Welcome back to Unheard Gems, the best place to find the greeting emerging artists. We are so thrilled to get to chat with Cate Tomlinson. Welcome to Unheard Gems!
For our readers who don’t know you yet can you give us a glimpse into your musical origin story, how did your music and name come to be? **
I’ve spent basically my whole life in California. We always had a piano in the living room, and when I was in third grade I made a band with my group of girl friends and wrote songs for it. I was definitely the most into it out of my friends (they may have been in the band against their will). I picked up writing again when I was a freshman in high school and got dumped, and just kept writing as a creative outlet until my senior year. I wasn’t really planning on going for it as an artist until right before my senior year. I wrote “Missing” and decided I wanted to try to get it produced. I ended up working with a producer in Berkeley and we made part of my EP, and I put it out August of 2020. Since then I’ve done a couple singles and gotten more into producing.
“Notes App Apology” is your first single of the year and since a 9 month hiatus. How does it feel to be releasing music again and be sharing “Notes App Apology” with others?
I am so excited. I’ve been sitting on this song for a long time and I can’t wait for it to be out. I have a couple singles lined up after this one so I’m ready to start releasing more consistently. This one is definitely my most vulnerable lyrically, and it’s also the first one I’ve put out that’s not based on romantic circumstances. But my hope is that people will take what they want from it and interpret it how they need to.
How was the process of writing and producing the track? What does it mean to and represent for you?
I produced a demo for this song and created the foundation for it, but I felt like it needed a little more than I could give it. I had my friend Dean put some additional production, and then my producer Justin added a little more and mixed and mastered it for me. The writing process was really easy for this one. I had the concept “Notes App Apology” for a while literally written in my notes app, and I always saw it being a song title. I got out of a song writing seminar and the teacher had talked about the importance of starting pop songs with the chorus, which I knew about but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to build the entire song around the chorus for this song specifically. I ended up writing the chorus in ten minutes and the rest fell into place over then next two days or so.
Can you talk a bit about the title “Notes App Apology”: your inspiration for it, its meaning, its connection to the song?
I spend a lot of time writing stuff in my notes app. I’ve always put all my thoughts, lyrics, and text drafts in my notes app (only when I need to write something really long :) ). I also liked it so much because I know it’s pretty relatable; I know a lot of artists who write in their notes and all my friends use the notes app to draft texts, too. It was also pretty refreshing to write about something not boy-related. I’ve never dated anyone so when I’m writing about love or feelings there’s only so much I can talk about from personal experience. Everything I say in this song is something I felt and there wasn’t room for me to add fictional details, which I think is kinda cool.
You’ve been releasing music since 2020. How would you describe your sound and style as an artist? How has it changed and/or stayed the same?
I didn’t really know what I wanted to sound like when I first started, and I feel like with Favorite Boy that was the start of me figuring it out. My sound is pretty mainstream, I’d describe it as electro/dream pop, and a little indie. I always want to keep evolving, though. When I produce myself I’m pretty limited, but the next song I have coming out after this is more pop/rock, so I’m excited to explore that as well.
How was it writing, producing, and sharing your music during the pandemic?
Writing was honestly a lot harder in the pandemic because I was so isolated all the time. I did get the chance to write about topics I hadn’t had the chance to try before, so that was an upside. Once I got back to school, though, I got way more material to write about. Haha.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming musicians or any life advice in general? Is there anything you wish you were told or knew when you started releasing music?
I definitely still consider myself an up-and-coming musician, so for artists in the same stage as me I’d say to take advantage of producers and writers around you that are in your social circles and the same age as you. I’m so happy I reached out to Dean and Connor, and they both added elements to the song I wouldn’t have been able to think of if it had been just me producing.
Do you have any upcoming music or projects you’d like to talk about?
My next song should be interesting. It’s the first one I’m putting out that the boy it’s about knows it’s about him.
With the New Year's just passing, do you have any personal New Year's resolutions or any resolutions relating to music?
Yes! One of my music goals for this year is to not censor the way I write, if that makes sense. I used to be scared that the people I write about would figure it out and it would make things weird, but as long as I’m telling the truth I don’t really care anymore. It’ll probably still be weird, but if I’m getting a good song out of it then that’s okay with me.
We always like to know who our Unheard Gems artists are listening to. If you could recommend to us another artist you think deserves more recognition in the music industry, who would you recommend? **
I’ve been really into Magdalena Bay and Realestk. Both of them have pretty solid platforms right now but they’re not mainstream yet. Definitely check them out, they’re so cool.
Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music, and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions? **
All streaming platforms all the time :)