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At only 15, Kaatii is experiencing what is possibly one of the most important moments of their life. “It’s the first year of me being fully out as not only queer but trans too,” they tell us. A turning point that they share with their audience through music, to which they give therapeutic properties. Having written their new single while feeling very trapped in a box they didn’t belong in, now the artist unveils their new release, Superterrestrial Humanoid. A single with which they share their experiences and emotions, as well as the acceptance process that is still living surrounded by colleagues with whom they feel united and supported. And they tell us should be attentive to June 16 not giving more clues!

Let's start with one of the most difficult questions. Who are you? Could you introduce yourself to our audience?
I’m Kaatii. I’m 15, almost 16 years old, and I eat, sleep, and breathe music. I’ve played the guitar for nearly 9 years and have been singing for as long as I can remember. My top five listened artists currently are Big Thief, Nick Drake, Christian Lee Hudson, Elliott Smith and Phoebe Bridgers. I have a light blue Fender Stratocaster named Jessica, a classical guitar named Pico, and plenty of other (currently unnamed) instruments. I love poetry and my cats and the colour green, and I am a pretty normal teenager in my spare time.
How are you feeling now?
I’m feeling really great. Summer has just begun and a song I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating is finally coming out. Pride month is rolling around again, and it’s the first year of me being fully out as not only queer but trans too.
You’re unveiling your new single, Superterrestrial Humanoid, in honour of Pride Month. What can you tell us about this new release? What does it mean to you?
Superterrestrial Humanoid is all about the feeling of being alienated or ostracized for being yourself. It has a lot to do with not only not fitting in but feeling like I didn’t even want to. This song means the world to me because I wrote it while feeling very trapped in a box I didn’t belong in, and putting that feeling into writing was part of what got me through that. It’s a beautiful thing to look back on that seemingly hopeless situation and see how far I’ve come.
You are only 15 years old, but you have already lived many experiences that many people will never experience. “They're looking at me so weird—they're pulling out buttered popcorn to stare at their cell phones, and I'm left wondering why I'm here,” you express on your new single. Have you found the answer? Why are you here?
Well, yes and no. In that context, I was wondering why I was trapped in the binding world of an all-girls private school, and to answer that, no. I didn’t belong there, and I don’t think I truly blossomed until I left. But as to why I am here, on this planet, I (sort of) know. As corny as it sounds, as I have accepted myself and my identity more and more, I’ve realized that we are all just trying to get by in this world. Life can get really hard sometimes, and the least we can do is love and support each other. 

What is it like to be a non-binary teen in the heart of Texas? Have you had to deal with discrimination or people who do not understand or respect your identity?
It’s not easy. I often run into people ignoring or invalidating my identity because they don’t think I ‘look trans enough.’ Or they are unclear that non-binary means not solely identifying with ‘female’ or ‘male’ and is an aspect of transgender. There is no such thing as ‘looking nonbinary’ – identity doesn’t necessarily mean you look or act a certain way, it just means that you associate with a certain label. This is unfortunately something that a lot of queer people go through, and it is extremely invalidating and frankly just annoying. Luckily, I have found some really lovely people who see and accept me for who I really am.
You talk about how lucky you are to have found an amazing group of peers and friends to whom you relate to. Has it been difficult to feel understood? What can you tell us about this community built on trust and mutual support?
It is definitely difficult to feel understood by others, especially when they don’t relate to my experiences. Though I still don’t feel like I ‘fit in,’ (whatever that means), I feel much more seen and understood where I am now. I am currently attending Booker T. Washington HSPVA, a performing arts magnet high school, where I’m surrounded by fellow creatives. It’s been amazing to be around such open-minded and creative people like me.
What advice would you give to young people who are struggling to be who they really are?
The more you accept yourself, the easier it gets. The road to self-discovery is a bumpy one, but it truly does get easier. Coming out is scary, but it’s really important to remember that you don’t have to do anything until you’re ready. Just take it one step at a time!
I am very interested in how music has helped you express your feelings and get to know yourself better. Could we say that music is a therapy in a certain sense?
Music is absolutely therapeutic for me. Whether it be writing, performing, or just listening, music is crucial for my sanity. I use songwriting as an outlet for the tougher emotions or situations I go through, as shown by this song. It’s very soothing to take something negative, like the feeling of not belonging, and turn it into something as beautiful as a song. Fun fact, almost all of the songs I have written have originated from various diary entries.

Do you think that music has a lot of power when it comes to changing the way society understands reality? In essence, music is an important transmission tool, allowing us to send messages heard all over the world.
Music is a very powerful tool for understanding. As music evolves, the ideas that are introduced evolve as well. I think it’s amazing how people can write about their personal experiences or something that means a lot to them, and it can be used as an educational tool for people who may not know about that.
Do you think as a society we are moving on the right path in terms of tolerance and respect for different identities?
I do think we are on the right path, though we still have a far way to go. I am beyond lucky to be able to express myself the way I do, and a lot of that has to do with the increasing tolerance of society. Though things are getting better, we all need to work together to keep this positive forward momentum going so minorities and underrepresented people can feel more at home in our world.
What can you tell us about your next project? What is your biggest dream?
After the release of Superterrestrial Humanoid, I have several songs coming out leading up to an EP in October. Be on the lookout on June 16… hint, hint. These songs are a lot more acoustic-centric and indie-folk, and they tackle tougher ideas like mental health and self-acceptance. My biggest dream is probably to be able to make a living off of making the music I love.


Words
David Alarcón

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