Kat Von D is a successful tattoo artist who is ready to move on to the next phase of her life as a musical artist. A Guinness world record owner for the most tattoos drawn by a single person in 24 hours, she’s a vibrant force to be reckoned with.
Kat Von D, who’s known for her entrepreneurialism, she’s a tattoo artist, a television star, but she’s also a singer and we get the honor to interview her today.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How are you beautiful?
Kat Von D: I’m good, thanks for making the time.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Yeah, it’s an honor to be with you and to connect. I listened to your song, it’s deep.
Kat Von D: Yeah, thank you.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where did you grow up? So we have a little backstory.
Kat Von D: Sure, I was actually born in Mexico, in a little tiny town called Montemorelos, state of Nuevo Leon and we moved here to the States in the late 80’s so when I was like six years old. So I pretty much become like a southern Californian girl and I’ve been living out here since.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So are you Spanish or Mexican inheritage?
Kat Von D: So my parents are from Argentina, from South America
Beverly Hills Magazine: But you have such fair skin?
Kat Von D: Yeah, Yeah, my dad’s side has like German and my mum is like super dark so my siblings don’t look like me as much, I mean we have the same eyes.
Beverly Hills Magazine: You have beautiful eyes, you have brown eyes.
Kat Von D: Thank you.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So, I’m so excited for you, you are releasing your album, it’s heartfelt, it’s such an emotional reveal. When did you discover your passion for singing?
Kat Von D: I think a lot of people know me from the world of tattooing and things like that, but not everyone knows that music has always been my first passion. I’ve actually been playing piano since I was like five years old. My grandma, who’s a classically trained pianist was the one who taught myself and my siblings but I was the only one that really stuck to it and I still play piano till this day.
And then you know I fell in love with or in a dysfunctional relationship with a guy in a band overseas and he would buy or write me an album, sending it, mailing it to my house with a letter on it that says “these are all the things that are easier sung than said” and I sat down and I listened to this album and I was really moved by it and I felt like what better way to respond than writing an album in response to it.
So obviously, at that time I didn’t have much of a history with singing, you know I sang in the church choir when I was a little girl so I had to start from the scratch so I found this amazing local coach who’s a dear friend of mine now and I trained with 6 days a week for two years and really learned how to sing and during that time is when I started writing the record. And this was almost ten years ago and I really wish, I always like to say that I don’t have any regrets but I think if I had to say I have one is that I wish I could have released this album a lot sooner because you know you fast forward to now I’m happily married, I have a son and I don’t even think about that guy anymore.
But you know that I think that music is like that, since like tattoos are like landmarks in time and they make us who we are now. So I still enjoy singing the songs although I don’t feel as vulnerably pathetic as I did back then because I was. I think that you know music is such an important thing where if it makes someone feel less alone in their situation, I think it’s a beautiful thing.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Well I believe music is the language of love and it’s God’s spiritual power to impact us on such a deep level. I believe everything happens in divine right timing whether we believe it or not, so the release at this time as I think is going to affect women who are in heartbreak and it will help them get through it, because now you are empowered, you are married. Many women who are still emotionally not strong yet or mature, this will help them aspire to be there. So it’s inspiration really.
Kat Von D: Oh yeah, thank you.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So what are your lyrical inspirations, are they purely emotional?
Kat Von D: I think my brain tends to think pretty thematically so when I was writing this album I basically saw it as a narrative like I was telling a story of one’s experience and so that was easy because I had a lot of inspiration and I still have now. I have so much inspiration in other ways so I actually started to write album number two and hopefully by the time we are done with this tour and we come back, we can just jump right into production and go on tour again. Laughs…
Beverly Hills Magazine: Yeah, I believe we are created to create so it’s wonderful now that you are on this trajectory of creative expression through your gift which is music and singing. You know I’m not surprised as a young child you were playing piano because I think our special gifts and God-given gifts really display themselves when we are children so we have to pursue them. We really have to pursue them because when we share them and are creating with our natural gifts, like your musical passion, that’s when we have the most power to change the world for the good.
Kat Von D: Yeah, I agree, I agree with that for sure.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So what does your music represent, what is your message? Is just for heartbroken girls?
Kat Von D: I like to think that this is an album of romantic anthems for the hopeless and the hopeful romantics, laughs, you know I’m a sucker for poetry, I love lyrics that translate into poetry and so I hope people respond to it in that way as well.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Absolutely. So what other artists you would like to work with if any, or are you sort of loving this sort of solo journey?
Kat Von D: I have a wonderful band that I love, we are like family at this point and so it’s exciting. I mean we produced this album together, obviously, I wrote everything, but we produced and mixed it here at the house actually this last year, anyways I was able to do a lot of interesting collabs on this album too because, by the time when I was writing it my neighbor we would always hang out, we loved all the same music so he was really excited when I said I was going to start making music and he started writing with me.
Basically, Peter Murphy’s voice was the kind of the cornerstone of my teenage, shaping my musical taste back then, so it’s quite an honor to be in the same sentence with him, let alone the same song and Linda Perry who I’ve known for a long time and she was just excited about trying to bring the most out of me in songwriting, we end up writing over twenty-two songs together, half of the album was written with Linda and yeah, you know I think living in L.A, you are surrounded by so many creative artists, creative people that you kind of just naturally happens, it wasn’t like the things where I was like oh I’m going to have my manager call you, it’s like I’m sitting there tattooing, telling them about my music and they were like I would love to play on that, let’s go to my studio and I’m like cool let’s do that.
Beverly Hills Magazine: You know as they say the stars are aligned!
Kat Von D: Yeah, I mean I love collaboration, that’s a nice thing. Now that we are working on album two, we have decided to do a duet with my good friend who lives down the street and I’m such a huge fan of her guitar playing, so we are going to cover a 1940 song in Spanish, so I’m pretty excited.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Oh beautiful, that’s exciting and that just opens up a whole other type of market too, it’s really lovely. So what is your signature as a musical artist cause obviously you are breaking out with love songs and I mean even if you just even stayed with that, that would be wonderful but what is your signature?
Kat Von D: I mean I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s defined just yet. You know I can’t really tell the future about what I will feel as I’m writing the next album. I do love the sad love songs genre but I think I have a lot more to say than that. So I wouldn’t pigeonhole myself into that either but I’m a huge fan of synthwave and I love analog synthesizers and that’s really where I want to remain, I think when people just heard especially lots of fans that I was coming out with music, they expected it to be like metal, or a lot harder…
Beverly Hills Magazine: So true! I think it’s actually a departure from your sort of persona but I think it’s really revealing the depths of who you are and such a beautiful loving sensitive woman, you know?
Kat Von D: Yeah, thank you. I mean I love having, listening to my heart has just been always like I said before it lies with poetry and vocalizations. I like soft vocals so you know I feel like we’ve done a good job at figuring out our own little niche sound
Beverly Hills Magazine: I’m looking forward to seeing how you evolve as an artist, I’m sure your fans are too, it will be a beautiful journey to watch unfold. So I’m sure not only has it been an emotional journey of course you are sharing your life experiences through your music and your voice but I’m sure it has also been spiritual of course we are spiritual beings. How has God played a part in your life, in your career, and your journey?
Kat Von D: Yeah, I’ve always been a spiritual person and I think till especially now as a mother, I don’t want to sound too cliche but like it’s never been more of an important thing to me in my life. I mean my husband and I made it a huge focus within our family and I can’t understand living in a world without faith.
Beverly Hills Magazine: I agree, I’m a born-again Christian so my whole life revolves around my faith, my relationship with God, and every blessing I have is just grace from him that I’m grateful for. Yeah, I think when we operate from that place again our creative gifts are just amplified and we will really have the biggest impact you know because it’s all the grace of God just flowing through us and that’s powerful.
Kat Von D: Yeah, it’s funny because, not funny but I love symbology or just putting meaning to everything we do so like even within our own music videos, every single video has a crucifix within it.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Ah yes, it’s honoring God by doing this.
Kat Von D: Yeah exactly! And it’s also to make a form of protection in a way because for so long people have considered me to be a dark person and I’m like I might be associated with tattoos and dark hair and things like that but I’m not down with that darkness, so it’s like an amulet that I carry with me, so it’s funny cause we just finished shooting our last two videos and I was really adamant about getting this one red rosary for this one scene and everybody was like why, oh no no I know you haven’t noticed but it’s in every video. For the first video, I’m actually holding a cross for the majority of the video and then we made like eight-foot mirror crucifixes for the second video and the third one which is going to come out next week I have one on my hat and there’s the fourth one with the rosary.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Praise the Lord, that’s so cool. I just cover everything in the blood of Jesus so the devil can’t touch them now. Even God’s Word says the devil disguises himself as an angel of light and I think some of the biggest lessons we all need to learn is to not judge a book by its cover and that’s why I just pray for discernment and wisdom so that God can really guide me to know whether I’m dealing with light or darkness.
Kat Von D: Yeah totally. I don’t know what your take on a lot of stuff that is going on around now. I think that the more and more that you pay attention to, we’ve been studying, we’ve been revisiting the Book of Revelation and I’m like there’s too much going on that coincides with what’s happening today and I just hope and pray that people will open their eyes.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Amen, amen. Speaking of prayer, it’s our power. We have to stay in a place of prayer right now so that we can be the light and just shine brighter and brighter in a dark world. And that’s what you are doing and I’m so excited!
Kat Von D: I love hearing that from you, it’s so refreshing because I feel like most people especially now don’t really wanna hear any of that stuff … There are so many close-minded people and it’s so strange to me.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Yeah well, the devil has had a stronghold for too long so the children of God are rising up and we are strong in faith, so we are going to push back the darkness so that eyes can be opened, and ears can be opened, and hearts can be opened to the truth, light and the love of God.
Kat Von D: Yeah, I love that. It’s so cool.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Do you have a life model or a quote or a scripture that you love to live by?
Kat Von D: Well my favorite scripture is Psalms 25 vs 5. Lead me and teach me in your truth for you are the God of my salvation. But I don’t necessarily have a motto for life, you know I feel like to me, I always want to do everything with love and with conscious love. You know I think for a long time in my life, I was very walking unconsciously throughout life, you know like doing insane things that I don’t know what the hell it meant and other people were saying it and it’s like realized we are being brainwashed by media, by your surroundings until it becomes so apparent, you know. So I don’t really have a life model, I think the golden rule is always the beautiful one.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Definitely, definitely. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I live by Matthew 19:26, With God all things are possible. Again that keeps me in a place of faith and trusting in His ability and His power because if I’m honest I literally have none, and it’s all by His grace that we do anything worthy in this world. Amen. So what are some of the challenges that you faced as an artist specifically in creating this album?
Kat Von D: I think the only thing that ever got in the way was myself. You know it could be easy to blame why it took so long to get on everything I was doing but like you said I think that everything the timing is supposed to be the way it’s supposed to be so I’m just allowing it, doing my best within it.
I do wish I re-compartmentalized a little bit more of my time and focused on releasing the stuff earlier. Also, I think in the beginning I was really, you know I get very sentimental and very attached to people and I put a lot of meaning into work relationships that sometimes don’t benefit me or benefit either party.
So for some time, I was working with some producers that they were just going through their own stuff and it’s like, it had nothing to do with me but they were having a hard time finishing things instead of me saying hey let me put a boundary and go let you process or like do this, I just stuck around, I waited too long. But I think that’s how any first of anything goes. Like this is my first album, there’s a lot of learning curves and that’s why I’m excited for the second one because I already know what to do.
I don’t feel like there were any real challenges to me, it’s interesting cause I had friends that have been in bands all their lives and I always hear them, a lot of them, those that have been doing it a long time complaining about the music industry, the process of touring. I’m just so grateful man, so grateful to be able to share my music with people, that people even are interested which is icing on the cake but to be able to go out and play live. I look forward to slumping it up on a bus.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Yeah, it’s a whole new adventure and a chapter for you and it’s going to be a really lovely thing in getting to do. I mean anytime we get to share our gifts like what we are really meant to do. Now, what advice would you give other aspiring singers out there?
Kat Von D: Well I will say that I think that we live in a world right now that’s a tricky one to navigate when you have the media and social media really pushing through some agendas and certain ideals, it’s like I see so many musicians that are blowing up and they are kind of choosing to use a specific format and it kills the creativity, you know when you start creating for the sake of fame or more followers or money or what other people want you to do.
I don’t really talk much about people but I do have a lack of respect for people who become famous for a shock value or being disgusting or being cruel and there’s a lot of that going on and so if you are like if you gonna dive into music just make sure to stick to your guns, you know and I’m like remember why you are doing what you are doing if it’s for the wrong reasons, don’t even try it.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Let’s not forget that we do live in a fallen world where good and evil exist, light and dark are real forces that we have to coexist between, and each of us has to make our choices, which side we are on. So I can tell you are becoming more centered and spiritually strong in your choices of being the light in the world, you know what God is like, what Jesus Christ is God, He walked on the earth and He taught us the way of righteousness and how to be right with God, to be the light in the world, and some people like you say, unfortunately, there’s a lot of people that that do sell their soul to the devil and the darkness. And we are seeing that so we have to be careful and especially conscious as influencers in the world.
Kat Von D: Yeah, what’s interesting to me though is that I have never seen people like that have a long life and that’s the other part of it. Like you sell your soul for a short payoff and when it’s like at the end, what is it? I feel like like I said everything is very disposable right now, we treat each other that way, we treat ourselves that way, and the planning and all that stuff.
So I feel like I wonder if we are at that pendulum right now where it’s so extremely crazy but to me, it feels crazy. You know like you said, we are rising up, like enough is enough, and hopefully, they will come back because it just seems so extreme, something so blatant.
Beverly Hills Magazine: God’s word said which I live by God’s word, by the way, He said that He’s building His Church upon the Rock, you know that the Rock is Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail against us. So as we continue to be bold in our faith, to lead others in the way of faith, light, and love, the darkness will flee, will break and we will prevail.
Kat Von D: Yeah, I believe that too.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So do you believe in love?
Kat Von D: I do. I do believe in love, I think love is such a driving force. It’s interesting as I have this tattoo on my hand, it’s like a little heart. I got it years ago, it was just basically like a reminder to everything you do, to do with love. And it’s not even romantic love cause it goes beyond that. I do believe in true romantic love as well, I found it in my husband, I definitely had to work on myself for many years outside of a relationship. I mean I was celibate for about three years after one year of relationship where I was like okay, I keep seeing the same movie play over and over, so obviously I’m the pattern, so what’s it that I’m doing that is attracting this energy and why am I attracted to that?
So I think now that I’ve set myself up to be a great wife and a good partner, I’ve been blessed with my husband who’s on the same page with everything, supports me, loves me, you know we are not perfect by any means, but I definitely met my match and it’s funny because he’s in a band as well and we just had our son two years ago and we were like this is perfect, we get to tour together as a family and bring our kid with us and really enjoy that process.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Congratulations, I’m just so happy for you, that’s such a blessing, you know especially to come from a past of heartbreak which I’ve also made the choice to be celibate and enjoy my solitude and my own personal growth, my relationship with God and trusting Him for the right person at the right time.
Cause ultimately, again with the prevalence of dating sites, you can get so misled into the wrong relationship. You know the world tells you follow your heart but God says the heart is deceitful above all things. So I tell people no, don’t follow your heart. God says trust in Me with all your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding, acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will direct your path. It’s so true. God will guide us and lead us to the right person for us that He created for us, like you said, your match.
Kat Von D: Exactly! You know I don’t look back at my past relationships and you know think poorly of those people or poorly of myself, who I was, because I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t experienced all those things. I think that’s what is beautiful about documenting it with music cause it’s like I have this proof of better life. You know that’s why I say I love this album and I think it’s great. I hope people will love it and I also can’t wait to start writing new music now.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Absolutely! And then you can even talk about the love in your marriage, and true love and so your fans, and maybe heartbroken women will find this album, follow you and continue to listen to your new music and be inspired and have hope to find their own true love.
Kat Von D: Totally!
Beverly Hills Magazine: Wonderful! So have you discovered a personal purpose in your life, in your life journey?
Kat Von D: Yeah, I think a lot has changed ever since having my son. All those cliches that they talk about in the movies are so true. It really just change your perspective and all, it is not to say that I wasn’t like I didn’t have a more profound understanding of what life was prior to but now it’s like the stakes are higher, you know and I can understand now what some of my friends, how they would act in some scenarios based on their kids.
So we ended up wanting to purchase a house outside of California so we found some really beautiful place in Indiana kind in the middle of nowhere, a small town of ten thousand people and we went there on visiting and we were like this is where we want to raise our son. This is something I would have never said prior to you know and I love California and I was just talking to my friend about how we love the weather, we love the people, I love the house we live in but it’s just getting a little too crazy out here for me to be honest. Well to my son, it was so interesting like we were driving around that town the first night just cause I wanted to you know to get an idea, a sense of it and the sun had gone down and I could see everyone’s house., the lights were on in the dining rooms and as we drove by it was dining rooms after dining rooms of families sitting down to eat. What’s crazy is that we take walks, we really had a nice day, you don’t see that here, it’s different. That was how I was raised and it was very much like we always ate together, we prayed together.
Beverly Hills Magazine: That’s what it’s about. I love that God’s obviously putting that on your heart for a reason because we have to preserve and protect our families and our home life because the children are our future, and how we raise them and what we teach them, God’s word says, “Raise up a child in the way that he should go and when they are older they won’t depart from it.” It’s those values of faith, tradition, and family that are imperative now more than ever.
Kat Von D: It’s not that you can’t do that here, but it just feels a little bit different and that’s okay.
Beverly Hills Magazine: And all the influences, you know. Well, I love it, I think you are on the right track and I’m so honored to have been able to spend some time with you. Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
Kat Von D: That’s it. I was just going to thank you so much for the beautiful conversation. I’ve been doing lots of interviews you know obviously the last few months, this is so refreshing, I just want to say thank you!
Beverly Hills Magazine: Well, it’s my pleasure, it’s my honor. You are my sister in Christ and I just wanna bless you and honor you with encouragement to continue on your journey, be the light. God bless you.
Kat Von D: Thank you!