A Conversation with Pop Artist Cat Calabrese
Hailing from Cleveland, Cat Calabrese is a Pop vocalist and songwriter. She writes her lyrics with fearless vulnerability while weaving in memorable and catchy Pop melodies. Cat Calabrese began her solo career as a way to cope with and heal from trauma. Feeling stripped of all control, she looked to music to regain her power and begin fighting back. In doing so, she is cultivating a Pop sound that reflects a woman who is ready to tell her own story in her own words.
Cat Calabrese launched her career in March 2021 with her debut single, “Quicksand,” co-produced by a collaborator of Machine Gun Kelly’s. Eager to build on the momentum of “Quicksand,” Cat teamed up with Cleveland producer and songwriter DJ London Bridges, and she has been consistently releasing new singles since her debut. She has gained the attention of Rolling Stone and landed an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show. Cat Calabrese says she is “telling her truth one song at time.” Whether she is belting a powerhouse break-up anthem or showing her softer, more vulnerable side, Cat Calabrese’s music will leave you humming her truths and eager to hear more.
With her single, “Hyde,” out now, we took some time to hear more from Cat Calabrese. Read below to learn more about Cat Calabrese, the story behind her latest single, and what’s to come.
Hi Cat Calabrese! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
Hi! My full name is Catherine Calabrese. Growing up my parents and family would often call me Cat. I’ve always liked that name, and I decided to use it as my artist name. Cat is also a little bit of an alter-ego to my birth name and my identity as Catherine.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I am from Lakewood, which is a city just a few minutes outside of Cleveland. I currently live there as well.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I decided to go solo in September 2020 following a breakup from an abusive relationship. I used music as a way to cope and heal from the trauma. Music was a way for me to take the power back, and once I started the process, I was all in.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
I had a great childhood! My parents were incredibly supportive and involved in my life. I was always involved in a lot of different activities and had great friends. I always loved music from a young age and started playing piano when I was 6. However, I only started to share with everyone that I sing about 3 and a half years ago. I’ve loved to sing since I was really young, but I lacked the confidence to pursue it or even tell people that I could. My parents exposed me to a lot of different types of music growing up, everything from Van Morrison to Frank Sinatra, so I have just always been a true fan of music.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
I create catchy and memorable Pop hooks with commercial Pop production elements and combine that with storytelling and poetic lyrics. My goal is to make the melody stick in your head while the lyrics, hopefully, pull you in and make you want to hear more of the story.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
I have a full-time career outside of music as a senior accountant which definitely keeps me busy. Music is definitely my creative outlet. I love writing and creating new songs as often as I can. I also design and plan all of my videos, content, and photos, which requires a lot of creativity. Outside of accounting and music, I am very active. I love to workout (running, lifting, yoga, and boxing). Exercise is like meditation for me; it forces me to be present and in the moment. A strong body is also great for your voice! I also spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I’m grateful to have a tight knit circle of wonderful people who love and support me.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
Demi Lovato, Halsey, Ariana Grande, and Fletcher are some of my main influences. I admire their talent not only as vocalists, but as songwriters and powerful women in the industry.
Who is your dream artist to collaborate with?
What are some of your future music career goals?
I want to continue releasing new music consistently, and I want each song to show a progression in my abilities and what I’m learning along the way. I would love to build my fanbase more and eventually release an entire album. I want each song to start to generate organic buzz while still working hard to promote them. I also want to start working with some bigger artists/DJs and collaborate with them on their songs as well as having them feature on mine. I would love for music to become my full-time career. I’d also love to headline at the House of Blues in Cleveland.
Now onto your release, “Hyde.” What inspired this song?
“Hyde” was inspired by my ex-boyfriend who I discovered was seeing someone else behind my back. I met her one night when I was out with my ex. He introduced us and encouraged us to become friends. She soon confessed to me what had happened, and I quickly realized that I was in love with my very own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Up until that moment, I had only known the good side, the one that he showed to the world. When the truth came out; however, so did his dark side and his true character.
What is “Hyde” about in your own words?
The song walks you through my suspicions of the affair my ex was having and ends with the final realization of who he really is. My friend and rapper on the track, L8NiteSasuke, attempts to convince me to leave him behind and move on with him while also rapping about his own experience with betrayal. I call out my ex’s duplicity and am wrestling with my intuition as I sing “you’ve got another one.” Purposely ambiguous, the line can be interpreted to mean that he is having an affair with another woman, or that he has another side to him that he can no longer “Hyde.”
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Hyde?”
Music has been my saving grace this past year. I’ve learned to transform trauma into power and into music. I hope people connect with that feeling when they listen to my songs and feel motivated to be able to take control in their own lives. I hope when people listen to “Hyde,” that if they’ve experienced similar betrayal, they feel strong and empowered to know they deserve better and take the steps to get there.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
I’m so proud that I’ve taken the risk, and chance to make music and share my art with the world. I’m really proud of the quality of my songs and how my voice has progressed with weekly training. I’m also so proud and grateful to have been on the Kelly Clarkson Show and featured in Rolling Stone!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
I’ve experienced some disappointment in certain people that I’ve worked with in this business; I learned the hard way that their intentions weren’t in my best interest and that their support came with contingencies. But, while it was disappointing at the time, I chose to let those things fuel me and just work harder. I know that what is meant for me won’t go past me if I give it my all, and the wrong people got out of my way, so the right people could come along. I’ve also learned that oftentimes rejection isn’t personal; you can’t let it sidetrack you or hurt your motivation.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
My next two singles will be out in January and March 2022. I am planning studio time in early 2022 for my next round of singles to be released. I have 4 new songs that I can’t wait to record and am hoping to write a few more by the time the studio is scheduled! I also have a collaboration coming out with the very talented Menice that I can’t wait to share very soon.
Where can we follow you on social media?
Before you go, let’s ask you a random question. What’s your favorite food?
Thank you for the great interview and your time, Cat Calabrese!