Kate Vargas, the NYC-based, half-Mexican singer-songwriter, already has a few albums under her belt, including last year’s fine For The Wolfish & Wandering. Now, after a songwriting experience at the Holiday Music Motel (see below), she’s released the jazzier sounding ‘Nothing Turns My Lock’ single. Vargas’ appeal lies in her husky voice and her willingness to explore genres and avoid excessive production cleanliness in her sound.
This song started at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, one of the most magical places on earth. Owned and operated by Pat Macdonald (Timbuk3, Purgatory Hill) and Melaniejane (Purgatory Hill), the place functions as a fun retro hotel year-round but, three times out of the year, 30-40 songwriters and a handful of engineers from all over are invited there for a week of songwriting. On the first night, they spin the bottle to determine songwriting partners, write and record a song in about 24 hours, and then do it again the next night and the next night.
Nothing Turns My Lock’ came out of one of those weeks, says Vargas. “I spun Jerod Kaszynski, saxophonist extraordinaire, and Andrea Wittgens, an incredibly talented songwriter who also happens to be a dear friend and my neighbor in New York City. During this particular week, we also spun for a piece of visual art, and we got ‘Relations’ by Chelsea Littman, a wonderful, colorful installation of different configurations of keys and locks in frames. The cover art is a photo of Littman’s piece.”