Cat Burns

If you were to hold a mirror up to the most pleasing and defining aspects of Gen Z and amalgamate them into one picture-perfect pop star, it’s unlikely you’d get a closer reflection of their fluid intersections than Cat Burns. Cat is a 22-year-old platinum-selling singer-songwriter from Streatham, South London. Her artistry is defined by elegant, frank, conversational lyrics and melodies so instantly familiar they feel like they’ve been plucked from the sky. Cat’s remarkable sound has skyrocketed her up the single charts and has earned her many accolades to round off a phenomenal year. With a coveted BRITs Rising Star nomination, a BBC Sound Poll 2023 nod, and Spotify’s Global RADAR artist to her name, Cat is the biggestselling female artist of 2022 in the UK.  A BRIT School alumni, Cat emerged on everyone’s radars due to the success of her viral hit ‘go’. Originally released in 2020, ‘go’ became a phenomenon on global platform TikTok in early 2022, taking Cat from her bedroom in Streatham to #2 on the Official Singles Chart, battling the likes of Harry Styles and Kate Bush for the top spot. ‘go’ gained Cat her first platinum certification and an ever-expanding yet loyal fanbase. The heartbreak anthem took on a life of its own and received a flurry of remixes, including a special collaboration with multi-awardwinning artist Sam Smith, with whom Cat now shares a close friendship.  Cat’s much-anticipated emotionally unavailable EP arrived in May 2022, a 6-track body of work exploring the complexities of mental health among her generation and also an introspective look at her life in a manner that is both celebratory and self-reflective. She says, “My identity itself is definitely intertwined with my music,”. Her track ‘ghosting’ from emotionally unavailable is about taking a mental health break and “turning into a ghost for a little while”. Cat celebrated her EP release with three sold-out headline shows, two at London’s OMEARA and the other at The Deaf Institute in Manchester, where she embraced her legion of fans in person for the first time after the pandemic shifted the world as we knew it.  Cat’s live plot this year has been monumental for an artist of her calibre. Off the back of supporting fellow Londoner Mae Muller on her UK tour, Cat was handpicked by global superstar Ed Sheeran as an opener on the European leg of his Mathematics Global Tour. Following her rigorous run of debut shows across Europe with ‘uncle Ed’ as she fondly calls him, Cat received a warm homecoming for her sold-out KOKO show, her largest headline appearance. Live music plans for 2023 are already coming together for Cat; she will support Sam Smith on their highly-anticipated Gloria headline tour next April and reunite with Ed Sheeran on the US run of his Mathematics Global Tour in the Summer.  As in all Cat Burns songs, there is sly depth behind the instant appeal. In 2020, Cat came out, reconciling herself to her sexuality. “After coming to terms with my identity and then learning more about LGBTQ + history, it’s shaped how I move forward. I’ve realised how important it is for people to feel included in music, even if it's just a small change.” Cat surprise-released ‘Free’ on her platforms in late 2021, which the LGBTQ+ community with open arms has embraced. From performing at the renowned Brighton Pride to Attitude Magazine and GAY TIMES awarding her their ‘Music’ and ‘Rising Star in Music’ gongs at their respective ceremonies in 2022 to performing at the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern for Channel 4’s Pride TV special, Cat is leading the charge for young, Black queer creatives to shine.    Whether it's race, sexuality, mental health or relationships, Cat has the freedom to show all aspects of herself. The microcosmic becomes macrocosmic as she opens the envelope on the multifaceted nature of what it’s like being Gen Z.   Not that there isn’t a playful side to Cat, too. “I'm not just a conscious singer who wants to make songs specifically about every hard issue. I also don't take a lot of things seriously,” she says. Cat Burns’ honest and thoughtful sound, authentically documenting the world around her, is at the forefront of a new generation who aren't afraid to take up space in the world of pop on their own terms. “I think people need to hear somebody that looks like me making this music,” she says.   Whether it’s slower, introspective songs like ‘sleep at night’, a soaring ballad depicting Cat overcoming hardships and choosing to do so with dignity and grace, or the upbeat, gospeltinged ‘people pleaser’, Cat Burns manages to make her voice feel personal yet universal all at the same time. “I'm always striving for growth and becoming a better person,” she says. “I think my music shows that because of how reflective, honest and blunt I am.”  Music has always been a part of Cat’s life and upbringing. “I was always singing; I was always around music,” she says. Her family saw her gift and nurtured her talents; her Mum was in gospel choirs throughout Cat’s childhood. They have since performed together when Cat returned to her busking roots at London’s Southbank and performed tracks accompanied by the House Gospel Choir and her Mum in tow.  In 2014 she walked in the direct footsteps of era-defining artists Adele, Amy Winehouse and FKA twigs as a scholar at The Brit School. She reckons she was the only prospective student to choose Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ as her audition piece.  Cat has catholic tastes, drawing inspiration from gospel music and the likes of Kirk Franklin as much as the snappy rhythmic powerpop of Destiny’s Child. She would learn vocal runs by listening to church music and radio pop simultaneously, explaining something of her simple, soulful elegance. She released her debut EP Adolescent, in 2016, building a fanbase from the ground up. Adelsocent climbed to number 11 on the singer/songwriter charts in just 24 hours - putting Cat firmly on the map as an emerging artist to watch. Her first single ‘Sober’ was released in 2018.  Her special skill as a songwriter is identifying emotional depths in the everyday. “I’m just a massive people watcher,” she says. “I notice traits that we all share,” crediting her hypervigilance as her way of storytelling authentically through her lyrics. “I think that's been really helpful when writing songs about situations I've seen and then also been in.”  A fabulous, effervescent young talent finding her voice as she navigates through her early twenties, Cat is the sound of today’s youth: quiet confidence, an innate intelligence, a surety free from arrogance. With 2023 certain to add to Cat Burns’ tremendous success, she’s ready to seize with both hands the future superstar status that awaits her.

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