• Disclosure's 'Settle' and Vampire Weekend's 'Vampires of the Modern City' are Katie's picks for best albums of the year
  • Rock band Red Fang has caught Katie's attention and is one of her picks for artists to watch
  • Folk songwriter Dana Falconberry is one Katie's artists to watch
  • Spray Paint is one of Katie's bands to watch

Katie Hasty

Katie Hasty’s career in music journalism began in college when she worked as a freelance writer for some of her favorite magazines before transitioning into full-time positions as a radio reporter, online editor and columnist for Billboard. She’s also been a music channel manager for HitFix, where she currently serves as the Executive Managing Editor. When she’s not writing about music, Katie consults with Mom + Pop Records and performs with her band, Numbers and Letters. We asked Katie to give us an insider look at the music industry now and tell us which artists should be on our radar.

New genres of music emerge all the time. Which types of music are having a moment now?

Midwest Rap! I love seeing names like Danny Brown, Chance the Rapper and Action Bronson getting a spin. Also, artists like James Blake, The Weeknd, Janelle Monae, Drake and Miguel have led what I've been calling “Coke Bar&B.”

In your opinion, what were the best albums this year?

I can't stop listening to Disclosure's Settle. It devastates me (in a good way). I think Vampire Weekend has found its commercial and artistic destiny with Vampires of the Modern City.

Which upcoming album releases are you most excited for?

I genuinely hope Katy Perry's Prism and Lady Gaga's ARTPOP are great. I think their singles are simultaneously easy to listen to, aggravating and sublime.

Who are your top three picks for rising artists to watch?

I think Red Fang is one of the rare newer rock bands to make me raise my voice. Art-folk songwriter Dana Falconberry and noise-rockers Spray Paint—both out of Austin—are also incredible.

Which artist or band do you think has the best hair?

Joan Jett. You know instantly it's her.

How does a musician’s style (fashion and beauty) impact his/her career?

Authenticity is key to making and keeping fans, and if you're not being yourself (even if you're being an exaggerated version of yourself) in the way you dress, people can see right through you.

If you could reunite any band, who would you choose?

Uncle Tupelo. And they'd have to play nice.

Although they're still a ways away, do you have any predictions for the Grammy Awards?

Kacey Musgraves will win Best New Artist. Lorde will perform, and everybody will buy her album. Kendrick Lamar will take anything he's nominated for. I'll make fart noises through Chris Brown's appearance.

How have technology and the rise of bloggers changed the music scene?

I think people get burned out quicker on albums and brazenly dismiss or laud artists since there's this unspoken race to post songs/videos the quickest and in the loudest way possible. In the print days, there were a limited number of outlets; today, millions of websites are competing for traffic, and there are only a few ways to grab someone’s attention. Music is, sadly, so disposable. You stream a song and it's done—you don't even have to physically throw anything away.

For musicians, technology has also allowed for just about anybody with a microphone and spare time to "cut" a record. That means there’s more great art, but it also means there’s a huge influx of bad and mediocre music you need to wade through to get to the good stuff. Artists have to find more than one or two ways to stick, and they have to be hungrier than the rest.

From what you've seen in the music industry, what tips would you give aspiring artists?

Become an expert at your instrument. That way, shamelessly promoting yourself (a
MUST) won't be so hard when you know you're the best.
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