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With country music seeing a huge spike in the UK and pop icons like Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue drawing inspiration from Nashville’s spirit, Catherine McGrath is taking her place as the UK’s hottest up-and-coming country-pop artist.
Her headline show at London’s Camden Assembly last month sold out in no time, and there are only a few tickets left for her upcoming shows next month.
But there’s more to get excited about – as McGrath is set to release her debut album Talk Of This Town on 27 July 2018 via Warner and just last Friday released her brand new single, Wild. Recorded at various locations in Nashville and London, the record also includes a duet with American country artist Hunter Hayes in the shape of the sumptuous Don’t Let Me Forget.
You can pre-order Talk Of This Town now – and, if you do so by 15:00 on 1 May 2018, you have first dibs at tickets to her next tour (details to be announced soon.) Head to Catherine’s official store to pre-order.
Read our interview with the singer-songwriter below.
How did you get into making music in the first place?
Cathrine McGrath. Well, I kind of grew up in a really musical family in Ireland, my dad wrote music and every time there was parties at our house everyone would kind of bring their own instruments. Where I live is a very musical place, so my parents always played music and folk, and I just seemed like a normal thing to sing, it was something that I was always doing. And when I turned 13, I started putting videos on YouTube, covers of songs that I like to see if people liked my singing. My mum told me I could sing, but I was like “you have to say that!” So I was doing that and then I got a really good response, and I wasn’t really thinking that it would lead anywhere. And then my manager found one of my videos and he messaged me and he was like “How would you feel about moving to London to do music?” And so as soon as I finished school I moved to London, started writing songs and playing at open mic nights. Then I played my songs to Warner and they liked it and signed me.
Tell us a little more about the inspiration behind your latest single Wild.
CM. It’s about this guy who was with his ex for five years and then he met me maybe three months after. He thought he liked me, and I liked him; but he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. We went to a gig together that he’d originally planned to go to with her and so while he was holding my hand, she’d be calling him or he’d be texting her… so all this time we were together, he was still kind of with her in his head. And so the day after the gig I went into the studio and had this huge rant about the whole situation and we ended up just piecing it together to write this song. So yeah… it’s basically about someone who’s still in love with their ex at a Coldplay concert.
You’ve also got your debut album coming out soon, what can fans expect from that?
CM. It’s going to be a mix of some songs we’ve already released on the two EPs – but they’re going to be different versions of those songs – and there’s going to be some brand new songs as well. I wrote some in Nashville, some in London, I wrote one in Ireland – so it’s just a combination of everything. Hopefully people will like it.
Speaking of Nashville – you’ve just come back from a trip over there. What did you get up to?
CM. I was filming two music videos over there and we actually shot my album cover in Nashville as well. One of the videos is for Wild, which will be coming at the end of the month. And then we did one for another song on the album which will come out somewhere further down the line. It was really fun!
What was it like playing the spotlight stage at C2C this year?
CM. It was SO fun! It was really interesting to get to go to Glasgow as well. Because I’d been to Country To Country in Dublin and London, but never Glasgow. I was really excited to see what people were like up there and if they were excited about it. Everyone was really nice. It was kind of overwhelming to play an arena so full of people that love country music. I didn’t realise it was happening until it was over, if that makes sense. I got to meet a lot of people and take lots of pictures. I’m going back up to Glasgow next month for my headline shows so I think I’ll see some of those people there which will be fun.
Talking about your headline shows – how does it feel to get to play your own shows rather than supporting?
CM. I was always like “playing my own shows will be so fine.” I’m always really nervous before I go on stage, so I thought if it’s my own show I will not be nervous. Like, if they’re here to see me, it will be fine. And then I played my first headline show and I was like “This is SO much more pressure; there’s nobody on stage after me! If they don’t like me, this is it!” It’s really, really fun once I’m actually on stage. To see that many people, knowing those words, knowing they came to see me and took their time to see me is incredible but it’s definitely pressure to put on a really good show and give people what they came for. But it’s really, really exciting and I’m really glad that people are actually buying tickets because I wasn’t sure if they would.
You’re also playing BBC Biggest Weekend in Coventry – how excited are you for that?
CM. My dad supports Coventry, so I feel like it’s a good place to play. I’m really excited, there’s going to be a lot of people who haven’t heard my music and I always like playing music to new people, so that’ll be really fun. And just to be on Biggest Weekend because it’s such a good line-up.
For someone who might not have seen you live before, how would describe your live shows?
CM. There’s a lot of storytelling, I like to tell stories. I like country music because of the lyrics, I like to tell the stories behind my songs so there’s a lot of on-stage chatter. It’s usually me, I play guitar and then I’ve got my drummer and I’ve got a guitar player, sometimes a bass player. We always play new songs that aren’t out yet, like one or two new songs. And then we play songs that are already released.
What else do you have planned for 2018?
CM. Well, the album is a huge thing I’m excited about. Other than that it’s really just all about festivals, which I’m so excited about because I need some sun and festivals are amazing. To play my music to people who haven’t heard it before, bring new people in… I’m really excited about that!
Catch Catherine McGrath in May at the below shows
1 May 2018 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester
2 May 2018 – Bush Hall, London
4 May 2018 – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Last tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.co.uk.