Star from inspiring documentary YOU and ME - Kate Southwell is in Auckland and takes time out to speak to Chelsey

YOU and ME follows the extraordinary true story of David (Barney) Miller, an active, life loving guy who became a quadriplegic 17 years ago as an emerging Pro Surfer when the car he was a passenger in got driven into a tree at over 120kms an hour. Told by doctors he would never breathe independently or be able to use his right arm or legs again, Barney has defied all medical assessments through grit, self-belief, hard work and sheer guts. 

Kate Southwell, who Barney meets and falls in love with is a girl with her own demons in her past that she needs to face but Miller exposes her dream of being a singer. What soon becomes apparent through watching the documentary is that the help goes two ways, bringing out the best in each other.

1. How big are you in Aussie with your music?

Honestly, not as big as I know it can be but my music is starting to get out there more and more which is always exciting.

2. Where does the name Kada come from?

I knew I wanted a stage name. Something to represent my soul, the songwriter. I started looking through names that stemmed from Kate or Kathryn and came across the name Kada. Its meaning is to seek The Unknown. For me, that is my life, we are always reaching for the impossible & walking the paths that no one else has.

3. It must have been amazing singing the American National Anthem at an American Major League Baseball Game – what was it like? Any backlash about you not being American?

It was an incredible experience. I was so nervous because it is 'the' American National Anthem and so many Americans have got it so wrong. Being an Aussie definitely put the pressure on but it turned out to be a magical moment. No one seemed to care that I wasn’t American, I think that they were actually even prouder that I wasn’t and still knew their anthem and could sing it.

4. It seems a lot of your songs are inspired by Barney is that right?

Barney has definitely brought a lot of inspiration into my song writing but more so than just love. He inspired me to follow my dream and believe in it. Seeing him achieve what they say is impossible really puts things into perspective and makes you question how much we limit ourselves because we are scared to try.

5. What artists inspire you from a music perspective and what song has got you humming right now?

I am inspired by so many different artists, Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson, Florence and the Machine, Adele, Sia, Lorde, Rihanna, Beyonce, Matt Corby, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Tupac.

My favourite song at the moment is Adele's – I Miss You.  

6. Is it true Mick Fanning helped you get a break in America with your singing? How did that come about, what does a surfer know about music!?

Haha well yes. After telling Mick I was going to pursue music, he connected me with a friend of his, Kevin Zinger, who owns a record label in LA. I wasn’t suited for that label but Zinger has become a great friend over the years and introduced me to my now head producer John Edney.

7. From the doco your step dad seems an amazing guy, when he drove you up north you must have hated him…when did you realise he’d probably saved your life?

Well I actually don’t see him as my step dad. He is my dad. He adopted me when I was young & has been there since I was born. Looking back, I truly am blessed to have had him. It must have been hard for him, knowing that biologically I am not his but he never once treated me as though I wasn’t, even when I pushed past those bounderies that should never be crossed. I wouldn’t say I ever hated him. It was more that I was a bratty teenager that had an idea of how my life should be and he was a protective father standing in the way of that. Let's just say it was a strong frustration back then but one that I am forever grateful for now.

8. What was it about Barney that told you he was the one for you?

There was a great level of trust and communication between us pretty much straight away. There were so many little things to begin with that made me feel something so soon but the big one was when he heard me sing for the first time. He told me with the most certainty that I needed to do this. I am so grateful to have a relationship built on believing in each others dreams without having to compromise.

9. In the doco Barney’s friends were concerned you’d move on from Barney, how hard was that and how did you win them over?

It was pretty obvious how they all felt about me and honestly I don’t blame them. I was 17 and ready to commit to a relationship that was in no way a normal one but all I knew was that I loved Barney and he loved me and I hoped that would be enough for them to see. They are now my best friends too and I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if they never approved haha!

10. Where to from here musically for you?

I wrote and recorded a few songs for YOU and ME which will be featured on my next album that I am currently working on. I will be releasing the first single ‘I’ll Follow’ very soon too.

I recently just had my producer, John visit from LA to help me set up my recording studio in our new home. I have been strictly on the creative side up until now so for me the next phase is learning how to do the more technical side. I think its important I learn to do as much as I can in the studio so I can be more productive in bringing my vision to life. It’s a new challenge for me but one I am excited for.

YOU and ME plays on Garage TV, Sky TV 77 on:

3rd Nov, Thursday, 8pm

4th Nov, Friday, 12midday

6th Nov, Sunday, 6pm

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