Usually they are spurred to do so because they want to communicate something different, something outside of the realm of a collective effort.
That’s exactly what happened to Cat Canteri, Melbourne-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, born in Australia with Italian heritage.
Her love of music is also something she inherited.
Cat’s grandfather Guido migrated to Australia at the age of 17, and while he worked on farms he always had a burning passion for music.
Guido used to love singing and playing the mandolin, a gift he passed down to his granddaughter.
Cat has ventured to Italy – near Verona, to be exact – several times over the past few years in an attempt to reconnect with her roots.
The talented singer took her first steps in the musical world as drummer and vocalist in The Stillsons.
Over time, she realised that some of her songs didn’t exactly suit the band’s style, and she began her own project, recording new material as a solo artist.
In 2014, Cat released her debut solo album ‘When We Were Young’, which showcased her country-folk-meets-indie-rock style.
The tracks reflect on real life experiences, framed and coloured by Cat’s exquisite voice and playing.
Her latest solo work, ‘Inner North’, was released on May 18.
The album has its roots firmly planted in the neighbourhood that Cat calls home – the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne.
While listening to the album, it almost feels like being on a tram travelling along Northcote’s High Street, contemplating untold stories.
One example is ‘Bridget Agnew’, a song written in collaboration with her partner, which explores a tragedy which occurred in Preston in 1850 (at the time, the suburb was called Irishtown).
Cat explained how, after doing some research into council archives, they found an old article from The Age in 1857 about a young mother named Bridget Agnew, who had drowned her two little girls before taking her own life, close to Christmas time.
The song is split into three parts: the first is from the perspective of Bridget Agnew herself, as she talks about a morning routine; the second is through the eyes of Samuel Jeffrey, the landlord and the person who found their bodies; and the last part is narrated by James Agnew, Bridget’s husband.
Cat hopes that this song sheds light on a story from the local community, but most importantly, she hopes it raises awareness on topics such as domestic violence, depression and suicide – all pressing issues in Australia which aren’t spoken about enough.
For Cat, art can be a powerful way to foster important conversations.
Other songs on her last album revolve around lighter topics such as relationships, friends and childhood memories.
Combined, they create a complex expression of emotion through both lyrics and music.
“I’d like to think that having listened to my songs, nobody would question what each one is about,” Cat said.
“I want it all to be clear so there is no room for any doubts.”
Cat Canteri’s tour kicked off in Melbourne on May 18, before heading to New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.
Cat will be back in Melbourne this Sunday, to perform in an evening entitled ‘Women of Country’ as part of the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival.