Fourth of July Celebration. Also being in the studio and recording, which allows you to be in control and yet at the same time completely free. It is indescribable.

What inspires you — or, rather, what doesn't inspire you?

I am so inspired by people who work hard and follow their dreams. What is most uninspiring to me is watching people waste their talents or not pursue their passions.

Did you notice any increased exposure after the "Sleep Through It"song was released?

A bit, yes. I received increased exposure among the wonderful people who work to stop violence in our communities.

Is domestic violence on the upswing in Utah?

Last year more than 3,000 men, women and children escaped to a shelter due to domestic violence.

Are you drawn to more fun music or more serious topics?

I'm drawn more to music with a message. I feel like music gives me a voice that I won't have otherwise. With that said, it is nice to sit back and chill to the "fun" songs.

If you could play President Obama one song, what would it be?

For President Obama, I would play "Fly" from my EP. We want to fly as a nation but we don't want to leave him behind.

If you could play Gov. Mitt Romney one song, what would it be?

For Gov. Romney, I would say my song "Find Your Way." He needs to stay strong to who he is and find his way past the political games.



Twitter: @davidburger —

Letting her music 'Fly'

To listen to Utah songwriter Katie McMinn's music, visit katiemcminn.com.