Kate Watson. Photo by Beverly Burchett

“American Idol” Season 19 alumna and Texas singer-songwriter Kate Watson chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos.

You received a standing ovation from Lionel Richie after performing his song Hello during your season 19 audition on American Idol. As the most important “hello” of your career so far, what did you take away from this experience?

I took away the fact that it only takes one person to believe in you. I will never forget his words: “I believe in you and I know you could win it all.” I’m still in shock that I was able to sing in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan not once but twice. The opportunity to be on American Idol changed my life. I was surrounded by so many talented people who had amazing stories like me. I have been fortunate to keep in touch with many other applicants and am very grateful for the experience.

Your audience on Tik Tok is seventy thousand people and has amassed over a million likes. What do you attribute your success on the platform to and what would you recommend to other beginning songwriters?

The first video that reached 1.5 million views was me in the bathroom, jumping out of a cubicle, singing a few lines from “Call Me Maybe”. I took that audience and started engaging them with my “Story Times” and “Questions” videos where I try to stay on top of trends and use stories and questions that really happened. in my life to start conversations. For artists new to Tik Tok, the key to success is just being yourself, making the videos you love, and finding your niche. Once you’ve created a video promoted by the “For You” page, stick with it and add content systematically. It’s important that you use hashtags, engage with your followers in the comments, and always stay true to yourself.

You sing and co-write songs with your father, Jesse Watson, Music Director of The Lone Star Cowboy Church since you were a little girl. Tell us what a songwriting session looks like for a father-daughter duo.

Writing songs with my dad has to be one of the most special, entertaining, and craziest things of my life. He is definitely the one I credit for taking my ideas and bringing them to life! You never know how the song is going to come together, but the only thing that’s for sure is that he’s one of the most talented and creative people I know. I am more than blessed to have him on my team and the driving force behind writing my songs.

Lone Star Cowboy Church is the largest cowboy church in the world. It is the spiritual home of several country artists including Cody Johnson and Jesse Raub, Jr. Parker McCollum has also visited once or twice. When Parker first heard you sing, he called you “the real deal” and “the total package”. When you get comments like this from country music icons, who do you talk to first and why?

The first person I usually call with amazing career news is my mom, but she was just standing there. My dad was also there which made this experience really special. My parents have been there throughout my trip, sharing all of their time, support, talents and even finances. After meeting Parker, he spent several hours a week for two months on the phone with my mom and I talking about the next steps in my career and how he might help me get there. Each of these avenues required additional funds to move forward. and my parents continued to support me by selling their house to help fund the process. They have been my rock and my No. 1 supporters throughout my career.

Your 2021 Red Lipstick And A Cowboy Hat release has been featured on CMT Australia, Roku, Apple TV and IndiMusic TV. How does it feel to reach the milestone where your videos are showing alongside the headliners?

This is something I could never have imagined! When I was younger people didn’t believe in me and honestly I didn’t believe in myself but knew I was meant for something bigger. It took a long time for me to truly believe in myself and now I just want my music to give hope to everyone who listens to it. I really don’t want to be famous, I just want my music to make a difference in the world.

Your next single, Highway released on streaming platforms on January 7. Highway is a song about enjoying the little things in life: like when you have music screaming, windows down and the wind blowing your hair on back roads. How to make time for short breaks with a tour program as rigorous as yours and what are the ways to get away from it all?

You take the time, because you really don’t have the time. I try to look at my schedule and make time for it just for myself, whether it’s hanging out with my friends, spinning baskets, watching Netflix, or spending game nights with my family. Protecting my downtime is crucial for me to keep myself balanced and healthy. All of my friends and family are the reason I can do what I love and enjoy.

As a revolutionary artist on the Texas country scene, who would be the artist of your dreams to duet with in the future and why?

Absolutely, without a doubt, Parker McCollum! He’s the reason I’m where I am today and it’s a dream of mine to be able to record a duet with him and play him on stage at one of his shows. I believe this will happen someday and continually keep my head down and focused on the climb! I am so proud of him and everything he has accomplished and would be so honored to be able to sing with him. I would also like to do a duet with Carrie Underwood because she is my inspiration and a lot of people compare me to her. I am happy to collaborate with everyone and enjoy the ride.