Praised by the likes of The Huffington Post, Catey Shaw first made her mark on the music scene in 2014, and, since then, her career has gone from strength to strength. Currently promoting her new EP The Ransom and with dreams of playing with Bruno Mars and Timbaland she kindly agreed to this interview to chat song-writing inspiration, social media and future show plans.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Catey Shaw: Hey, I’m Catey Shaw! I sing, write songs and make art. Nice to meet ya!
PW: How would you describe yourself and your music in a few words?
CS: I try not to describe myself much -- usually people’s perceptions of themselves aren't as close to reality as they’d like to think. But I try to be fun and smart and kind. My music also aims to be fun and smart.
PW: How and when did you first realize you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you bought or concert you attended that inspired you and made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
CS: Probably in the 8th grade talent show when I sang Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” in a white evening gown and fur coat and felt like a rock star.
PW: Which bands or artists influenced you growing up, and have those influences changed over the years?
CS: As a little kid I was really into Frank Sinatra. Then I got really into Shania Twain. When I started to come into my own, though, I was obsessed with disco. My taste has always been a bit all over the place, but I think the main takeaway for it all is the immediacy of the music. There’s no need to decode, I could just enjoy the moment and get lost with the singer.
PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you're similar to?
CS: Ooh, I always have a hard time with this question. I try so hard to be my own thing. Of course there are people that I’m compared to often, but I think that I’m pretty unique. Of course we all think were super unique, so what do I know?!
PW: Who or what most inspires your songwriting?
CS: I mean, my own life -- though what sparks songs is usually just an interesting phrase or melody. Then, it’s figuring out what that means to me, how I can relate, and how it could relate to other people’s stories.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
CS: “My Girl” by The Temptations is my favorite song ever, and I wish I knew why it was so good because then I’d know the meaning of life.
PW: Tell me about your latest EP, The Ransom. How would you sum it up?
CS: We can hold ourselves hostage sometimes, whether it’s by giving in to opinions or holding back for fear of failing. This EP is my journey to getting out of that held back mindset -- following me through my process of discovery, action and then mourning. Sadness can give you a bit of Stockholm Syndrome. Like, who am I if I'm not sad? Does that make me less of an artist? Over the course of writing this EP, I worked through all of that and came out the other side stronger than ever.
PW: Could you pick a favorite track on the collection?
CS: That changes with my mood -- the EP has a real variety of emotions showcased, so I think there’s something for whatever you're looking for. That being said, the title track is obviously special to me and kind of serves as a mantra for me.
PW: How do you think the collection differs from your previous release The Brooklyn EP?
CS: I think it’s safe to say that the music is evolving. I’m evolving, too. The sound has moved into this quirky kind of 80s-meets-disco place, while, lyrically, I think it’s a bit more focused.
PW: What are your upcoming tour/performance plans?
CS: Honestly, all of the focus is on writing right now. I always love to play live, so, when something comes up, I jump at that opportunity, but I don't have anything on the books right now. Keep an eye out on my socials, though.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you play?
CS: Carole King at The Bitter End in NYC, Bruno Mars at Madison Square Garden in NYC, and Timbaland at The Norva in Norfolk, VA.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media, and to what extent has it helped you establish yourself as an artist? Would you agree it’s a necessary tool for those in the entertainment industry?
CS: I don’t know how much it’s helped me establish myself as an artist, but it definitely helps me connect with fans. As an indie artist, I have absolutely no choice but to use social media as a tool -- it’s all I've got! I’m not on TV, I don't have a major label, I’m not on the radio -- so this is literally all I have. It’s kind of a shame actually that they're all becoming so monetized. No one really sees my posts unless I pay for sponsored posts. But that’s the way of the world, so I must keep posting. Hardcore fans -- a.k.a. my mom -- are still able to see, and those who already like me are following along, so it’s good for me to be able to connect in that way. I don’t really think it’s gaining me many new fans, though.
PW: You've been praised by the likes of The Huffington Post and Perez Hilton, but how much does support like that mean to you? Do you care much about what critics think of you, or are you just determined to be yourself and follow your passion no matter what?
CS: That’s tough. On one hand, it’s a real ego boost -- it makes me feel like I was heard, like someone out there is listening. On the other hand, I have had some negative reviews, too, and I think that those are the ones that really matter to me as an individual -- they force me to say “screw you I’m amazing” and to keep going -- to be myself at all costs.
PW: What else does the rest of the year have in store for you?
CS: I’m doing some touring as a DJ/Hypeman for the Canadian group Prozzak, and then just writing, writing, writing.
PW: Finally, then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist, and, with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
CS: I would love to be able to pay all of my bills with music. I would love to quit my waitressing job. I would love to tour the world and play to adoring fans night after night. But I will keep going without those things. The truth about being an artist of any kind is that you have to have this part of your brain that defies logic, that crunches the numbers and, when they come up in the red, ignores the numbers. Of course, I would love to have a Katy Perry trajectory, but that can’t be why I do this. It sounds corny, but I absolutely have to, like The Tribe said, do it for the love.