INTERVIEW: Catherine McGrath

Country music has always been known for it’s strong songwriting and it’s honest heart and recently we’ve seen it’s roots crossing over into the mainstream pop world with artists like Morgan Evans, Kelsea Ballerini, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift topping the charts. Ireland newcomer Catherine McGrath has channeled the pop polished country sound for her vulnerable and honest debut album ‘Talk Of This Town’ which has seen her receive global media attention. The album explores the fear of growing up, falling in love, having your heart broken and just trying to be strong in moments where you don’t feel it. Her honest storytelling has seen songs like ‘Wild’ resonating with people instantly as she reflects on a experience where she went on a date with a guy she had been crushing on to see Coldplay and the whole time he was holding her hand and texting his ex on the other. Which for anyone would have been heartbreaking and instead of dwelling on it she wrote a beautiful and honest song that fully captured all her emotions.

I recently chatted to Catherine McGrath about her upcoming first Australian tour, the vulnerability she embodied on her debut album and found out if she’s been back to a Coldplay concert since writing ‘Wild’. Check it out; 

TB: Your debut album ‘Talk Of This Town’ is a very honest collection of tracks. So what would you say is the records most vulnerable or strongest moment/lyric?

CM: I love the lyrics in ‘Dodged A Bullet’, for me that was the venerable moment on the album. The lyric “it was us against the world some nights” is my favourite in that song and probably my favourite on the album.

TB: When writing this record were you constantly aware of the comparisons you were going to receive to the likes of Kelsea Ballerini and early Taylor Swift? And did that affect the way you were writing and recording?

CM: I took those as compliments and I think the similarities are how we all tell stories through our songs and how we are all young girls trying to figure out the same things. But my writing and recording style didn’t change based on that. My songs were still my truth or my experience or thoughts and that’s what makes them my own.

TB: How did you approach the creative process of this record differently compared to your first two EP’s?

CM: This album got to show a lot more of who I am compared to my EP. I thought a lot more about the structure of it and where songs fit in and to me what an album was as a whole. 

TB: Looking back at the whole creative process, what was one of the most memorable or surreal moments for you as an artist?

CM: Working with the writers on this album has been one of the coolest parts because so many of them had written my favourite songs growing up. So that was something really special for me. 

TB: Ever since writing ‘Wild’ have you been back to a Coldplay concert or have you been able to listen to them since? Because that whole experience that you describe during the lyrics would’ve been a little heart-breaking.

CM: I haven’t seen them live since but I still love their music. It was definitely not a fun situation but putting it into a song made me really glad it happened because it turned out to be one of my favourite songs I’ve written, so actually it was a good thing in the end. So I would love to go to another show but maybe just with somebody nicer next time *laughs*. 

TB: You are heading to Australia for the first time in September to open for Morgan Evans. So what can people expect from your live set?

CM: YES! I can’t even describe how excited I am to be  finally going. I’ll be playing some brand new stuff off my album and just telling people a bit about who I am. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to play to crowds on the other side of the world!

TB: What is one feeling or emotion you want people to walk away feeling after they see you live?

CM: That they aren’t alone in whatever situations they’ve gone through. That’s what I feel like when I get to play my songs to people and meet them. Music makes us realise we all have times where we feel like we’re the only ones feeling what we’re feeling but then you hear a song and you feel like somebody’s just read your mind and understands you completely. That’s my favourite thing about it.

TB: What are you most looking forward to seeing or doing while you’re Down Under? Have you scheduled in a bit of sightseeing time?

CM: We have lots of things to do so I’m not sure I’ll have much time to explore but if we do I’m going to go find kangaroos and koalas straight away!

TB: It isn’t often that we get a lot of Irish acts heading to Australia. So who is an Irish artist/band that you are loving at the moment that you think we should check out?

CM: Picture This are a really cool band! I played a few shows with them here in Ireland and they’re amazing. 

TB: Let’s play a little game where you answer these questions with the first thing that comes to mind.

CM: Okay!

TB: Most mornings I… 

CM: Eat chocolate the second I wake up.

TB: If I could form a supergroup with any other band or artist it would be… 

CM: Taylor Swift.

TB: The emoji the best describes me is… 

CM: The love heart cat face emoji because I love cats and Cat is in my name and I’ve got lots of love in my heart? So yeah that one!

TB: Most people think I….

CM: Am a crazy cat lady at 21.

TB: If I could have any superpower it would be… 

CM: Being able to be invisible whenever I wanted so I could get into any concert for free.

Catherine McGrath’s debut album ‘Talk Of This Town’ is out now



Wed 5 September – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (SOLD OUT)

Thur 6 September – Corner Hotel, Melbourne  (SOLD OUT)

Sun 9 September – The Tivoli, Brisbane 




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