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Finding Pride in a Sea of Negativity: Katie Hargrove of Indie Duo Wild Story

By Emma Page

Indie pop duo Wild Story, formed by best friends Viv Parker and Katie Hargrove during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistently delivers hard-hitting music that finds itself in the hands of those who need to hear the band’s uplifting messages most – this can mean those who feel isolated due to negative perceptions of their sexuality. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Hargrove understands the importance of representation and recognizes the significance of spreading optimism in a world full of negativity.

This Pride Month, read more to learn about how Wild Story’s Katie Hargrove navigates her authentic queer perspective and implements this passion for human connection into her music storytelling with contributing writer Emma Page.

Wild Story - Brynne Zaniboni
Wild Story – Photo by Brynne Zaniboni

It is evident from their synchronicity that Parker and Hargrove are deeply connected on a creative level. Hargrove explained how the pandemic brought the two closer as they started forming their sound. Even writing sessions over Zoom could not break their creative chemistry. “Viv and I are like family,” she said. “We’re like brother and sister in a lot of ways. I feel like you can hear that in the music. When one of us starts a sentence, the other one finishes it.”

Wild Story

This connection provided a strong foundation for the stories they wanted to tell and gave the two an outlet during such a hard time as the pandemic. “It was really tough to just feel inspired to make music,” she explained. “So having something that was new for both of us, that wasn’t just another solo project or something attached to one of our names, was really exciting.”

Wild Story released their single “Different” last June, which made a statement during Pride Month to spread themes of positivity and togetherness during periods of instability. “I think ‘Different’ was written at the exact time that it should have been written because I was feeling all of those things and it really resonated with people,” Hargrove said. “We had so many people hit us up on Instagram that they heard it and they came out to their families or that the song has been getting them through not being supported. And it’s hard because we released it during Pride Month, but there’s so many people who aren’t safe or comfortable coming out because they’ll be kicked out of the house, they’ll be beat up or they’ll be killed.”

Hargrove recognizes the complexities that come along with a queer journey and that her perspective has shaped the music that she wishes to put out into the world. She points to “Different” as the kind of song she needed when she was a kid growing up in a small town in Tennessee, where she wasn’t surrounded by any queer people. Her younger self would be proud of her vulnerability present in “Different,” which she explained was her first release that she approached being open about her sexuality. Emphasizing that it should be something celebrated all year round, she explained what Pride means to her: “I think Pride to me is just about feeling safe and supported enough to live out like my authentic self and to have that be something that goes into my music,” she said. “I think it’s because I had so many experiences with labels and companies where they would say ‘Just wear the dress’ and try to cover up any part of you that doesn’t really click with the rest of society. It made me think maybe I wasn’t as marketable if I was gay.”

Katie Hargrove - Photo by Drea Rose
Katie Hargrove – Photo by Drea Rose

Pride is a unifying experience, she explained. “I think it’s a really beautiful time for the world to come together and realize we’re not all as different as we think we are, that there is a really beautiful common ground that we can all meet on, which is love and just loving each other, despite our differences.” However, she recognizes that some aspects of Pride are a privilege, like all of the parades fluttering with rainbows of acceptance. “I think it’s so important to talk about the fact that it’s a privilege to live in a place where we can do those things. And I think we have to keep raising our voices for those who can’t.”

She reflects on tough times and realizes that her music can be a beacon of light for others. “I think having optimism, especially with our music and having that underlying sense of light – of ‘somebody loves you’ and ‘you have a place’ and ‘there’s somewhere that’s meant for you’ – is just a natural thing that came with me struggling to own my own sexuality,” Hargrove said. It’s a natural part of her to not worry about what other people think, and she tries to extend that mindset to others. “I feel like a lot of the queer community has that bone within them of, ‘You may not understand it, but somebody will.’”

Hargrove agrees that music is a particularly cathartic way to stay mindful in life and express deeper emotions. She finds a song more meaningful when it has an underlying message that someone might need – those are the ones that will be “everlasting,” rather than just something to dance to. She describes Wild Story’s songwriting process as “almost like a therapy session.” Most of their songwriting is done together because “it almost feels sacred,” she said.

Their music blurs boundaries, like with genre, leaning into their own evolution of sound that transcends restrictions. With honesty central to their craft, Hargrove and Parker are able to spread unity.

Katie Hargrove will be releasing a solo project in August after she has been busy songwriting for other artists (some queer, too!) for the past few years in Los Angeles. She also is the co-host of a queer-fronted podcast, Just Get to the Chorus. “Stories are what connect all of us,” said Hargrove, and she will continue to share important stories in whatever ways she can.

Support this queer creator by listening to Wild Story’s uplifting soundscapes and looking out for new releases!

Alchemical Records contributor Emma Page

Emma Page

Emma Page, a recent Journalism graduate of The George Washington University, possesses a passion for music journalism and storytelling in all its forms. Originally from Baltimore, MD, when she is not writing, she can be found at a local concert or making music of her own.

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