In a collaborative project—with photographer/videographer Julius Schlosburg and writer/broadcaster Hannah Levin—singer-songwriter Katie Haverly is set to unveil her latest video to the world. Tuesday, Feb. 26 marks the release of “Titanic” a song from her fifth studio album Pluto. The video is a celebration of 38 Tucson women—the badass artists, musicians, movers and shakers that make this dusty town tick.
But, there is more to the story than that.
XOXO sat down over coffee with Haverly, Levin and Schlosburg at Casa Libre for a chat. Gird your loins.
The song “Titanic” is from your 2018 release, Pluto. How did the inspiration for the video come about?
Katie Haverly: The day that Aretha Franklin died I had a vision of doing this video. It was inspired by a desire to highlight and have many women be seen, that maybe aren’t highlighted enough in our community, for the contributions that they make and creativity they bring to our city—and the value that they hold. I sent an email reaching out to sixty women to describe the project. Then I tried to figure out how to do it… And I talked to Julius and he said, “Yes.” Then, Hannah heard about the project and got excited. From there we started collaborating together.
From listening to the song and reading the lyrics, it strikes me as a cautionary tale. What was your intended meaning or thought when you wrote “Titanic?”
Katie Haverly: I read Russell Brand’s book Revolution (Random House). He uses this metaphor, over and over again, in the book. Which is, this school bus is filled with forty people that control 98 percent of the world’s resources and wealth. And these forty people have this enormous political power to impact policies and change big things, like our environment. This song is really about our environment. And the ways in which we are not waking up to the call to arms that we should be tasked with to stop these insane massive changes. So these forty people on the bus, are there on the top deck of the Titanic. They are lounging on fancy linen sheets under diamond chandeliers. And all the decks below are the people who are influenced by their decisions. [The forty] hold the steering wheel to this vessel—one that we are all on together—that is about to hit a fucking iceberg.
The undercurrent to the song is how The Divine Feminine energy needs to come up and out to correct this masculine energy that has created this shift in the vessel. It is definitely a cautionary tale.
When you reached out through your email what was the message that you were conveying? Katie Haverly: Hannah, I would be curious what you felt the message was when you received the email?
Hannah Levin: The message was clear, that you wanted to pull more women into the spotlight that weren’t necessarily in the spotlight. Aside from the feminist and necessary implications of the work. I was impressed. She articulated a very lucid vision. She wanted to create a space where each woman would be represented in her own way; Each woman’s power, strength and creativity was going to be illuminated.
How does Julius factor into all this?
Julius Schlosburg: Katie and I were in a band, Copper & Congress, for years. We became close friends. We’ve made music videos before. We respect each other’s work. It’s really joyous to work with Katie.
Where was the video shot?
Katie Haverly: At my house.
And, what was the vibe like having all these dynamic women in one room?
Katie Haverly: I think it was like the best day of my life. It was so beautiful and full of love and support. There was such a sense of community during a time when we all felt so violated, not seen or heard. It was a healing experience. Very inspiring and nourishing.
What message would you like someone watching this video to get?
Katie Haverly: The first thing, is to spark curiosity as to who these women are. I want people to get a sense as to how powerful these women are and how underrepresented they have been in our community. And to create a space for these women to be seen.
You’ve been cultivating your career in Tucson for several years now. Do you feel that you have experienced discrimination as a female artist in having access and doors open for your performances?
Katie Haverly: That’s a very complex question…
Katie Haverly: Because there are lots of different levels to those experiences. I’ve had to learn how to assert myself in a certain way, to not be treated that way. I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I’ve been treated differently by men in the music industry.
Katie Haverly: Oh absolutely. Especially booking shows.
Julius Schlosburg: Even when we would play shows… It’s like Katie Haverly and The Aviary. But, the sound person would come up to one of the guys in the band, “Hey, what do you need?”
Hannah Levin: I’ve been sitting with her after a show and some guy in the audience would come up and start giving her feedback about how she could do a better job.
Katie Haverly: That started when I was fifteen. And it was always white guys in their fifties and sixties. I fucking swear to god.
I suspected there was some sexism involved in the process. I am sorry to hear that…
Katie Haverly: My strategy to overcome that is to be insanely professional and really good at what I do. So people can’t ignore me. I feel that I have to do this better to be considered for the same thing.
Ultimately, and maybe that will be our saving grace as a society, is that talent always rises above. And, I think you have risen based on your abilities as opposed to anything else. Your persistence has paid off.
Katie Haverly: Thanks.
Your work touches on social and environmental issues. Is “Titanic” a political statement?
Katie Haverly: Absolutely. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is horrendous. I don’t know where to start…
Please, I think you should start.
Katie Haverly: I don’t understand how the idea of climate science is not being recognized by our political leaders. It’s like a nightmare. I don’t know how… All of the tragedies that we are dealing with right now are human generated. And, I am a culprit. We all are living in this luxury that affords us this experience right now. But, we are really not prepared to have a safe and healthy place for future generations to live.
The bitter truth.
In an encore performance, Katie Haverly and The Aviary debut the video for “Titanic” on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Exo Roast Co. With Jillian Bessett.