Born and raised in Claremore, Oklahoma, where her mother grew up and her father from the Phillipines, Katy started singing and playing piano at the age of six. Her parents were the first musical influence in her life, as her mother was the pianist at their church as well as her first piano teacher. She always encouraged Katy and her sisters to use their talents whenever the opportunity presented itself. Whether singing solo specials or being the only child in the choir for the Christmas cantatas, Katy relished the chance to have a microphone in her hands!
As she embarked on her teenage years, she was blessed to have to incredible music mentors in her life, including piano teacher Robyn Barbour and choir teacher Linda Pollock. These women brought tremendous growth to Katy’s understanding of music theory and performance, entering a competitive side of music through theory exams, piano guilds, select choirs, and all-district/all-state choir competitions.
During her senior year of high school, Katy received a music scholarship to the University of Oklahoma where she initially chose to study vocal performance. She later changed her focus, however, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. With this shift, she fell away from classical choral music and toward music that piqued her personal interest, performing solos for her sorority’s functions, the Miss Greek OU pageant, and various athletic events. Without realizing it, she became quite comfortable performing for people while getting her fix making music.
In 2010, Katy was chosen to be the lead singer of Chesapeake Energy’s corporate band, Shaleplay, which was formed to enter FORTUNE magazine’s “The Battle of the Corporate Bands” contest. After qualifying for the competition, Shaleplay performed at regionals in Las Vegas, NV, and advanced to the finals at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. They walked away winners.
Thanks to this attention a Fox Executive discovered Katy, and immediately put her in touch with producer Wade Martin. Upon Martin seeing her performances on YouTube and hearing her sing live, she was signed to JWM Records.