Notion caught up with South London singer-songwriter Cat Burns to discuss finding fame during lockdown, musical inspirations, pet TikToks, and much more.
South Londoner and Brit-school alumni Cat Burns is ready to be your latest obsession. Since releasing her first single ‘Just Us’ in 2018, the singer-songwriter has demonstrated the importance of being unapologetically yourself, using catchy songs and honest lyrics that have struck a chord with Gen-Z. Her latest track ‘It’s Over’ has been released alongside an intimate live performance video directed by her friend – artist, model and visibility activist, Kai-Isaiah Jamal.
Beginning her music career busking on the Southbank, the 20-year old started posting acoustic covers and original songs on TikTok during lockdown. It wasn’t long before she found success. She’s now surpassed 100,000 Instagram followers, 800,000 TikTok followers and has appeared as one of the faces of TikTok’s first national advertising campaign. Her messages are relatable; through her tracks and visuals, she broaches topics like the difficulties of coming out and the importance of diversity in the music industry.
We caught up with Cat, finding out about her social media rise-to-fame, the experience of singing with her mum, her musical influences, and what 2022 might bring.
Congratulations on the release of your single “It’s Over” last month, you’ve described it as the nicest breakup song you’ve ever written. What emotions were being channelled when you wrote it?
This year has been a big year for you Cat! What have been some highlights?
Releasing my music video for my song “Into You”. I think it’s such a beautiful video and conveys a beautiful message of black queer love, and as a Black queer woman, I felt that it was my duty to tell that story.
Let’s talk about TikTok, you’ve got over 14M likes and 800,000 followers since the start of 2020. How do you feel the platform has contributed to your development as an artist?
The platform has helped so much, It’s like my own personal research group, I can tease a song and see what people think and whether they like it or not!
What are your favourite things to watch on TikTok right now?
I’m obsessed with dog and cat videos, informative videos, vlogs, literally anything!
We absolutely love the video of you performing your new single with your mum, what was it like singing with her? Did you grow up in a musical household?
I did! My mum loves music and we always had it playing around the house, it’s so much fun singing with her because she’s got such a pure voice, it’s so clean and clear I love it so much.
Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up? How do these differ from now?
My inspirations have stayed the same actually! Tracy Chapman, India Arie, Tori Kelly.
You recently collaborated with the hugely talented Kai-Isaiah Jamal on an intimate live performance video of ‘It’s Over’, could you tell us a bit about that process and experience?
I absolutely loved working with Kai they’re so amazing! Their vision for the video was spot on and I couldn’t have asked for a better video. The process was so simple they planned everything and I have never felt so comfortable at a shoot before! I felt heard and seen.
If you could collaborate with anyone on your next single, who would you choose and why?
How did your recent gig at the Courtyard Theatre go? It was your first gig in two years so must have been quite the experience! What are your favourite songs to perform live?
Oh it was absolutely amazing! I sang my song ‘Go’ and I was so surprised that people actually knew the words and were singing it LOUDLY! I loved playing ‘It’s Over’ live and my unreleased song ‘Free’.
Oh it’s so important to have diversity and representation, so many stories haven’t been told and so many different types of faces haven’t been seen. I think if you have a platform where you can show things visually you definitely should be including everyone.
Speaking of the future, what do you hope 2022 brings for Cat Burns?
I hope I can continue to be happy in 2022, release more music, and impact more people!