Katherine Paul, who performs under the name Black Belt Eagle Scout, was raised on Puget Sound in the small Swinomish Indian Tribal Community about an hour from the Canadian border in Northwest Washington. Steeped in musical and spiritual heritage from an early age, her family taught her Coast Salish music, drumming, and jingle dress dance, while other indigenous music often filled her house.
Paul traveled to pow wows across the region throughout her childhood with her family’s drum group, the Skagit Valley Singers. In third grade, she started learning piano and played flute in her school band. Then as a teenager, she fell for the Pacific Northwest’s regional music scene, going so far as to teach herself to play guitar from bootlegged Nirvana VHS tapes.
A decade ago, Paul moved to Portland for college and entered its burgeoning indie music scene. She started out playing drums and singing for various local bands before discovering her own particular talents. After the release of her first self-titled EP in 2014, Paul released Black Belt Eagle Scout’s debut LP, Mother of My Children, on Good Cheer Records in August 2017. Saddle Creek then widened her audience when it re-released the album in September 2018.