Alternative Indie-folk songstress Cat Dowling is wowing audiences and critics in equal measure with her stunning debut album The Believer.
Miriam Doona chatted to Cat on the juggling act she masters, being motherhood mixed with her creative endeavors and live performances that she manages so well, and doing it all with a really down to earth approach and upbeat attitude.
Miriam: The album has been so well received. What has been your musical journey which got you to the release of The Believer?
Cat: I have always been musical since I was very young and in school. I played piano, I was in the choir and I was always picked to play the lead in school plays. I come from a very academic family, so it was not an easy path for me. I went to DCU and got a degree in a subject that I hated. I went off to Spain soon after that, but the music always hankered at me. It hunted me down! I did open mic nights and meet some really good musicians on the circuit, such as Nina Hynes and we formed a band. It really was a case of the music would not leave me alone!
Miriam: When did you decide to go solo?
Cat: It was a tough decision for me as I am not comfortable in the limelight, I was hiding behind the band to a certain extent. We did two albums and the magic was not there for me after that point. The songs were amazing and I co- wrote material on the second album. My boyfriend was so encouraging and I met Gerry, who I play guitar with now. The musical chemistry was right from the start. He had seen me perform and said he wanted to play with me, so it has happened from there.
Miriam: I am always so intrigued about an artist's motivation and inspiration for writing and personal experience of the process of writing. What is yours?
Cat: I have that creative streak, it is in me and it always has been. Writing is a huge source of energy and I need to get that energy out there. I get fidgety if I don’t write for a while. It centres me and grounds me. I am on a roll at the moment with my creative side and I have no agenda. I am letting is flow and enjoying the freedom I have with it, to write as I can without pressure or deadlines. I have two children, who are also very grounding and a huge source of inspiration too!
Miriam: It must be such a challenge managing two children and a singing career?
Cat: Thankfully, planning is not my forte and chaos really works for me. I find an hour or two late at night to right, I use the time well because I am up anyway with the kids. Sometimes it feels like I am living a double life, but when you have children they come first, your own needs fade into the background. They really ground me and have calmed me down a lot. I am very lucky.
Miriam: You are playing Whelan’s this coming Saturday 14 December, I know planning is not your thing, but do you have any more gigs this side of Christmas and do you anticipate a new album next year?
Cat: Yeah, I am really looking forward to the gig on Saturday. Then I am in Kilkenny on the 20th and in Cork on the 27th and I have more shows up until the end of February and then I will concentrate on working on a new album. Thankfully, the material is just pouring out of me and I can write anywhere which really allows me to embrace songwriting. I have gained confidence and I no longer feel the need to hide my voice and I have the attitude of here I am, this is my voice! I am very grateful for everything I have and have been given, in the future. Who knows, I may write for someone else and there has been interest in my voice from the States and I have been asked to collaborate with other artists. My life is chaotic, and chaos seems to work so well for me that I am going to let everything happen organically.Cat will perform in Whelan's this Saturday, 14 December. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster
Follow Miriam on Twitter: @miriamdoona.