Born February 1967 in the Braid, overlooked by Slemish. Christened Kathleen Bernadette McKeown, better known to everyone as Bernie.
The significance of the name Katie, one simple reason, my Dad who passed away in 1985 wanted me called Kathleen because he knew a girl called Kathleen and she was a great singer and he wanted me to be a singer.
Katie is short for Kathleen which means dad can be part of my musical experience xx
From an early age I have been singing, I'm told I was singing in my playpen. My grannie Annie was musical she played a small squeeze box and we would celli at home.
On occasion other musicians would also come to our house, I loved the music they were happy times.
At the age of 9 was the first time I sang in front of my class, my teacher asked me to sing..
I sang paper roses. I took every opportunity to sing and was in the school Choir,
When I went to secondary school music was my favourite subject, I again joined the school choir and folk group, and enjoyed singing in Irish lessons. A love of these tunes coming from, I suppose, my background and the music grannie played. Traditional has always been comfortable for me.
My Mum and Dad had a love of Country music, there was always music on in the car – I sang along and knew almost every song. Truck driving woman by Philomena Begley was one of my favourites so much so that I wanted to drive a long distance lorry when I grew up, but that’s a whole other story.
At the age of 15 I first heard Cleo Lane and John Dankworth, first time I had really listened to Jazz music. It was an interview about their lives- I suppose this was my time to experience my own appreciation for a different kind of music and I loved it.
I married Danny Mckay when we were both 20 and moved to Glenravel , so after living in town for the past 16 years I was back to the Country.
We have 3 sons Steven, Darren and Brendan and a daughter Lauren, I sang my way through their childhood and into their adult years; they are our greatest achievements and 4 of our best friends.
On 24th October 2011 – I was diagnosed with a tumour in my left eye, my treatment is ongoing and music is my focus, singing and recording takes the fear out of my days.
This is why I started to record – “It Gets Better.”
I loved the Country show on Downtown Radio with Big T where I first listened to American Country.
I Cried the first time I heard Big T play me on his Sunday night show, it was my Dads Anniversary and it was – “I know a heartache.”
Katie McKay x