Music is an essential part of many people’s lives, something taken for granted as always being there to provide entertainment, joy, celebration and even solace. However, for the musician, the creator of music, it is not always an easy road, as it also requires drive and dedication to achieve success in the music business. These qualities are abundant in Los Angeles native Katie Pearlman (SLA ’15), who was a co-writer on Grace Potter’s 2021 Grammy-nominated album, “Daylight.” For Pearlman, this musician’s road began in New Orleans when she was a student at Tulane, majoring in philosophy and minoring in vocal jazz.
“The city really drew me in, honestly. There was just something about New Orleans and Tulane, a feeling I had. Tulane was the only school I applied to; I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was always singing and was in choir in high school. I wanted to be surrounded by an interesting musical culture. I owe so much of my musicality to New Orleans,” recalled Pearlman.
In her junior year, Pearlman met Tulane grad Erin Frankenheimer (NC ’04), who was managing acts in the city, and worked with her as an assistant. Frankenheimer introduced Pearlman to other music industry professionals, who took a great interest in her music. While still at Tulane, she signed with a manager and began working with other songwriters. After graduation, she moved back home to Los Angeles and signed with her current publishers, Warner/Chappell. Since that time she has worked with numerous other musicians, including Kelly Clarkson, Gryffin, Ayokay and Adam Lambert. Clarkson’s 2018 album “Meaning of Life” was Pearlman’s first songwriting contribution to a Grammy-nominated album.
Though Pearlman enjoys collaborating with other artists, she has taken the past year to focus on her own projects, writing and producing new songs for an EP, which was released in May. Yet even with this new focus she has continued to work with other musicians, such as Samantha Fish, keeping the connections to her musical heritage in New Orleans alive.
“New Orleans made me realize what it felt like to fall so deeply in love with a place. I didn’t want to leave, and ever since then I have been trying to find these little pockets of growth, places that feel like they are on the edge of the universe. This brings me so much joy and inspiration.”