Meet Down for the Count's Musicians: Katt Newlon

Published: 14 Feb 2024

In the next of our series of Meet The Band articles, Ruby talks to cellist Katt Newlon about her involvement with Down for the Count.


What were your first experiences with jazz and swing music?

When I was growing up my dad had a record player in our basement and we always had records on, so he was always playing someone. It wasn’t necessarily always jazz and swing, but we definitely cycled through the classics - we had a lot of Nina Simone. So I would probably say that was my first experience…being down in the basement, listening to records, and playing pool. 


Who are your musical influences? 

Kind of niche, but I would say a real mix. I love Rostropovich the cello player. The way he played was just complete raw passion, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate that he’s not always rhythmically in the pocket, he always came across as prioritising musical intent as opposed to accuracy. I don’t mean that in a slight, because he’s always accurate, but the way played was just very much feeling first, technical second. 

On the flip side of that, I’m a big fan of Eva Cassidy. Radiohead is also a huge influence for me. Another newly discovered influence is Benjamin Clementine. I was very lucky to play with him through another cellist in Down for the Count, and that whole experience just blew my little musical brain. 


Cellist Katt Newlon performing with the Down for the Count Orchestra


What musical projects are you involved in outside of Down for the Count?

I tour a lot, mostly in pop actually. Right now my roster is an artist named Dodie and another named Victoria Canal. I’ve just recently started working with an artist named Tamzene, who is awesome and still in that vein of female powerhouse singer-songwriters. I also play with a punk band called Palace Watson which is really fun, but that’s more on my electric. 

I have my own projects as well, so I am working on three different albums in three completely different things. So I have my band, we’re sort of ethereal grunge. That’s more of the Radiohead inspiration, so I’m on my electric and singing for that one. Then I have more of a cinematic folk solo project and then I also have an experimental ambient project as well. 


What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?

I’ll circle back to Benjamin Clementine for this one. I did play it, but I also got to watch half of it as well as he didn’t need strings out the whole time. He played Royal Albert Hall, and I truly have not been moved by music quite so profoundly in quite some time. The playing experience was amazing, but also being able to stand in the wings and watch him do his thing was just…I was completely awestruck. So I would say his show at Royal Albert Hall was probably the best show I have ever seen in my life. It was a very moving and profound experience, musically and spiritually as well. 


What are your hobbies when you’re not performing?

I read a lot. I also love journaling. I really just love drinking coffee, reading and journaling in a bookshop. I also love plants! So if I have some free time I’ll probably go and trawl around a plant shop…with a coffee and a book!


What is your favourite song to perform with Down for the Count?

Mele Kalikimaka - it’s such a brilliant arrangement by Simon Joyner and so much fun to play.


What is the best part about being involved with Down for the Count?

When we get to the end of the show and you can see joy on people’s faces when they’re standing up and dancing and clapping. Just sharing that moment of joy with them I think is the best part of performing with Down for the Count. Just having that little window into all of their personal experiences with the music that we’re playing, because for some of them it is a bridge to a lost loved one, or a bridge to a memory they’ve had with someone who is no longer, or someone who is not there with them currently. I think that’s really beautiful and special to be able to provide that space for people experiencing loss. It’s very humbling.


Cellist Katt Newlon performing with the Down for the Count Orchestra



About the author

Ruby Willis

Ruby is Down for the Count's marketing and communications assistant. When she is not writing Facebook posts and making Instagram reels, she is often performing in short films or physical theatre shows.

More articles

Get in touch