Often compared to Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake -- quite favorably, no less -- singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams was born in Liverpool in 1974. Her father was a folksinger and, as a child, Williams studied piano and guitar while listening to such '60s icons as Bob Dylan. Later, while attending art college in Newcastle, her songwriting prowess began to outpace her dexterity with a paintbrush. She began writing songs in private, citing a diverse array of influences including Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, the Velvet Underground, and Nick Cave.

Fed up with music labels who did not return her phone calls, Williams released her debut, Dog Leap Stairs, on her own Caw Records. Co-produced by PJ Harvey associate Head, the album reportedly cost a mere 80 pounds to record (with some sources quoting as little as 75). Williams used her art school education to self-design the album cover's arresting image, setting a tradition that would be repeated on most of her subsequent releases. Dog Leap Stairs received praise for its spare arrangements and unique perspective on British folk, and Williams began to assemble a devoted following.

She followed that up by investing even more of her own money to record, produce and release 2000's Little Black Numbers. The album garnered plenty of favourable praise from the notoriously fickle British press and would go on to secure a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination. Since then, Kathryn has released seven more albums, all to great critical acclaim. The latest release being a collaboration with Simon Edwards and co-vocalist Ginny Clee, aided by Portishead’s Adrian Utley, under the nom de plume The Pond. An album which Q Magazine declared “might be her best effort yet.. Fascinating rhythms and effects everywhere. A welcome surprise.”