Cate Canning moved to London just before the pandemic hit. Having spent a few years in LA songwriting but not relating to the “scene” over there – too much time in the studio, and not enough real living – something in the bright, enthusiastic Canadian who lights up any room she walks into was drawn to the UK Capital. Quickly finding her community of artists (including the likes of Maisie Peters, Dylan Fraser, Tommy Lefroy) and falling head over heels for her new hometown, Cate began writing Love letters to London through songs, like a modern Gen Z Notting Hill messy romance, which could make any cynical Londoner fall in love with the city again. Striking a heady balance between the intoxicating fantasy of summer love in a new city that is still revealing itself to you, and the ground-hitting reality of the times when you find yourself falling so hard that you have to start planning your escape route just in case. Her vivid imagination and immaculate writing feels like someone who has matured over decades, yet she’s only 23.
Today Cate shares her brand new love letter and single, and soon to be anthem of the summer, ‘Ruin’ via Believe. Taking you on a journey of those all too familiar feelings of falling for someone for the first time set to the backdrop of Primrose Hill, full of the giddy excitement but also fears of the possible heartbreak.
Cate’s already stellar reputation for confessional, evocative music that has so far stopped thousands of fans in their tracks, with over 230K followers, 5M likes on Tiktok, has built a rabid fanbase of young women who are drawn to her enthralling energy, relatable lyrics and tales of moving across the pond. Using the time inside wisely during the UK-wide lockdowns and makeshift studio equipment – her wardrobe became a vocal booth – Cate worked with her housemates on creating her debut solo EP Love, the Madness which includes single ‘Funny Story’. Since then she’s released ‘Stupid’ – already a pre-drinks staple, with its huge, running-through-the-streets-to-do-something-regrettable chorus – and ‘Groupie’ which has over 11 million streams and been claimed the anthem for boyband fans, mirroring Cate’s own teen One Direction obsession. The precociously gifted songwriter, whose atmospheric, perfumed aired country-pop has seen her be compared to the “the mom of all songwriters” Taylor Swift sold out her first-ever show at Camden Assembly this year and is set to play Kendal Calling and Barn on the Farm with more festivals to be announced.
Raised on the music of Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, country music was Cate’s first love. Following in the footsteps of her only other musical family member, her Grandpa, who “plays everything”, she picked up the guitar and piano and performed anywhere she could, from musical productions at school to eventually joining a cover touring band as a teen. Although formative, her time in the group didn’t allow her creativity to expand or let her tell her own stories which she so desperately craved. She began taking regular trips to LA for songwriting sessions but as a natural writer with one eye always on the narrative, something didn’t sit right with the way of living there, and she felt a pull towards London. Scooping up her friend Tessa Mouzourakis (of Tommy Lefroy) to come along for the ride, Cate googled “Where did Paul McCartney live when he was young?” and found herself living in Chalk Farm, with Mouzourakis and their fellow musician Cian Ducrot about a month later.
With the wise words of a few writers she respected twirling in her head: “You need to live more than you write” Cate absorbed every corner of every street and sunlit park of the city alongside her rag-tag, adopted community of musicians, Maisie Peters (yes, she’s Cate as in “Cate’s Brother”), Australian songwriter Rory Adams, the transatlantic group Tommy Lefroy, Navvy, Leith, and Dylan Fraser. The lessons she learnt along the way have resulted in the construction of Cate’s whirling musical universe. Telling universal stories about embracing your mistakes and contradictions: it’s music to be the main character to, to dance and cry with your friends to, and to understand the person you want to be to – wherever and whoever you are.