Cat Burns: "I didn't know if I'd ever make it, but everything's turned around"
Cat Burns' journey from bright-eyed busker to Top 10 artist has been an organic one; perhaps among the most representative of the increasingly-unpredictable music industry landscape of recent years.
While her current single Go might've seemingly come out of nowhere for the casual listener, its chart story is the epitome of a slow burn. Originally released in 2020, the track recently cracked the Official Singles Chart Top 10 for the first time following its success on - you guessed it - TikTok.
Now - as Cat teams up with Sam Fischer on a brand new version of Go to complete its remix EP - we catch up with the 21-year-old Londoner to talk transcending TikTok and adjusting to mainstream success.
Cat, Go's journey to the Official Chart's been a very organic process. How do you feel about claiming your first Top 10 single?
It feels good. It’s weird, because this song had its own resurgence very randomly. We’ve obviously been putting in lots of work, pushing it; but all of a sudden this happened. I was like ‘what?’
I remember busking on the Southbank and thinking ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to make it. I’m just singing covers on the street.’ Everything’s just turned around in the space of two years.
Are you surprised at how Go's blown up, two years down the line?
I’m really glad that, of all the songs I’ve released, it’s Go that’s done really well. That’s the music that I want to make going forward; I want to make meaningful pop that’s acoustic-led. That’s what I’ve always loved making.
The fact that’s the song people have loving most makes me feel confident. All the songs I have now are, in my opinion, better than Go, so I’m like ‘let’s go!’ This is the music that I want to make, so I’m very happy.
Speaking of new music, how is it 'better' than Go? What can we expect?
Upcoming music is going to be just as personal as Go, but I’ll be talking about different situations. My new EP discusses friendship break-ups and that weird, sombre feeling when you drift apart. I’m talking about taking mental health breaks, my struggles with anxiety and even how emotionally-unavailable this generation is.
The artists I’ve always loved are those who wrote about specific situations that I could relate to and thought ‘they’ve written this for me.’ I’ve always wanted to be that artist to other people.
I think my writing’s improved. I wrote Go when I was 18 and I’m 22 soon. My writing and how I speak about topics has improved. It’s just a step-up production, lyrics and melody-wise.
It’s about where we’re at right now [in society] in, I hope, a very tasteful and mature way.
You've got a ridiculously-busy 2022 lined up already. You're going on tour with Years & Years...
That’s gonna be a lot of fun – it’s just going to be a massive party for about a month. It’ll be my first arena stages, which is so exciting.
I think this year, there’ll be a lot of building. Building my confidence. Before lockdown I was performing in pubs and on the Southbank, so there’s such a difference. I need to get used to it all.
Is there one thing you're desperate to tick off your 2022 bucket list? What can we manifest into existence?
I want to manifest a BBC Sound of 2023 nomination. That’s what I want. Or maybe a BRITs Rising Star nod.
Cat Burns' Go is out now via Since '93/RCA.