• What: Patten Unplugged presents Katie Trotta.
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.
• Where: Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.
• Admission: $10
• Phone: 423-425-4371, 423-425-4269
• Website: www.utc.edu/fine-arts-center
Katie Trotta has come full circle.
The Indiana native has spent the last decade or so in Massachusetts, Texas and Tennessee pursuing her music.
Earlier this summer, the singer/songwriter left her most recent stop, Nashville, and returned home.
"The music industry is a funny place," she says. "Living in a city like Nashville, you get an up-close look, and you're either cut out for it or you're not. The entire reason I began writing when I was a teenager was because it made me happy. Somehow over time, things changed, and once it became a source of constant frustration, I knew I needed to walk away."
Trotta will return to the Volunteer State on Saturday, Sept. 14, and visit Chattanooga for the first time when she launches the 2013-14 Patten Performance Series with a concert at the Roland Hayes Concert Hall in the UTC Fine Arts Center.
"After having a few months away from Nashville and the bustle of the industry," she says, "I am really looking forward to a night of sharing my songs and stories in a relaxed setting and not worrying about anything else other than making it a fun night for me and the listeners."
Trotta will be the first Patten Unplugged performer in the history of the annual series. Two Unplugged performers were added to the series to offer a more personal, acoustic atmosphere, according to a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga news release.
A year ago this month, Trotta was in the finishing touches of raising $7,800 with a Kickstarter campaign that allowed her to record "Twenty Something," her first full-length, fully produced album, which features piano-driven pop songs about stumbling through relationships, growing up and figuring out what you want out of life.
Although Trotta writes about personal experiences, she says her songs often wind up being appreciated by adults of all ages.
"I'm a writer who finds inspiration in personal experiences," she said. "To be completely honest, it's a pretty selfish process. When I write, I'm not thinking about how someone else could relate to my songs; I'm writing to sort through my own emotions. But, inevitably, my unique experience is never unique. We're all going through the same things."
Trotta says the song "Twenty Something," for instance, is about figuring out life in your 20s.
"I have had so many people come up to me after shows," she says, "and say they still feel that way, and they're in their 40s or 50s. Same with any song I've written about a breakup. Everyone has experienced romantic heartache. Their story might not be identical to mine, but we've felt the same things. The fact that as a listener I can connect intimately to something a complete stranger wrote is a constant reminder that we're all going through the same things. I think that's what I love most about music."
Contact Clint Cooper at email@example.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.