Black Belt Eagle Scout is the solo project of Portland-based artist Katherine Paul, whose music draws from alt-rock and Native American traditions. As a multi-instrumentalist, Paul quickly delved into the city's pervasive indie scene as part of a couple of notable bands in the 2010s before branching out on her own with the distinctive slant of 2018's "Soft Stud," which paired cycling motifs with grimy riffs and an elegant vocal.
Paul was raised in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and from an early age she sang and danced at powwows. Her entry into music came in the form of her family's native musical traditions and a few old Nirvana and Hole VHS tapes, from which she learned to play guitar and drums in her teenage years. In 2007 she moved from Washington State to Portland, Oregon to go to college, and became involved with the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls, later cutting her teeth in Portland bands Genders and Forest Park. In 2014, Paul's first solo release under the Black Belt Eagle Scout moniker appeared in the form of a self-titled EP, but it would be her debut full-length record just a few years later that really resonated beyond the city's vibrant scene.
Paul returned to her hometown in Northwest Washington to record Mother of My Children with Nich Wilber at Anacortes Unknown recording studio. The album was originally put out by the Portland independent label Good Cheer in 2017, and later picked up by Saddle Creek, which released the record in 2018 with "Soft Stud" being the first taster of Black Belt Eagle Scout's unique sound. The album was a deeply personal effort that ruminated on losses Paul had experienced while coming to grips with her identity as an indigenous queer woman. ~ Bekki Bemrose