“I am very grateful for my life every day”

While tattoo artist and entrepreneur Kat Von D is known for her hit makeup brand, animal rights activism, and TLC reality show LA Ink, she has her debut album, Love Made Me Do, to date. publishes it, with collaborations with Peter Murphy, Dave Grohl, Linda Perry, Danny Loehner from Nine Inch Nails and Ladyhawke. But it turns out that music has always been Kat’s “first and foremost passion” since she began taking classical piano lessons at the age of 5.

“I’ve never fallen in love [with music]”, Kat tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I think when I was little – well, I think to myself – I resented my parents for being pretty strict. I would have to [practice piano] two hours a day, every day, on a timer, during which time everyone else was outside, having fun and having a normal life. … But now I’m just so grateful that my parents were so disciplined because I don’t think I would have had the discipline that I have now to obey everything I do. “

Kat was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico and moved to Southern California when she was 4 years old. Her parents were Seventh-day Adventist missionaries and were understandably concerned when their daughter started listening to punk music, dressed in strange clothes, and generally rebelled against her conservative, traditional beliefs. (She got her first tattoo at 14 and dropped out of school at 16 to become a tattoo artist.) Recently, Kat posted a bold and heartbreaking Instagram video describing her harrowing six month ordeal at the age of 15 as she made her way to Provo Canyon School (the same infamous apartment building behavior modification facility featured in Paris Hilton’s documentary This Is Paris) where it says it has suffered physical, mental, and emotional abuse. At the time, Kat’s mother and father did not know she was finding her own identity and voice, which of course would serve her well in adulthood as she pursued her creative passions. But as traumatic as the Provo experience was, Kat is not bad at her parents. “I think parenting is probably a little easier now than the lack of support they had. I love my childhood. I think I had a great childhood. I think my parents made a huge mistake in sending me to school, but that was on the pretext that they were helping me in ways that they weren’t. And I don’t think it’s her fault or anything, ”she says.

The story goes on

“You know, I come from a different culture, a different country,” explains Kat. “My parents are from Argentina and I was born in Mexico. When we moved to America, it wasn’t like my parents had been Americanized in any way. They had no sense of pop culture or understanding of any of that. And I don’t blame them for freaking out. We lived in a very rural area where we weren’t exposed to much other than what was “normal” in society or what was considered normal at the time. I remember the first time I shaved my head and they were more concerned about it than about the tattoos I got – and I was 14 years old at the time. … They were worried about what the people in the church would think, and they had these old stigmas around any kind of counterculture. It was very scary for her.

“You know, [the advertisements for Provo Canyon School] Just show, ‘Hey, we’re here to fix your child.’ And then you go to the website and there is this really nice photo of the outside of a school – which, by the way, you are never in that school. You are in an actual cell unit outside of this range. So, I think they’re selling this to you; They are selling this fake solution to parents who are already afraid. It’s not like they’re telling you, ‘Hey, we’re going to abuse your child now.’ That’s not what most parents would sign, ”Kat continues. “So, I think it’s a lot more deceitful because these industries are kind of indulging in fear. So I got it [my parents’] Fear. I just think they could have handled it differently. But on the other hand, as a mother, I write notes to myself about all of the things my parents taught me not to do. There are many things that I would do the same, but I want to learn from these mistakes. “

Kat, now 39, has an almost 3-year-old son with her husband, the artist and musician Rafael Reyes from the post-punk duo Prayers. “It sounds so silly and simple, but it’s just communication,” she says when asked about her parenting style. “My parents didn’t talk [to me]; They never really asked me how I was doing and they really mean business. For example, when I was starting to look different, talking to me would have helped me understand what I was processing instead of just saying, ‘Oh no, we need to fix this!’ And so I want to be more and more open to my son. I’m not trying to be his best friend because I’m still his mom, but I want to be a safe place for him – which I’ve never felt. I’ve never had that in my family. I never had the safe place. I always felt, ‘If you go through that door, it will be one type of bad, and then this door will be another type of bad.’ “

Kat is now happily settled in with her husband and son – see her performing at the piano after 23 minutes at her Gothic fairy tale wedding – which is what makes it so interesting that Love Made Me Do It, which was written 10 years ago, inspires was caused by a “dysfunctional relationship” and an “unrequited love scenario” with another successful musician (whose name she does not want to mention). “He wrote an album for me and sent it home with a note on it that said, ‘These are all things that are easier sung than said.’ So I sat down and listened to the album, and I was so touched by it that I thought, ‘What better way to respond than by writing? [my own] Album? ‘”She reveals. “So yeah, if you fast-forward now, I’m happily married and have a beautiful son with my husband, and I don’t think about this guy at all anymore. But I think that’s fine because I think music is like tattoos in the sense that they are milestones in time. “

Kat describes Love Made Me Do It as a collection of “hymns for the hopeless and hopeful romantics because I think although there is a sense of doom and darkness there is still a glimmer of hope. I think we are at a time when the idea of ​​true love is being destroyed. We make everything cheaper. Everyone is disposable. Everyone’s attention span is nonexistent, and we live our lives most of the time on our phones. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to really feel connected to people right now – surprisingly with all the social media we have, but on a deeper level. And I hope people don’t lose sight of that. I don’t want to sound like ‘in my time’ … but I think there were some ideals that I hope people won’t let go of. “

With everything Kat has been through, one has to wonder if she ever imagined she would have this wonderful life with a loving marriage, a child, and a full empire. She is a post-punk / counterculture embodiment of the American dream in many ways. “We have a red pool in the back yard and I recently posted a picture of my son jumping in. And someone wrote back: ‘Do you feel like you are living in a dream?’ And I do. Every day is a dream. I am one of those people with whom not a day goes by without me saying: ‘This is unbelievable’ ”, she is amazed. “And I am so grateful because I come from a country that does not offer you all the opportunities that this country offers. I love Mexico very much, but my childhood lived in a building with no electricity or running water and jam-packed floors. It’s a whole different world, and there was something beautiful about simplicity, but there’s also no beauty to like unnecessary suffering, you know?

“So I am very grateful for my life every day. My husband is great. My child is beautiful and healthy. And I can sing for the people. That’s pretty great. I don’t know what else I could ask for. “

Check out Kat Von D’s full, in-depth Yahoo Entertainment interview below, where she talks about the making of her album, the music that inspired her as a teenager and now inspires her, sobriety, struggles for respect as a young woman in the tattoo -Industry to be taken seriously as a musician, why she decided to blacken some of her tattoos and a future musical collaboration with the unique Charro:

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– Video produced by Jen Kucsak, edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

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