How long have you been in Tucson?
It's been six years. We came in 2002 from New York City. I'm half-Swiss and half-New Yorker. As a child, I mostly grew up in Europe, but my father lived in New York, so I spent a lot of time there. My husband and I had traveled and camped a little in the wildlife areas outside of Tucson before Sept. 11, and we totally fell in love with the desert. It was love at first, second and third sight. And then we went back to New York and felt trapped.
What was difficult about living in New York?
We were just getting tired of living in the city, and as a performer, I did not want to do that route that you have to in New York, which is just giving it your all. I'm a versatile person. I'm a Sagittarius. I like doing many different things. ... When we returned to New York, Sept. 11 happened, and many of us began to think of what we wanted to do now, instead of one day.
What's it like to work with your husband?
He was an essential part in our success, since packaging is as important, if not more, than the quality of the product. We often say that I am KATE, and Jorge is MAGIK. He did all the design/packaging, tester-station displays and labels. Now, he works in sales and training. Right now, he's in Seattle meeting with Whole Foods Market.
What do you think makes your products unique and important?
I am a strong believer in clear intention being a key to harmony and success. If we are clear on what doesn't serve us, it is easier to manifest what we crave and deserve. The healing powers of the essential oil, applied with clear intention, together with the power of scent, make our oils a magical tool for self-healing and success.
Once you got your business running, did the music follow?
It was hard at first, especially as a singer (trying to) find musicians. And I was not in the scene. My background is jazz. It seemed a lot easier around here to find folk and country musicians than to find jazz musicians. Eventually, I found different players and would sporadically do things with KXCI (FM 91.3), and my husband is a DJ there, so that helped me to meet people. Now, for about two years, I've been working with the same person, and we perform every couple of months. I've been doing quite a bit of music at The Hut, and I host the Listening Series. Every month, I invite different artists; next month, it will be Loveland and Courtney Robbins.
In the end, is it the life you wanted to create for yourself?
I would say, in German, a good answer is "yein," which means yes and no. Yes, absolutely. It is amazing what is happening with this company and that I'm finally back doing music. In some ways, it is way more than I have ever imagined. But I look forward to that level where the company is flowing, and the debt is being paid off, and I can remove myself more. I'm on the computer most of the day. Is that where I want to be? Probably not, but I'm willing to do it. With my music, you know, I'm not 40 yet, but I want to record an album before I'm 40. I just turned 39. I've felt like my first album would be in my 30s, but it will happen this year, and my work is better than it's ever been. Sometimes, I have to kick this whole idea of comparing myself to other artists, but also this notion that you have to be young to be seen or to be heard. But I know these people who are in their 60s and 70s who are doing unbelievable work. I'm never going to retire. I will retire from computer and sales--I'll retire from that (but not music).