Herine is a Nashville-based artist whose real first name is Katherine. She used to go by “Kat”, but now uses the even catchier second half. Her music is a reminder that Nashville is now a pop mecca, not just a country music town.

The artist’s latest single “Best Best Friend” features an exquisite melody and radiant vocals.

That song was preceded by a gorgeous duet with Drew Schueler entitled “Whiskey Sour” – which sounds to my ears like a collab between Taylor Swift and The 1975’s Matty Healy.

We caught up with Herine as she puts the final touches on new music due this summer:

What’s the backstory on “Best Best Friend”? How did the song take shape?

It was August 2022, at 3AM, in the shower of a hotel in downtown LA. Nashville is home, but I make these writing trips. This one was especially healing. I had been dumped the previous month. It had been an unhealthy relationship. Of course, this was excellent song fodder. My friends and I had just spent a week writing songs about this guy, who didn’t deserve any more of my energy. I thought to myself, “Enough breakup songs. I want to write about my friends.” They say write what you know, but I don’t know what it’s like to be my friend. I only know what it’s like for me to be a friend. Thus, “Best Best Friend” was born. 

The next day I brought the hook into a session with two of my favorite collaborators, Alex Venegas & Travis Heidleman. As the verses flowed out, the song became healing in deeper ways than I initially expected. I knew I needed to release it and share that experience, though I was a bit afraid to be so vulnerable. A year later, more healed and confident, the final vocal was finished back in Nashville by Phil Barnes (one of my favorite producers and vocal engineers in Nashville). Finally, it was mixed and then mastered by Bolte. I’m so glad it’s out in the world now.

Who were some of your favorite artists and influences growing up?

Nashville is my hometown. The storytelling tradition found in the music of my city is probably my biggest influence, as a sweeping statement. I’d carpool to school with a girl whose dad was an A&R exec, so I spent a lot of time listening to demos as a kid, inadvertently learning what made good songwriting great. By the time I was in high school, streaming was a thing, so I was spending hours listening through writer’s credits and writing myself. 

That being said, I’ve always been obsessed with the soundscapes of pop and alternative music – groups like The 1975, Paramore, Bleachers, and No Doubt. I taught myself to sing harmonies to tracks and by pretending I was in a duet with Chris Martin from Coldplay or John Mayer. I also loved Top 40 radio and electronic music like Taylor Swift or even Flume. I was also a theatre geek, so there’s a bit of that classical thing in me too.

I think my writing lives in a comfortable paradox of these varied styles. It’s lyrically narrative, yet sonically expressive. It’s intimate, yet bold. It’s gritty, yet smooth. I’m 26, but still growing up, so this is a working answer (haha).

Why did you choose the name Herine instead of using your real name?

Herine is my real name 🙂 It’s a shorthand for Katherine. My friends have always called me Kat. People often describe me as, “way too sweet” or “crazy bubbly.” I have ADHD and know I can also come off as a bit aloof, as well. It shocks people when I write these hyper-intimate, serious, or sometimes aggressive songs. Herine is the literal side of Kat in Katherine that people come to know when they hear the music. 

It’s also easier to write about my experiences involving friends, family, exes, etc. when the music is being released under a different name. It sort of creates a safe space for me to say what I want to say instead of worrying about airing out someone else’s dirty laundry.

Your song “Whiskey Sour” with Drew Schueler has some amazing vocals. What’s the backstory on that song?

Thank you 🙂 Drew is an incredibly talented, darling of a human being, and I love working with him. “Whiskey Sour” was actually the first song we wrote together. At the time, I had this off-and-on fling with a friend. Every now and then, one of us would get drunk and end up at the other’s place, but then call it off a few days later. As it relates to the getting drunk part, I loved whiskey sours. At the time of writing the song, they made me think of the lost love and ruined friendship. Hence, “Now even the whiskey’s sour.”

It was written as a solo song for me, though something didn’t feel right. It sat in a Dropbox graveyard for a couple years. Suddenly, out of the blue, Drew sends me a new demo as a duet. I loved it, and realized that’s what was missing. It was written for two. We immediately started building out the production for release. 

What does your release schedule look like this year? Is an EP on the way?

Lots of singles, and yes, a project (or two) is in the works 🙂 The next release is called “HBD” (an abbreviation for “Happy Birthday”). It’s so special to me. That’s all I’ll share for now.