Karsten mug shot
Karsten Soltauer, Songwriter and Head Haberdasher, started his professional music career in the San Jose, California area in the 1980s and ’90s. As the energetic frontman for the underground pop band Finger Cafe, Karsten wrote and performed many of his own infectious songs, and shared the stage with many prominent musicians, such as Smashmouth’s Greg Camp. He went on to be keyboardist for the popular Bob Marley tribute band I-Groove, opening for many top reggae performers, including Toots and the Maytals, Eek-A-Mouse, and Pato Banton. While a member of the Northern California Songwriters Association, Karsten wrote with several other songwriters before meeting Kate O’Neill in 1997, and has been working exclusively with her ever since. You can reach Karsten at karsten@honeybowtie.com.


Kate O’Neill, Songwriter and Queen Bee, was first exposed to great music by legendary jazz pianist and family friend Art Hodes (who also taught her how to play gin rummy). She began her classical training at age 9 and became an accomplished clarinetist, studying jazz music and improvisation, writing her own arrangements, and attending workshops with jazz legends such as Clark Terry and Louie Bellson. At the same time, Kate was winning awards for her poetry and receiving recognition for her versatile writing style. By age 17, she’d begun applying one set of skills to the other, writing songs with deep lyrical content and broad musical appeal. In 1997, when Kate met Karsten Soltauer and heard his hook-driven songs, she knew she’d found her ideal partner. You can reach Kate at queenbee@honeybowtie.com.


More of Our Backstory

Welcome to our site, and our songwriting and anything-else-we-feel-like-writing-about blog. We’re Kate O’ and Karsten, two Chicago-area natives transplanted to Nashville by way of California and Oregon. We moved here to further our songwriting / song publishing business but have fallen in love with the city and our little neighborhood.

Latest view of the porchSince early 1995, we’ve been renovating the oldest brick house in Nashville, where we live with our six hilarious cats. They’re better entertainment than TV, which is a good thing since we don’t own a TV. (We do, however, own two DVD players by way of computers, and we watch a few TV shows on DVD, which is how we know that “Arrested Development” iswas the coolest TV show ever. May it rest in peace.)

If you haven’t figured out by now, Kate O’ does most of the talking. This phenomenon is not unique to this blog.

OverflowingI’m sort of a huge film buff, and I usually know more geeky film trivia than just about anyone in any room, which is fun but kind of embarassing. Karsten and I watch a lot of movies, and together we’ve been building our perfect DVD collection since 1998 when we bought our first DVD player. We were pretty poor for a few years in there, so it’s not really a huge collection, but it feels like a good amount of variety. We’ve also been Netflix subscribers since 1998, and I worked there in the early ’00s.

Karsten and I have been writing songs together almost since we met in late 1997. We write in many different styles from country (duh, this is Nashville, after all) to reggae to zydeco. Well, no, not really zydeco, but it makes for a good story. I have a degree in German, but I don’t often write songs in German. I have, however, written a reggae song in English that may get picked up in the German market.

We would love to work on songwriting full-time, but it’s not paying all the bills yet. (Maybe if we didn’t buy so many DVDs.) So by day, Karsten writes songs, but he also creates visual art, and renovates the house. I work in technology, utilizing arcane bits of my language and linguistics education. I do web and software design, documentation, training, and project management. On paper, my professional background looks like a hybrid of content development and content management, with quite a bit of search design work thrown in for fun, and that’s partly true, but in practice, there’s always been a technology and language/communication theme to my work. I enjoy that. Anyway, my current gig is working on site optimization and user experience issues for an e-commerce company. It’s pretty cool.

I occasionally post moblog entries from my Treo 680. When I do, they’re linked to my flickr account. If you’re also a flickr user and you want to keep up with my photos, feel free to add me as a contact.

I also do some offline freelance writing between gigs and on the side. You can see an example of it in this Vegetarian Journal article on “Vegan Cajun and Creole Cooking”. Oh yeah, and I’m vegan. Or at least vegetarian, when I give in and eat dairy. And I also cook pretty well.

Other links possibly of interest: my Amazon wish list, so feel free to peruse that if you want an idea of the kinds of things I’d own if I had all the money in the world… or just a bit more of it than I currently do.

Thanks for reading!