Interview: Chatting to Catherine McGrath about UK country music, writing with Liz Rose and book recommendations

If you are a regular country music concert goer in the UK then it is very likely you would have heard of Catherine McGrath. The Irish beauty has been making her mark in the country scene for quite a while now with her epic EP’s One and Starting From Now , her Taylor Swift likeness and her current Single Talk Of This Town. Catherine has certainly been the Talk Of This Town with her Festival appearances such as Harvest and British Summer Time and guest spots on tours with artists such as Una Healy, Kelsea Ballerini and Cam to name a few. It doesn’t stop there though, Catherine doesn’t seem to rest from touring and can be seen with Dan + Shay later this month as well as Picture This.

I caught up with Catherine not so long ago and found her to be not just highly talented but very humble, sweet, down to earth and a little bit geeky – my kind of person for sure.

I hope you enjoy our chat!

Hi Catherine, how are you?

I have been good thanks.

Tell us a little bit about your background and what made you decide to go into Country music.

My family have always played traditional Irish music, which is kind of like Irish Country, and then I discovered American Country when I was about 12, so I started listening to it and going out of my way to find more of it. So, whenever I started to write my own stuff, I sort of fell naturally into that kind of music. I then wanted to go to Nashville and see all those artists out there, so I was kind of growing up with the pop music on the radio, and Irish Country but loved music from Nashville. I was finding myself.

I love the honesty in the songwriting – and they are always singing about a certain thing; it is always a story but it can be real and it can be fun.

You are signed to Warner Bros Records which is awesome. How did that signing come to be? Were you spotted at a gig?

My manager found me and he used to work for Warner Bros. He took my music to the label and they said they wanted to meet me and wanted to hear me play. So I went and played for the guy who is my A & R guy now, who really liked the music and signed me. I thought he was just going to listen to me play and then that would be ‘Oh yeah, OK, cool, ‘bye.’

It was so cool as I can imagine there are so many people that they hear every day and must be sick of it.

You bring something different, though.

You have released two EP’s. The first – titled One – and the most recent Starting From Now. How hard or easy is it to select songs for an EP? 

It was kind of easy – I knew that I wanted people to hear Just In Case. It’s kind of harder deciding what songs to keep for a potential album, because you don’t know if you are even going to get to the stage where you can release one. It’s like. ‘Shall we release it now, or should we wait and see if people pay attention?’ It was easy enough in some ways, as I knew the songs I wanted to release, but it was just which ones to hold back, as I can’t release them all at once.

Is there an album in the works? If so, what can we expect from it? And when is it likely to be released?

I have got a lot of songs that I hope to put out on album.

You are often in Nashville; do you go to write, or just for a holiday?

For me, it feels like a holiday – especially the first time I went, because I had wanted to go for five years, and I got to write while I was out there with Liz Rose.

Oh, my gosh! That is amazing!

Yeah, I was told that I was scheduled to write with this writer called Liz Rose and I was like ‘Oh, my God – what?’

Are you a Taylor Swift fan then?

Yeah, she is why I got into Country music. I was a massive fan and Liz co- wrote You Belong With Me and White Horse, and so on.

So what is she like in person? I saw her at C2C, but what is she like to write with?

She is so nice; she comes up with such amazing lyrics. I was sitting there and I was like ’You wrote some of my favourite songs. Oh, my God – why are you writing with me? This is crazy.’

I would say you are very similar to Taylor – the Irish version.

Thank you!

You have been touring, supporting some fantastic artists this year including Una Healy, Cam, Kelsea, to name a few.

They are all people whose music I love anyway, so to even go their shows is exciting for me. I feel so lucky that they have been nice enough to let me open for them and that they have been embracing my music. It has been nice to be welcomed by people I am such a huge fan of.

When I spoke to Kelsea she said she had listened to your music and that she really liked it.

Apart from music, what other interests do you have? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I, haha, I feel like I have no life, haha! I used to like doing art and then I did it for GCSE and kind of tortured myself with it and haven’t painted in a while, ha! I like doing basic things like hanging out with my friends and doing casual stuff. I like to read.

What are you reading?

There is a book called Delirium by Lauren Oliver which is the best book ever. It is a trilogy, you should read them.

I will.

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?

Kelsea Ballerini, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley.

Love Brad – isn’t he amazing live?

Yeah, I saw him at Country 2 Country – and when he went over his set time I was like” YES!”

Thanks so much for chatting to me today and can’t wait to see you soon.

Thanks so much.

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