Just Kait: Not Your Average Girl
Toms River's 19-year-old musician Kait DiBendetto manages growing up while realizing her dream
Many people may never know the name of Kait DiBenedetto. However, this 19-year-old music prodigy has gained a large following as “Just Kait.” She has gained success and fame some only imagine, especially given her young age.
Kait has dedicated her life to music. Even with the amount of success she's found, she has remained true to who she's always been. She's followed her heart and made her dreams a reality.
Dolla Bil Facciponte: Have you always had an interest in making music?
Kait DiBenedetto: Definitely. When I was little, I would pretend baseball bats were guitars so I think I've always had a love for it.
DB: What was your inspiration for getting into music?
KD: My dad was a big part of it. When I was growing up, he was in bands so I'd go to his practices. I think I always just wanted to follow in his footsteps. Besides that, listening to a lot of old school pop-punk/pop rock bands made me want to play.
DB: Who were some of your favorite bands growing up?
KD: New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, basically everything that was around those days.
DB: Those are bands that have found major success in music. You've also found some success as well. How does it feel to be featured on MTV and have your music constantly used on their programming?
KD: I'm super proud and fortunate for all of that. I never thought a company as big as MTV would ever even notice my music, especially considering they don't play much music anymore but, like, its cool. Weird, but awesome.
DB: I'm sure it's also had a big part in helping boost your career.
KD: Absolutely. People who wouldn't normally listen to my music have heard of it one way or another and that's cool. Regardless of if they actually like it or not, at least they are hearing it.
DB: Have you found any difficulties in balancing life?
KD: Not really. I think the only difficult thing for me was trying to finish high school while going on a two month tour. I definitely wanted to finish school so I did a lot of school work on the bus. I also didn't want to miss prom so I made sure I flew home right after the tour ended so I could make it. I even made my mom go to the school and get the paperwork.
DB: Is there any difference between "Just Kait" the musician and "Kait DiBenedetto" the person?
KD: Not really. Who I am in real life is exactly how I am on stage. Some of the songs I write and perform as Just Kait are a little more pop then some of the stuff I actually listen to, but that's not anything that shocking. A lot of people are like that. In early interviews with Just Kait there were definitely moments where I was told to act or restrict myself in a certain way just because I've always been pretty straight forward and sometimes people or places weren't ready for that, but besides that, there's no difference.
DB: Well it certainly seems like you're able to completely be yourself. I'm sure that also helps you connect with your fans a lot better.
KD: Exactly. I got sick of people telling me what to say and what not to say. Like you said, fans understand the real me and that's something they respect. They obviously aren't going to want to look up to an artist who's fake or dishonest. They can relate to a lot of the things I say and do because of that.
DB: Is it a weird feeling to still be growing up and being looked up to?
KD: Oh yeah. It's crazy sometimes to think that people that are older then me actually look up to me. Especially because like I told you earlier, I'm always myself around them and they are more like friends to me than anything. It definitely makes me feel good though.
DB: You perform as "Just Kait," but you're often accompanied by a band. Do you prefer to perform solo or with the band?
KD: With a band for sure. Honestly, before I started "Just Kait," I wanted the whole project to be more of a band and much less a solo project but things didn't pan out that way. I've always loved live shows with big guitars and drums.
DB: You've been working on a new EP. How's that been going?
KD: Awesome! I'm so proud of the entire thing. It really means a lot to me and I'm excited to release it in the summer!
DB: What's this album going to be like compared to your previous work?
KD: Its totally different. It shows a completely different side of me. Obviously, I pour my heart and soul into all the music I write, but these are more serious songs and you can just feel the emotion in every word and riff. Some of the subjects are a lot more [relative] in one way or another.
DB: Everyday new musicians try to make it, but more fail than succeed. In the unfortunate scenario that things don't pan out for you, do you have a pack up plan?
KD: Honestly, no. That sounds terrible but I don't. I put all my time and money into this. Money I had saved for college went to my music career and I honestly don't regret it. I went all in with this. I do have interests in other things that I'd like to do like a clothing line or something along those lines, but music is my thing.
DB: I have to say, I've done quite a few interviews and it's not very often somebody shows that type of determination and certainty.
KD: Well to me its not just music. I'm not doing it to impress anyone, I do it because I love it and its what keeps me sane. If I don't put 1,000 percent into it, I feel like I'm letting myself down.
DB: Finally, Kait, if you're only remembered for one thing, what do you wish that to be?
KD: I want to be remembered for lyrics and music that touched people. Whether that's taken in a corny way or a super serious way, I don't care. Its really cliche' but if I got one person through a bad day or saved anyone’s life in anyway, that's perfect for me.
DB: Kait for as young as you are, you've accomplished so much that people most people couldn't imagine and you're only getting started. You're positive attitude makes you a great role model and you're musical skills are incredible. Thank you so much for talking to me tonight and I wish you the best of luck.
KD: Thank you so much. It mean's so much to me and you're welcome.