- Words Ross Mondon
- Photography Mae Sass
Introducing rising musician Cathy Jain, the latest Northern offering to the music scene.
Welcome to Fresh Face, a new quick-fire interview series spotlighting the best rising talents in today’s youthful music scene. From biggest pet peeves to party tricks and death row meals, we’re stripping things back from the formal Q&A format. Think of it like speed dating, but with some of the freshest music makers worth discovering.
For fans of early Billie Eilish and Frank Ocean, Cheshire-based Cathy Jain swims deep into hazy R&B with a tinge of alt-pop. Preparing for her debut EP on 5th November via YALA! Records, Jain has already given us a taste of what’s to come with tracks “cool kid” and “green screen”.
Whilst balancing school and the pressures of the music world, 17-year-old Cathy Jain might have exams looming but is keeping her head in the game. Whilst she is excited for the release of her debut project, the versatile young artist is already looking ahead to 2022 as she reveals that she has a repertoire of tracks ready for next year.
Cathy Jain has already graced the stages of festivals, gathered attention from critics and accrued worldwide streams, despite being pretty fresh on the scene.
Notion caught up the fast-rising artist to get the answers we really want – from travelling back in time to dreaming of a friendship with Conan Gray – jump in!
To those who don’t know you, how would you summarise your musical journey so far?
I think my journey so far has been quite experimental. I love exploring different sounds and genres and have recently been getting more into production. But ever since I was little, I listened to all sorts of genres of music, such as rock, pop, indie and RnB. So, I think these years it’s just been about me finding my sound and experimenting with different styles.
I wrote a lot when I was a kid, but I never released anything properly. And I lived in different countries. So, it wasn’t really until last year that I started properly releasing music and uploading it to BBC Introducing and actually getting it out there. And as soon as I released my first single, it seemed to take off from there. So, I definitely think this past year has been probably the most productive and the most fun, I think for me.
If you were able to time travel back in time, where would you go?
Wow. Oh, that’s a good question. I think I’d want to time travel back to 2012 before ‘Red’ by Taylor Swift came out, so I could listen to it brand new, for the first time, and relive that shock again.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a musician?
It’s not just about the music. I think that’s a big part of it that I didn’t plan out from the beginning. I thought that if I was purely passionate about songwriting and about music that I could make it as a singer. But really, there are so many layers to it, including social interactions, the connections you make, the social media that you have to do. I completely didn’t understand that for a long time.
If you could be best friends with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
I would love to be best friends with Conan Gray. I think he’s awesome. And I think we have a lot in common, especially with Olivia Rodrigo and him – they sort of have a little gang. They have so much fun in music, and their personalities match, and they’re so funny.
What do you love and hate about school?
Ah, I hate how it’s taking up all my time so I can do music. Exams sort of suck, and I have loads coming up. But I think the good things about school are my friends. It’s when music and the career stuff get overwhelming, I can go back to school and hang out with my friends and focus on a different topic. I guess that’s also less responsibility. I’m not a full adult yet, nor at uni, so I still have the comfort of my home. I think that’s a huge plus.
How excited are you for the release of your debut EP ‘Artificial’, and what can fans expect?
I’m very, very excited about it because the songs are actually quite old now. I released them all last year. But this is sort of a re-release, right? I’m really excited to see how the songs get pushed further and how more people respond to them. Because, before it had some exposure, and it got to a few people, but now that we’re re-releasing it, I’m pushing it forward. But I really adore these songs, and I’m so proud of them.
What is your favourite track, and why?
I think “Cool Kids” will probably be my favourite. It’s the newest one. I guess it’s also got that time part of it, so it feels newer to me. But it’s also more similar to the music I listen to. It’s laidback, it’s relaxing, and it’s easy to listen to.
A song or artist you class as your guilty pleasure?
I don’t think it’s a guilty pleasure, but I listen to a lot of K-pop and for some people especially, in high school, used to think that was so uncool. You know, “you listen to K-pop, wow, you’re so weird”, and it’s like no, it’s literally the best genre of music. And I listen to so much of it. But now I’m discovering more people who like it, so it seems less like a guilty pleasure and more of something that makes me feel happy and excited, and I love it.
What is your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
The Live Lounge competition. I entered as one of the competitors, and it got down to five of us and hearing artists I’ve loved for so long such as Yungblud and Wolf Alice, talk about my songs and give me compliments made me feel so confident and happy. And I think that was a huge pinch-me moment for sure.
Finally, what’s next for Cathy Jain?
I did so much recording over the summer when I was out of school and away from that. I also went to London and did loads of recording sessions. So, I’ve got so many new songs that are plannING to be released next year. I would also love to do an album. I’ve got plenty of songs for one, but I think the next thing that we’re planning is a second EP. It’s lots of fun and very experimental, so I’m excited to get that out next year.