“Her voice is like an opera singer mixed with a Husqvarna chainsaw” – the words of a bleary eyed gas station attendant from Squamish, the morning after a Cat Madden set. Perhaps this unique tone stems from a childhood spent with a rock, punk and ska enthusiast for a father (Madness, The Specials, Blondie, Who, Clash, Beat, Jam) and a mother in love with French classical composers; Debussy, Ravel and Erik Satie.
As a teenager, Cat became more acquainted with folk artists like The Cranberries, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy, and was particularly captivated by the poeticism of Laura Marling, quickly coming to know the British songwriter’s catalogue as if it were her own.
Most weeks the Madden family would educate themselves by watching “Later… with Jools Holland”. One night, on the show, as she watched a mesmerizing solo performance by KT Tunstall of ‘Black Horse and The Cherry Tree’, something clicked…
A 13-year old Cat watched in awe, then vowed: “I’m gonna do that”. The more she explored her musicality, the more she was encouraged to pursue it by her family, her peers… by everyone.
Cat moved to London to study and perform as many forms of music as possible – Stevie Ray Vaughn’s blues, Al Jearreau’s jazz and George Clinton’s pizazz. She was mentored by great teachers like cellist Audrey Riley and vocalists David Combes and Vic Bynoe. People who can count Blur, Foo Fighters, Elton John, Eric Clapton and James Brown among their collaborators.
Her sound and passion for songwriting was emerging from a musical melting pot. Yet, during this time, Cat was crippled by a seemingly endless lack of self-confidence when it came to performing. See her on stage today and you would never guess that, as a budding artist, she “would hide behind her guitar”, run off stage and cry for the fear of playing to a crowd.
If only an early-20s Cat had known that Canada beckoned and that this is where she would finally dropkick performance anxiety in its metaphorical gonads.
Canada was a fresh start. A thousand miles from her comfort zone, Cat pushed herself to perform at karaoke nights, which she says “saved her life”, then open-mic nights and eventually collaborated with artists, venues and companies spanning from Vancouver to Washington DC.
She started her own company “Cat Madden Music” and now works primarily as a performing artist, composer and vocal coach.
Her biggest achievement may have been when she was asked by Tamara Stanners and Kirsten Andrews to perform at the inaugural Squamish Constellation Festival alongside Begonia, Serena Ryder and Half Moon Run.
Cat has performed adjacent to Old Soul Rebel and regularly plays at The Railway alongside good friend Emily Molloy, with Five Alarm Funk and other Vancouver bands supporting them from the crowd.
She has played at several BC festivals including WSSF, The Great Okanagan Beer Festival, Wind Festival, and venues like LanaLous, Guilt & Company and 150+ other shows across BC. Cat’s original songs won her the Whistler Music Search, placed her in the top ten for VANJAM2020 and have been featured by Whistler FM, Mountain FM, The Pique, Global TV, CBC, SHAW TV and the BBC.
Her versatility as a session vocalist has landed her gigs with countless notable figures and companies including Canadian Music Week’s Gary Taylor and Paul Emerson of CompanyE.
Cat has cemented her place in the community of Squamish; her home. She volunteers and supports several groups including the Whistler and Squamish Art’s Council, Howe Sound Woman’s Centre, the Squamish PRIDE committee and now works with Under One Roof at the Squamish food-bank on Sunday mornings. She has helped transitioning women through her vocal coaching work and taught many students privately or in schools.
Today Cat’s dream is to exude confidence and create joy; “to be honest and blow people’s minds”. She dreams about taking her captivating stage show on tour to the world’s most interesting and beautiful places, to continue using her work to raise awareness for the social issues close to her heart, and that her music helps as many people as possible in their pursuit for happiness; whether that’s one stellar moment being touched by her music or a lyrical message that stays with them their entire lives.
I vow to always be sincere in my art - integral to myself and my creations; always striving to be good to people and the planet. Happiness is fundamental and my philosophy is that...
"When a door opens;
you walk through it then hold it open for the next person"
I will be a musician in my heart and through my muscles and at the destination of all my thoughts until the day I die.
Until then, I intend to do my very best.