Hometown: Brandon, S.D.
OCCUPATION: Counselor; teaches interpersonal communication at the University of Georgia
BAND: Sings and plays piano in The Kate Morrissey Band (with guitarist and drummer John Norris)
MUSICAL ROOTS: "Growing up in South Dakota, I lived near Sioux Falls, which is not a big city, but it's the biggest city in South Dakota, so we got a lot of interesting local folks who went through, like a woman called Kristi Holler and Stuart Davis. I was big into this idea of a local scene and listening to people who maybe otherwise I never would have heard of except that they were touring. So there's that. And then I also ... grew up with Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan and Counting Crows and those people, some Tori Amos."
MUSICAL STYLE: "We like to play originals, and they tend to range from pretty emotional to pretty quirky. And there are definitely elements of jazz, especially that John brings out."
FAVORITE ALBUMS: The Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl; Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
FAVORITE CONCERT ATTENDED: Dar Williams at Eddie's Attic, Decatur, Ga., 2009.
"Shawn Mullins came in and sang some backup for her. I'm just completely captivated by her lyrics. She seems to have this very kind, curious view of the world that I just melt into, so being there in person I think really accentuated that. I had that sense from her music before, but watching someone play live can help to get a better sense of who they are, maybe just a little bit in between songs."
FAVORITE MOVIES: I Heart Huckabees and The Fountain
FAVORITE PERFORMANCE: "I really love performing, and I've enjoyed a lot of different shows for a lot of different reasons. ... Sometimes I enjoy very tiny shows. Sometimes I enjoy bigger shows. I went to Savannah and a surprisingly large crowd showed up, and they were shockingly jovial for one reason or another, and that was at The Sentient Bean in 2009. ... That was a fun show."
FAVORITE AUTHORS: "I love Toni Morrison. I really enjoy Mary Oliver's poetry."
SONGWRITING PROCESS: "I like to be by the piano when I write. And sometimes there's a phrase that sort of haunts me for a while and then I want to work that into a song. Or sometimes I've got a piano lick that I want to extend into a song, and then maybe I'll play that for a while until a theme comes up, and then I'll write a song about that theme. It's not very often that I get the full lyrics of the song without the music. The lyrics usually fit into the structure of the piano music."