Last month we featured Florida singer songwriter, Cat Ridgeway, and her latest single, ‘Sweet Like Candy‘. Lisa took the opportunity to catch up with Cat and asked her about her life, her music, and her plans for the festive season.
Hi Cat! Thank you so much for speaking to us!
Hey! Right back atcha! Thanks so much for having me!
We’re loving your latest single, ‘Sweet Like Candy’. It’s got a really retro vibe, both lyrically and sonically, and the music video adds to that with the skate park and roller rink locations. It’s a very relatable song, and feels deeply personal. Was it written about anyone in particular?
Thank you! I’m such a sucker for old-school sounds. The lyrics were mainly inspired by an old high school classmate of mine that I reconnected with a few years after graduation, but there are also fragments of other people and just straight-up fiction in the mix, too. I think that’s something I personally love about this song – because it’s not as specific to my own experiences, I feel like it’s lighter and more relatable to everyone else.
‘Sweet Like Candy’ is from your ‘Nice To Meet You’ album, to which your website adds the tagline, “A little bit of everything and a whole lotta soul”. That sounds like a great life motto – how do we fill our lives with soul?
Hahaha, thank you! Soul is just another word for conviction. Just commit to whatever the heck it is you’re into as FULLY, joyfully, and passionately as you can. The rest will follow.
What have you learned in your musical career that’s been invaluable advice, and what could you share with anyone who’s just starting out on their musical journey? Is there anything you wish you had done differently, and if so why?
I just had the immense pleasure of opening for Mac McAnally (of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band), and after the show he told me to never play for the industry folks who may be in the room – those people may or may not even have their jobs in a month or two. Instead, play to the PEOPLE. Even if it’s only a handful. If you can reach the real people in the audience who are there because they love music, you’ll really be building your career because those are the people who may end up becoming your forever fans.
I think that’s fantastic advice, and I’d just add that since music is such a subjective thing, there’s room for everyone. It’s not a competition. Do what YOU do because nobody else can create melodies, write lyrics, produce, or play exactly the same way you do.
And finally, so far, I truly feel like I’ve (reasonably) ceased every opportunity that’s come my way, so I don’t really wish I’d done anything differently in my life/career per se. However, I know I have a LOT of room to improve/be more engaged on the social media side of things – it’s the final frontier, and I know I there’s a lot more I could be getting out of it (and in turn, giving back to the folks who allow me to have this career and keep up with me).
Who’s been your biggest inspiration in your life? What about your musical inspirations?
I suppose the answer to both would be my brother, Mitch. I joke all the time that it’s his fault I’m in this business (he started taking guitar lessons when I was in kindergarten, so I joined in because I wanted to be cool like him), but he’s also just a great person who has a very focused, intelligent way about him while still being easygoing and goofy. He’s also very balanced and I…… am not LOL, so it’s a good thing for me to be around him, I think.
He’s always been the great introducer and teacher to me. When he started high school, he got audio recording gear and taught himself how to use it. He’d teach me anything I asked him about while allowing me the space to discover stuff on my own, too. In that way, I feel like we discovered music production together, alongside each other. And it’s funny because we compliment each other so well in so many ways… I’d consider him more of an engineer, while I think I’m more of a producer. I’m excited to work with him more on music now that we’re out of school and gigging together professionally and all that jazz. Anyway, yeah, Mitch… all around great guy, 10/10 would recommend LOL.
How’s the Covid-19 pandemic affected you, and are there any changes you’ve made, or life lessons you’ve learned, that you’ll be taking with you after all this is over?
Covid has been absolutely WILD. I actually caught it back in February, and believe it or not, I am STILL recovering my smell almost a year later. I had a lot of health issues that had me in and out of the ER and specialists’ offices for months after clearing the virus, and quite honestly, it made 2021 an extremely hard year for me. And then add the layer of nuance of being a performer who is called upon to stay happy in front of people at all times (but also, don’t get me wrong: that was actually helpful to me because it forced me to stay grounded and positive AND served as a nice distraction).
Over time, though, I’ve learned that life is literally learning to exist in a constant state of uncertainty, and that’s very relevant to having a career in music as well. I heard in a podcast recently that your brain can’t fully distinguish anxiety from excitement, so I’m trying my best to get into the habit of reframing my thoughts to come from a place of positive anticipation rather than fear. Damn, that got deep. LOL.
With the holiday season upon us, what are your plans? How about 2022, what can fans expect from you?
I’m taking a faaaaaat break for the first time in what feels like a couple of years. Covid was a shift rather than a pause in my workflow, and I’m looking very forward to doing absolutely nothing surrounded by the people I care about most during the holidays (and by nothing I mean naps, cooking, bonfires, roasting coffee beans, and hopefully some camping).
However, in 2022, I’m planning to jump right back into it and begin pre-production on the next record. My brother and I are building a studio space in our house, and I’m very excited to put it to use.
And finally, a question we ask everyone we interview – what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
Hmmmm… that’s hard, but I think anything about having synesthesia would be fun. Synesthesia is a cross-wiring of the senses in the brain. For me, it means my auditory input creates a visual output, so I see colours, shapes, and textures in my head involuntarily when I hear music/sounds. “Sweet Like Candy” is a very vibrant candy cerulean blue with notes of pearlescent white/silver – it’s very pretty.
Once again, thank you so much for speaking with us! Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!
Thank you so much! I hope you and yours have a great holiday season as well!