Home / Music / Artist Interviews / INTERVIEW: Catey Shaw


Hi Catey, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been fan-fucking-tastic. 2016 is shaping up to be a dope year- I knew it would be when I got my “16” tattoo 🙂

Can you talk to us more about your single “The Ransom”?

Yes- The first line written, and inspiration for the whole song, was, “if i give you everything that you want.” That brought to mind a “hostage situation” which inspired me to make a mental note of everything in my in my life that was transactional, rather than genuine or unconditional. I took note of how many things I actually do as some sort of payment to someone else- even if I’m paying in guilt.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

For me, every song is inspired, at its inception at least, by a singular event. The challenge then is to put it into terms where people can project their own feelings and experiences onto it. Hopefully, The Ransom will influence a few listeners to examine what is holding them hostage in their own lives, and maybe come to a better understanding of themselves in the process.

How was the film experience for the video?

Filming the video was a blast. My close friend and creative partner Bryan Russell Smith did a fantastic job directing (and editing). It’s so great to work surrounded by friends. It makes the whole process comfortable and fun, and because of that it’s easy to get a good performance out of me. Bryan and I planned this video for months, so it was amazing to see all the little pieces come together. Literally everyone on set was a friend of mine. I have had the same makeup artist, Tracy Raffleson, since Brooklyn Girls; the DP also did the Human Contact video; I had my friend doing behind the scenes; even my co-star is a good friend I met in college.

Why did you name the record after this track in particular?

The Ransom and the idea surrounding it really created a turning point for me in my personal life. It brought to light some things I maybe wasn’t willing to see before. I’d like to keep that honesty with myself going as a theme not only in my art, but in my life.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing can be very hard, especially at the start. Its a challenge to stretch your brain out and analyze your thoughts, dissect your beliefs and then put them back together in a digestible format. Usually there’s an inspired moment, where we’re going “this is gonna be so easy this concept is great!” Then we hit a wall and have to work so hard for every word. It becomes a lot of problem solving; filling in blank spots with puzzle pieces from a different box. Sometimes we step away from a writing session and ask each other, “was that even good, what we just wrote?” Then we hear it the next day and it’s like “oh yeah, let’s throw some sax on this bitch and jam the fuck out.”

Does Brooklyn play a role in your music?

It definitely has in the past, just like every major part of my life has. But I draw inspiration from all kinds of places. It’s important to me to not pander to any kind of “Brooklyn sound” or try so hard to be hip.

How has the good reception your music has received influenced you as a musician?

It doesn’t influence the music itself as much as it inspires me as a human. Sometimes, or all of the time actually, it can be hard to keep going. Knowing that there are people listening definitely makes it worth the uncertainty.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Inspiration comes from all kinds of places- a simple string of words from an interesting conversation, a year’s worth of ups and downs, a bad joke or a cold drink.

Any plans to hit the road?

Definitely. I love touring so much, nothing gets me going like a live show. I don’t have any plans set in stone at the moment, but you should definitely keep an eye out for that this year.

What else is happening next in Catey Shaw’s world?

Just writing this album! There’s a ton going on in my personal life so it’s been a bit hectic, but I’m dying to put out a full-length. We’ve gotten a good head start on it but there’s still much to be done.

Watch here or listen here.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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