Through years of education and exploration, Katy Guillen has established a noteworthy career as a guitarist and songwriter. From picking up a guitar and venturing to her first blues jam at age 14 to her three years studying flamenco guitar, Guillen’s wealth of experience and extensive musical vocabulary have made her a focal point of funk-pop collectives, chamber pop ensembles, and rock groups alike, and a staple of Kansas City’s illustrious blues scene.
In 2010 she founded her first solo songwriting project, Katy and Go-Go, with respected touring drummer Go-Go Ray. This collaboration culminated with the 2012 release of their full-length album, When I Get Away, which introduced wider audiences to Guillen’s stirring vocals and dazzling guitar technique on ten self-penned tracks.
Guillen’s next major venture, the trio Katy Guillen & the Girls, was formed shortly thereafter. Between 2012 and 2018, KG&G traveled the United States extensively, performed at the International Montreal Jazz Festival, toured Sweden, and supported major acts like The Doobie Brothers, Robin Trower, and Heartless Bastards. The trio created an energetic, driving sound informed by Guillen’s mesmerizing, emotive guitar style and poignant arrangements, and an equally captivating live show that showcased their powerful on-stage chemistry. KG&G released three full-length albums: Katy Guillen & the Girls, Heavy Days, and Remember What You Knew Before.
Throughout her time spent with KG&G, Guillen developed a deep connection and compelling musical synergy with bandmate Stephanie Williams, a highly skilled drummer with a unique, melodic style. In their six years in the trio, the two created their own method of writing, playing, and working together which propelled them to create Katy Guillen & the Drive, the latest project dedicated to Guillen’s songwriting. Citing her seven-year musical relationship with Williams as one of the most important and special experiences of her career, Guillen calls Williams her “songwriting sidekick/editor/partner.”
As the two artists work to craft Guillen’s tunes, they have also forged a path to a new plateau in Guillen’s songwriting. The Drive takes a slight detour away from the bluesy, riff-oriented rockers of their frontwoman’s early albums into a more melodic, poppy, and soulful sound--with the edge of the artist’s rock ‘n' roll roots. With influences including Band of Skulls, Patty Griffin, Heartless Bastards, Muddy Waters, Susan Tedeschi, The Bangles, and Cream, Guillen calls her genre-bending style “indie soul-rock.”