Town Square Delaware: Your parents are both from Delaware – did you spend much time here growing up?
Katherine Hughes: I was born in Delaware and lived in Wilmington until I was 6. I attended Tower Hill for Pre-K and Kindergarten. After moving to Sarasota, Florida, we moved back to Chadds Ford, PA when I was 13. Now we live in New York, but most of my mother’s side of the family still lives in Delaware. My cousins Teddy and Madeline Hughes live in Wilmington and go to Tower Hill and Ursuline.
TSD: How often are you back in the First State and what do you like to do when you are here?
KH: I try to make it back to the Wilmington/Chadds Ford area as much as I can to visit old high school friends and family. Because I live in NYC, it’s really nice to come back to a place where I can take a nice deep breath from all the craziness of the city! My grandparents live at the beach in Delaware, and I love going to the beach in the summer. Even after living on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, I find something special about the charm of Rehoboth and local, small-town feel of Dewey Beach. They are real beach towns. I also enjoy crabbing and clamming with my grandfather and having a feast.
TSD: Are there any musicians you most admire and try to emulate?
KH: I love artists like Adele, Norah Jones, Katy Perry, and Grace Potter. I admire all of these artists because they have a certain kind of soulfulness to their voices.
TSD: How old were you when you started singing?
KH: I have been singing my entire life, but the moment I really knew I wanted to sing/act was when I auditioned for a production of Cinderella when I was 10 and I got the role of Cinderella! It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I didn’t mind being a princess for a few nights. Another great theatre experience I had was performing at the Delaware Children’s Theatre. The Delaware Children’s Theatre is a great place to learn how to act and sing, and it taught me how important stage presence is in performing. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in acting and singing.
TSD: What genre of music do you generally sing?
KH: I’m so excited to record my EP album after “Next Big Thing” (NBT) because I am going to try to bring back a soulful motown/retro pop sound. Lots of horns and organs, just music that just makes you happy. I love singing music that has some soul, country, and elements of pop.
TSD: What sets you apart from the other “Next Big Thing” contestants and makes you different?
KH: What sets me apart from the other contestants is that I have a very different sound than most teen girls. There isn’t anyone in the music industry that is dominating the soul/motown-inspired sound at the moment. Additionally, I have an acting resume including guest stars on network TV shows, films and commercials. I also have dance training. Disney likes triple threats.
TSD: Do you write any of your music? And if so, what inspires you to write?
KH: I write my music with my guitarist and friend Craig Wilson. He has taught me so much about songwriting, but mostly just to write what you know because that is when your music is the most genuine and specific. Most of my music is inspired by the experiences I have had so far as a 17-year-old girl, and of course, relationships.
TSD: Beyond winning this competition, what are your career goals?
KH: Radio Disney’s NBT Season 5 has been such an incredible platform to pursue both things that I love, which are singing and acting. I have been able to showcase my talent in front of many entertainment industry executives. After NBT, I am going to Nashville to record an EP of my own original music which will hopefully be out early next year. I’m also continuing to audition for TV and movies, and I hope Disney will cast me in one of their upcoming projects! I’d love to have a career like Anne Hathaway (“Princess Diaries”) or Amanda Seyfried (“Mamma Mia”)!
I intend to stay focused on acting, which is why I originally moved to NYC. I have been working on my craft daily in an excellent acting class. I plan on moving to Los Angeles when I turn 18 in April. LA is where the most opportunities happen in the acting world. Musical TV shows and films have been a trend for the past few years. I believe my singing will give me the added advantage to get ahead. In the entertainment world you have to be a multi-media performer, and I think I have that going for me. You must be thick-skinned and prepared for each opportunity that is presented to you. My parents told me to pursue a career that I am passionate about, and this is definitely it.
TSD: How do we vote for you?
KH: Go to radiodisney.com!