Catherine Elms Premieres Her Latest Single ‘Fire Song’

Dark pop vocalist Catherine Elms blends raw energy with beautifully defined edges; contemplative and ferocious at the same time.

Elms creates an immense and sublime sound with her delicate yet strong voice and beautiful piano accompaniment.

Her rockier first track, ‘Frustrations‘ was published earlier this year and was an instant hit for the Welsh musician.

Her musical inspirations include rock, progressive rock, and baroque pop. Catherine has developed an emotive and cathartic sound that draws inspiration from artists such as Tori Amos and Amanda Palmer. A non-classical pianist who is self-taught.

When it comes to vocal projection, Catherine is one of the rare dark pop singers and composers that stands out. She spoke about her music and her new song “Fire Song” in an interview with MrrrDaisy of Music Arena Gh.

Fire Song’s accompanying music video by Scott Chalmers combines Catherine’s energetic performance with the stunning visuals (videographer for Jamie Lenman, Birdeatsbaby, Saint Agnes).

Using ceremonial fire magic, Catherine is able to unwrap the layers of expectation that have held her back from expressing her real self.

What is your real and official showbiz name?
Both are Catherine Elms – but my friends call me Cath.

How long have you been making music and what attracted you to it?
I’ve been writing music since I was 8 years old when I wrote songs about haunted houses and skipping school on my Dad’s Casio keyboard but never had any formal music lessons beyond a few guitar lessons at school here and there.

When I was 16, I discovered The Dresden Dolls and they blew my mind. I’d never heard a piano used in that way before; Amanda Palmer (pianist for The Dresden Dolls) has such a raw dynamic playing style, it’s very punk rock and I loved hearing the piano used in that way.

Listening to The Dresden Dolls showed me that you don’t need to be classically trained to create powerful, beautiful music – so that summer, I taught myself how to play the piano, and started writing music on a piano for the first time.

I’ve been performing for a few years, and released my first professionally-recorded single this year!

What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
I’ve been performing for a few years and recorded a few singles and EPs over the last decade in my bedroom. Last year I recorded this song (and my forthcoming album) in The Nest Studios in Brighton with the dark progressive band Birdeatsbaby. I’m tremendously proud of the music we’ve recorded together, and I can’t wait to share it all with the world.

Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
I’ve inspired my deep human emotions, exploring our inner worlds, and big ideas. I like to write songs with complexity, and not narrow our experiences down to something easily digestible and inauthentic – for example, my single ‘Fire Song’ is about self-actualization and finding your power after years of keeping yourself small, but it also acknowledges the darkness and pain of destroying your former self.

What are your friend’s and parents’ thoughts on your career in singing?
My friends and parents are deeply supportive, and always cheer me on and sit in the front row at my gigs. I’m really lucky to have such lovely people around me.

Catherine Elms Premieres Her Latest Single 'Fire Song'
Catherine Elms Premieres Her Latest Single ‘Fire Song’

What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
I really struggle with self-doubt, and disappointment when things don’t go as well as I’d hoped – but I’m fortunate to have friends and family around me to help me stay positive when I’m feeling wobbly, and to remind me that I’m doing a good job.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
The author Elizabeth Gilbert has a lot of great advice on staying creative and remaining true to yourself during times of self-doubt. She writes about the importance of creating for its own sake, for the way it lights up your soul, and to let go of the desire for external praise, validation, or external measures of success.

If people don’t like your art, too bad – keep going anyway, knowing that you’re doing what you were born to do. That’s a very empowering and freeing idea. You always hope that people will connect with your art, but as long as you’re proud of it, then that’s all that really matters.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Creating and releasing music, and knowledge of how to do these things, is all more accessible than ever, which is great but it also creates an over-saturated market which makes it very very difficult to stand out.

It’s very difficult to earn a living from music in the streaming age – Spotify’s minuscule artist payouts have a lot to answer for, but I think the problem is wider than Spotify – we live in an age where art is ephemeral and disposable, short-form content is the only way to get seen, people stream instead of purchasing music, and exposure is determined by algorithms.

There’s also an expectation to constantly release content on at least a monthly basis – which is difficult and prohibitively expensive for those of us who hire musicians and acoustic instruments in recording studios.

I’m not sure what the solution is – I’m still figuring that out, particularly in the context of being a new artist starting out. Patreon and Bandcamp are great options if you have a supportive fanbase, and I think those platforms empower artists to carve out their own paths.

What is your current project about?
My single ‘Fire Song’ is about feeling trapped in your safe mundane life, and feeling the call to be something wild and something greater than you currently are – and eventually giving in to that call, setting your life on fire, and emerging from the ashes of your former self as a stronger, more self-actualised person.

What does this song mean to you?
This song is intensely personal to me. For years I kept myself small and dedicated my energy to a safe boring corporate career and a domestic life, but always felt a call for something more. Lockdown brought about some huge life changes, and I did some deep self-exploration and realised that creating music was what lit me up, it’s what I was made to do.

So, I finished writing my debut album, worked with a producer and studio to bring it to life, and Fire Song will be the second single from that album. It’s my favourite single, and one of the most powerful songs on the album.

Fire Song explores these themes – feeling that calling for something more and finally setting yourself free to be what you’ve always wanted to be. The song represents my first steps on a journey out of the dark, a journey towards the place – and person – I’m meant to be.

What are your hobbies?
I’m big into fitness and weight training – I got into it during lockdown to take care of my mental health, and now it’s become a huge part of my life. Training helps me feel connected to my body and proud of what it can do and gives me so much energy and mental clarity.

I ran my first half-marathon during Lockdown 1 and ran two more last year. My favourite weight training exercise is deadlifting, and I deadlifted my producer while we were recording Fire Song! I’m currently training for my first Tough Mudder. I also love reading and writing fanzines, playing board games, and horror & sci-fi movies.

What do you do aside from this profession?
My day job is as a User Researcher in the Civil Service, which I promise is less boring than it sounds! I like the financial stability that having a job affords me, but the dream is to eventually do music full-time.

What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thank you for all your support, it really means the world to me! There are amazing things on the horizon, and I can’t wait for us to take this journey together.

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MrrrDaisy is the Owner of Music Arena Gh.  As a graphic designer, blogger and social media expert, he is a confident and creative designer who is self-motivated, self-sufficient and comes to you with a strong background in both print and digital media. He currently lives and studies Digital Media at Nottingham College, United Kingdom.

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