Q: Tell our readers a little bit about your musical background.
CAT CALABRESE: Music has always been a huge part of my life. As a child, I grew up playing piano and I always loved to write. However, I didn’t start singing and performing until a few years ago when I joined a band. We released 5 singles over the course of a couple years and performed all around Cleveland. Then in September of 2020, I decided to become a solo artist. Since then, I feel like I’ve really tapped into the music I was supposed to be making all along and it feels really good to have songs that truly represent who I am as a musician and as a woman.
Q: What is your songwriting process? How do you usually craft a song?
CAT: It varies. A lot of times, I come up with a melody that pops into my head or that I dream about. I start to hum the melody and record a voice memo on my phone so I don’t forget it. Then I’ll start to add words just to try and feel out the direction the melody might take. Once I feel more confident in the melody, I’ll start to write the lyrics. I’ll work on the verse first and other times I focus on the chorus, it really just depends! There are also times that I start with a concept or a word or phrase that I want to center the song around and build from there. I also love to write to a beat that one of my producers brings to me.
Q: We love the style in “Scared of Me”. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CAT: Thank you so much! Part of the reason I started my solo career last year was due to a really rough break up. I was angry and felt like I had lost all control in my life and in music. I turned to music to try and rebuild what was taken from me and Scared of Me was one of the first songs I wrote as I was working through those intense emotions. I never had the chance to tell him how hurt and betrayed I felt, so I decided to put it into a song; it was really healing to channel all of that energy into my art . Essentially, Scared of Me is my musical break-up note.
Q: Walk us through your writing and production process in making “Scared of Me”.
CAT: When Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” came out, I remember listening to the breakdown at the end of the song and loving the line “she says she’s scared of me”. I loved the idea of making someone who has wronged you intimidated by your power. I knew I wanted a song title called “Scared of Me”. I kept it in the back of my mind for a while and once the break-up happened, I circled back to it. I came up with the chorus melody first. Once I started letting myself feel the pain I was in, the words started to fly and I had so many ideas that began to really flow. I worked with my vocal coach who was also the head of my studio at the time and he developed the piano arrangement. We originally recorded it in October of 2020 with Jim Wirt, who is a legendary producer and my good friend. I was later introduced to DJ London Bridges who produced my first single, Quicksand. He’s really helped me to develop my pop sound and I asked him to enhance the original production to really give it that commercial pop sound. He and I are continuing to work together on all of my upcoming releases.
Q: What do you do when you AREN’T working on music?
CAT: I am an accountant! I have both an undergrad and masters degrees in the field and have been working full time in the profession for over 6 years. Without my career, I wouldn’t be able to pursue music as my true passion. When I’m not working in accounting or music, I love to stay active and spend time with my family and friends.
Q: What is in the works for you?
CAT: My third single, Fever Dream, is being released on June 25th. I will be releasing new music each month this summer and will continue to release a new single every 7-8 weeks for the foreseeable future. I have some really exciting collaborations in the works as well and will be performing for the first time as a solo artist on July 15th. I’m just getting started!
Interviewed by Stephanie Pankewich