23-year-old Catalina gave us a sneak peek into her favorite songs, traveling stories and everything in between. Keep on reading to find out more about where the Chilean singer/songwriter is today, and where she sees herself in the future.
For starters, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Catalina: I’m a Chilean singer/songwriter and I’ve been in the U.S. for almost five years now!
How did you start getting into performing? Self-taught, school, etc.
Catalina: I’ve been singing ever since I can remember. Both of my parents are both very musical, they’re not musicians or anything but they’re avid music lovers. So I always grew up with a wide variety of music being listened to in my household.
What was your first performance experience/music memory that really made you want to pursue music as a career?
Catalina: I think the first time I realized I liked performing was when I was 5 years old. I participated in my first grade talent show and I decided to sing the Pokemon theme song. But I had no stage presence, and I was terrified! The stage fright was so real, that I didn’t even sing. I held the mic up to my mouth and mumbled. But the funny thing is, my mom was like “oh, that didn’t go well”, but apparently every year after that I wanted to keep performing at the talent show.
How would you describe your style to somebody who is just starting to listen to you?
Catalina: I usually say that it’s pop, but it’s heavily influenced by soul and blues. It’s not the mainstream pop that you listen to nowadays – unless you count like Leon Bridges and Audra Day and Adele that’s coming out. I like all genres. That’s why I have a hard time describing what music I am. I pick and choose different sounds and rhythms from every little genre that I like. I guess vocally I’m very soulful like Adele or Motown. But I can also get really mainstream pop at times or gritty like Grace Potter. I like to think I can dabble in all of those things and create my own sound.
What’s the first song you ever wrote by yourself? Favorite song you’ve written?
Catalina: It was probably the standard, pre-teen angst or like, love. But the first song that stuck with me and is actually on the album that I just released is “Let It Flow”. I wrote it when I was thirteen and it’s a very sensual, jazzy tune that you wouldn’t expect someone that age to write, but it happened. It’s gone through a lot of stages because before it used to be very Santana-esque and now it’s very jazzy. For some reason that one just stuck with me until today.
What does your current go-to playlist look like right now?
Catalina: I’m a big big big Adele fan. I really really love Beyonce, but I still listen to a lot of Motown. And that new Nick Jonas song!? What’s it called? Bacon? That one is so good! I’m always open to listen to new music, but I’m always listening to the Top 40 that’s out there, always listening to oldies. And I’m a huge Spice Girls fan. It’s very broad, depends on what mood I’m in.
You’ve already had a lot of traveling under your belt – from being born in Chile to where you’ve traveled to perform – how has that influenced your music?
Catalina: It’s been very influential I think. Not only musical and musicianship process, but also business-wise. I’ve learned a lot about how to carry myself as an artist but also as a business. In that sense, I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve been able to gather little pieces of wisdom here and there about how they run their show, how we interact, so that’s been a big part of it. I went to Smoky Mountains in Tennessee about two years ago for a singer-songwriter festival and that was the first time I ever picked up my bags, and traveled all by myself in the U.S. It was such a transformative story for me, that was the first time I’ve ever written a song about a place and how that place made me feel. It was wonderful.
Any crazy traveling stories?
Catalina: This wasn’t even when I was traveling, this was when in New Haven for college, and I was 19. The bars around campus let me gig, but none of my friends could come because they weren’t 21. I had a couple of instances where I got hit on by middle-aged men. Every time it started like a compliment, and I’m the kind of person that loves talking to people. One guy found my music page on Facebook and started messaging me to my Facebook page!
What is your favorite part of the creative process and why? (writing, recording, live performances, etc.)
Catalina: Performing is a big one. I would have never thought it was going to be. I’ve played shows where there’s 200 people paying attention to you to shows where there’s one person in the bar and I’ve played shows at fairs where there could be thousands of people but they’re all walking and they don’t really care. But you always see that one person where you’ve changed their day just by something you’ve said. Doesn’t even have to be the music, just talking in between sets. It’s the reaction. I had a lady that came to one of my New York shows. [Her and her husband] were trying to celebrate and remember their daughter that passed away. And her name was Catalina. She was just completely touched, and she heard one of my songs – “Smoky Mountains” – and her brother lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. There were just so many connections. She got a little teared up and it was just such a crazy experience, and to think that it’s just completely random. It was a show that wasn’t in my regular area, she just happened to be there. Those are my favorite to see.
What’s something you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years with your music? Any dream collaborations, tours?
Catalina: World domination! Hopefully, that would be great! But I think in five years I definitely want to be fulfilled. I want a tour, I want to make music full-time. Right now I’m working on radio distribution and licensing, so hopefully I’ll have lots of songs out there on TV and hopefully film – that would be very cool. I think that in five years, at least, I see myself being in the festival cycle of things so doing SXSW, which is something I’ve been working on, and even bigger ones like Bonnaroo, or smaller ones like the Smoky Mountains one or ones I’ve seen in Colorado. I want to at least be in festival season in five years from now. But I really just want to make [music] the full-time gig.