Publisher's Playlist 5

Kat McMahon, Publisher of Paradise Valley Lifestyle

Kat McMahon grew up in Syracuse, New York. As a kid, she listened to the radio and strategically recorded mixtapes with her boom box, carefully hitting the stop button so she wouldn’t record the DJ over the song. Her favorites included pop, Motown, disco and southern rock tunes. Rhythms changed with the seasons, and summer brought melodies from John Denver, Carly Simon, Carole King and the Beatles. Her home was always filled with music. She played piano, violin and attempted to learn guitar.

“Mom and I would do duets for the family. She’d play the piano, and I’d play the violin,” Kat says. “I can’t say I’ve played much of either instrument in years unless you count ‘air playing,’ but I have fond memories.”

As cassette tapes were exchanged for compact discs, Kat grew up. Five states and 12 moves later, she landed in Arizona where she became an account manager with Lifestyle Publications. Kat became a publisher because she was seeking more involvement with the magazine.

“My husband, Mike, came on board in March, and together, we’re helping connect community in North Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. It’s an adventure every day, and we’re blessed to meet the people, businesses and organizations we cross paths with,” she says.

Kat spends a lot of time in her car and entertains herself by bopping and singing to pop, old school, Christian and country music. She enjoys a wide variety of music genres. Occasionally, she listens to talk radio. Mike has rubbed off on her a bit.

Although her car gigs are fun, her favorite way to listen to music is live. Kat has rocked out at more than 50 concerts, including Journey, Genesis, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Michael W. Smith, The Jackson 5, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Tim McGraw, Whitney Houston, Backstreet Boys (for her kids, of course), Tina Turner, Jimmy Buffet, Dave Matthews, Usher and Zac Brown Band. The performance that wins the prize for most memorable was Michael Jackson’s.

“It was when he started his solo career with his ‘Off the Wall’ tour, and we were up front,” Kat says. “He was such an incredible performer, and his dance moves were amazing, even back then.”

Here are some of Kat’s favorite tunes:

  • “Let’s Groove Tonight” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • “Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts
  • “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks
  • “Moon River” by Andy Williams
  • “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis
  • “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
  • “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  • “10,000 Reasons” by various artists

A few things haven’t changed since Kat was a kid. Music still inspires, uplifts and moves her until her feet can’t help but dance.

“Music has and will always be a big part of me,” she says. “Whether it’s a song, a dance or a combination. I’m so grateful for the gift of music.”