QSC Aspiring Interview: Cat Clyde discusses her songwriting process and new single ‘I Feel It’

Having just got back from a trip to Nashville, Canadian indie-folk artist Cat Clyde talks to Headliner about her emotive new single, I Feel It, which reveals her experience of being an empath. Here she explains how the song focuses mostly on the positive elements, the challenges, and the feeling of relief and solace through connecting with nature.

When was the moment you realised you wanted to pursue music as a career?

There were some moments in my life that were inspiring musically. My grandfather played old time fiddle music, and I had uncles that played folk guitar, and rock n roll type stuff. That was my first experience with live music, and it interested me greatly. My family wasn’t really into music, but I was more of an observer; I was always drawn to music and enjoyed it very much.

I started playing guitar when I was around 14, busking around town and writing songs. When high school was over, I did a programme called Music Industry Arts; I figured I would have a go at music and see where it takes me. And that was the beginning of my journey!

You mentioned that you play guitar. What other instruments do you play?

When I was a kid I took piano lessons, but never really got too far - theory was always a struggle for me, but now I'm trying to pick it back up a bit. A couple of years ago, I got a tenor guitar which I’ve been playing a lot, so that's definitely one of my favourite instruments for sure.

Photo Credit: Laura-Lynn Petrick

Photo Credit: Laura-Lynn Petrick

What has been your biggest live music moment?

It’s hard to say, because each time I’m by myself or if I’m sometimes opening for different artists, it's always different. There's always really positive experiences that come from that, and honestly, they all blend together when you're on the road. It's like you're in this weird corner of time that doesn't really exist for everyone else, so time and memory can get kind of strange for me. I would definitely say that one of my highlights of all time would be touring with Rodriguez. Just watching him every night and hearing his songs in the theatres we played was really beautiful. In fact, I’ve been really lucky to tour with a lot of great artists.

What sort of feelings do you hope to convey through your music?

Music for me has always been a place of healing, and understanding my emotions and feeling them deeply. I would hope that my music would make some people feel like that, and give them a sense of not feeling alone. That's the feeling that I really got from music early on when my taste was growing, and that's always what I'm looking for - to feel understood and seen, and that there's someone out there that feels just the way I do.

Can you name us three artists or bands that you’re listening to at the moment, and tell us what inspires you when it comes to songwriting?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Peter La Farge, which is more on the folky side, and I really love Big Thief's new record. I've also been listening to a lot of gospel, like Rosetta Tharpe and The Staple Singers and stuff, so that's been really inspiring.

I think I'm just really inspired by being alive and being a human woman existing in the world, and all the things that come with change and growth and learning and shedding. And then navigating my own anxieties and things that are difficult for me and changing the way I see things and getting curious about it.

Photo Credit: Strummer Jasson

Photo Credit: Strummer Jasson

I don't see myself as a piano player, but I felt really good that I challenged and pushed myself to get it out there.

What’s your songwriting process like?

I haven't really tried writing with other people too much, but I think it's a goal of mine to maybe try more of that and see how that feels to me. But yeah, I definitely prefer to write alone. Sometimes you sit down and you write a whole song and it's really great. Sometimes you collect little pieces and then eventually sit down to try to put them all together.

Your new single, I Feel It, is the first song you’ve recorded where you’re playing the piano. How did that song all come together?

I'm a very sensitive person, and I feel a lot of things very deeply. The song is just about dealing with that, and how I was trying to lean on the positive aspects of feeling a lot. It can be very difficult at times to feel a lot; it's a blessing and a curse, and it's okay to be both of those things.

I had tried this song a lot of different ways, and nothing really felt good. I've been playing around with the piano recently and thought that I would just try it, and it felt very good, so I decided to record it that way. Releasing it felt a little scary because I don't really see myself as a piano player, but I felt really good that I challenged myself and pushed myself to get it out there.

What is your proudest moment so far as a musician?

I feel pretty proud of this record that I just made. I feel like the process was long, and really difficult at times, but I came out the other end with something that feels the most like me, out of anything I've ever made. And that feels really good for me.

You can listen to the full interview with Cat Clyde on Headliner Radio, here: