UT freshman traverses rock music world with band ‘Release the Reign’

Lana Haffar

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the March 23 issue of The Daily Texan.

Adorned with dark eyeshadow and a red bass guitar, Katelyn Ware takes her place at center stage, her sister Natalie by her side. Plugging in their amps, the sister-led rock band prepares to energize the audience.   

“When you play in front of people, and you just see them bobbing their head, it’s so validating,”  business freshman Katelyn said. “You’re doing something that sparks people’s attention. People are alive with you.”

Growing up around WareHouse Rock Academy in Conroe, Texas, a music school owned and operated by her parents, Katelyn said playing music with her sister has always been a part of her life. In 2015, at the ages of 13 and 9, the sisters decided to start a band.

“We’ve always been jamming together,” Katelyn said. “We decided to start going out and playing shows together instead of (being casual).” 

When the sisters first formed the band, they called themselves “Underage” to reflect how young they were, but as they grew older, they rebranded themselves as “Release the Reign.”

Natalie started as the drummer, then transitioned to guitar, while Katelyn delivers powerful vocals as the lead singer and bassist. 

“I would classify (us) as rock, but alternative rock,” Katelyn said. “It’s more like harder music in the background and then softer vocals. There’s more actual singing than other rock bands.” 

The Ware sisters released their debut EP in 2017 and filmed a music video for their song “Lights Out” in 2018, which has garnered almost 20,000 views on YouTube. 

In the summer of 2018, the sisters went on tour and performed at venues such as Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, California. After their set, they were approached by Rock Avenue Records about a record deal. 

“We played Whisky a Go Go, and (Rock Avenue Records) told us that they really liked us,” Katelyn said. “A few weeks later, we were signed with them.” 
Last year, Sami Schutt, a freshman at Lone Star College, joined the band as a drummer. Schutt played with the Ware sisters at their family’s school before the sisters invited her to join the band.

“Being able to be a part of this (group) is the best experience,” Schutt said. “I used to be a fan of (the band), and now I get to perform with them and help inspire people in the crowd.”

Songwriting is a collaborative process for the band, and Natalie said they favor messages that are open for interpretation. 

“It’s kind of cool that some of the lyrics that we have … people will think they’re about a boy, and some people will get something completely different,” Natalie said. 

Last summer, the band put on “quarantine shows” on Facebook Live in order to keep playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Natalie said performing without a live audience was an interesting experience.

“Our parents tried to be like a live crowd, but it was really weird,” Natalie said. “They tried to create a mosh pit with just them.”

As Katelyn completes her freshman year online, she said she is excited to interact with live audiences again.

“On stage … you have a chance to say something that means something,” Katelyn said. “I connect with these new people in so many different ways through music.”