"I grew up around it," Reider, a 21-year-old Ohio State junior pursuing a degree in family studies, recalls. "I started out singing in front of my family in front of the fireplace. I would take out a poker from next to the fireplace and use it as a microphone."
"My parents gave me my first guitar, a red Gibson Epiphone, when I was in fifth grade," she says, with a laugh, "I didn't play it that much at first, but when my brother started picking it up and getting good at it, I thought, 'Hey I need to give this a try.' "
On Saturday, Reider will require a somewhat larger venue than her parents' hearth for her next concert, when she performs at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater.
Her last major downtown performance was at the side stage at Pepsi Jammin' on Main last spring. She looks forward to the more intimate setting inside the Aronoff.
"I am more of an acoustic musician, and I think Jarson-Kaplan will be a place conducive to my style of music," she says. "Jammin' on Main was a great time, being able play in front of huge masses of people was great, but this will make for a cozy setting."
Her most recent album, Wonder, was released early last year. On the album, she says, lyrically she explored different aspects and phases of relationships.
"Some of the songs are autobiographical, and some are things I have observed from my friends' life experience," she says. "We live, we learn, and we grow. Certainly, there are times when we all feel like we just can't go on. But in times like these, we find a deep reserve of inner strength. That strength is something that I focus on."
She will begin work on her follow-up album this summer, and hopes to have it released this fall. Tyler Brown, who produced Wonder, will also produce the new album. She has already written a few songs for the album which she will perform at Saturday's show.
"One song, 'Butterfly Queen,' was written by a good friend of mine," she says. "She asked me to look over her lyrics and they were just beautiful. My new material is maybe a little more Rock-oriented than Wonder, but I think those who have heard my work before won't see any major changes."
Her accompanying musicians include Josh Seurkamp on guitar, Dave Eberhardt on drums, Greg Hansen on bass and her older brother, Robbie Reider on acoustic guitar and backup vocals. She loves the closeness she feels with her brother while they are onstage.
"We are just so much alike. It's almost like we finish each other's sentences," she says with a laugh. "We can just look at each other onstage, and crack up laughing. Being my older brother, he is protective."
Reider has had some unique adventures to inspire her creativity. Rather than beginning college immediately after graduation from high school, she joined a Christian missionary group, Youth on a Mission, that traveled the world. She visited Nepal, India, Greece and Japan.
"Obviously, having the opportunity to visit another culture is tremendously enriching," Reider says. "I especially enjoyed Greece, walking through places like the Acropolis, where some of the great early thinkers in human history walked."
As for her future, Reider looks to complete her degree in spring 2001. While she sees a career in family counseling as an option, her heart is still in her lyrics and her guitar.
"I just feel like such a different person with a guitar in my hand," she says. "Just talking, I can be a little shy at times. But give me a guitar and a microphone, and I have no fear in saying what I want to say."
KATIE REIDER and her band perform at the Aronoff Center on Saturday.