With a little bit of luck and a whole bunch of talent, Cat Thomson is about to explode onto the music scene.
While she often gets asked if she has horseshoes stuck in her back pockets, after landing a full-ride scholarship at Louisiana State University’s opera program, having been discovered on a vacation cruiseship with her parents and signed with 604 Records thanks to social media, Thomson said it didn’t come as easy as it appears.
“I think it always comes down to if you are meant to do something then you will find a way to do it and doors will naturally open up. I have always said I have done different routes in music but the constant is that it has always been music,” she said. “People say you just walk in and it happened for you. It seems like that but there is years of training. I have been doing this since I was five, was a part of choirs, did theory and lessons. It all adds to where I am now but I do definitely feel very lucky and fortunate.”
Still, timing has been everything for the singer. It is why she was patient in releasing her album Puzzle, due out this summer, and to jump into full-blown tour mode. Her first single and video, Sticks and Stones, was released months ago yet she just only started on her Spring Into Summer tour which comes to Penticton on Thursday at The Elite. She hopes 2014 will be a busy year; already she has lined up gigs at Canada Music Week.
“We had to time it right. I came from a classical background so I did a lot of stuff in the opera world and put singer-songwriter in the back. It was almost like starting from scratch again. We gave a deadline that 2014 is the year and now I will have my album, music video and tour across Canada,” said Thomson.
Her darkly powerful voice, dramatic range and refined musical sensibilities are already there. Thomson’s training gives her the range to write harmonies and orchestrations that many can’t. Starting out in opera, Thomson said it was only recently she found her own voice.
“For me to be at home on stage, it is when I am performing my own music, lyrics and melodies. It is not singing someone else’s music. Classical is a lot of training, understanding new languages and diction. It felt like work. Doing my own stuff, it is a passion,” she said.
Thomson recorded the song Forget Me at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver. It is the same place where classic albums by Heart, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Loverboy, Sarah McLachlan and Tegan and Sara all laid down tracks. The studio has a long history in Canadian music, but has since been relocated to Toronto.
“It was awesome. I was one of the last people to record there and we used the echo chambers for some cool operatic vocals,” said Thomson. “There are so many great bands that have gone through there. I know Heart recorded there and they are one of my favourite bands so it was awesome to be a part of that history before it closed down.”
Puzzle, she explains, was called that because all the songs are different pieces but also come together.
The first single, Sticks and Stones, is a jaunty, horn-spiked number. The adult contemporary pop album also features many of the genres that influence her. Much of it fits in the same vein as Tori Amos, or Fiona Apple mixed with Florence and the Machine. It is a result of writing about her experiences over the past 10 years.
Thomson is performing at the Elite on Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7.