Interview with singer and songwriter Ciara Catalla

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Photograph taken by Monica Kmet

Music universally connects all of us to one another.  There have been many days in my life when the songs I listened to made me feel alive and inspired.  It’s the singers who really convey that feeling and translates the song into something we can all relate to and care about.  Passionate, angelic and sweet are a few words to describe Ciara Catalla’s voice.  Although she sings many covers of different songs, she is able to add in her own identity and style in each of them.  Ciara’s original songs are also worth checking out.  Her dedicated fans on YouTube and Facebook may also agree with me.  I came upon Ciara’s video a few days ago of a cover she did of Dashboard Confessional’s song Stolen, which reminded me of why I love the song so much.  I am more than excited to welcome Ciara Catalla to this interviewing series.

Connie: As I was listening to your covers on YouTube, I noticed that you and I like some of the same bands.  What qualities of an artist or a song do you value most and why?

Ciara: Ohh, very cool! In artists, I value their sincerity and passion in what they do. I think you’re able to see and feel when somebody is singing from their heart rather than just singing to sing. I also love an artist’s courage to try new things with their music, and trying different ideas, yet still remaining true to themselves. The same goes for songs…I love the way songs can make somebody feel. They may not know the person who’s singing/playing it, but just hearing the voice and the music can move you so much. If a song makes you feel, whether it’s happiness, sadness, or whatever…it’s doing its purpose.

I love your original song titled “When” because it’s a song that I feel everyone can relate to regarding the experience of love and the curiosity of it.  What inspired you to write this song or your other songs in general?

Aw, thank you! That’s actually the first official song I’ve ever written and shared with others. At the time, I was only 15 years old and still in high school. I didn’t know much about love, nor did I experience it yet. Thinking back on it, the relationships my two older brothers had with their girlfriends inspired me to write “When.” As cheesy as it may sound, it’s true! The trust, respect, and love they share is what I hope to share with whoever “the one” may be.

Life experiences inspire me to write songs in general. But I also like to write about feelings or experiences I want to experience in the future. Also, just listening to different artists motivates me to keep writing as well.

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Photograph taken by Monica Kmet

Your anticipated first EP, titled
Closer to Home, is going to be released this summer.  Can you tell us a little about the journey it was in creating this album?

It’s been really awesome, fun, creative, and overwhelming. I’m just very fortunate and blessed to have the people I have in my life. I think if you meet the right people at the right time who believe in what you do and are willing to help you through with it, then that is awesome. I feel like that’s what happened with me. We started recording back in September, and I remember that was the first time I’ve ever been in a studio. It felt really surreal, but the whole process has been awesome and I can’t wait to put it out there!

In 2008, you first started releasing your cover song videos on YouTube.  What has changed about your musical tastes, techniques, or your perspectives on life since then?

I actually never anticipated growing a decent following on YouTube; it just happened as time went on and people were giving feedback, whether it was good or bad. I was a very shy person and still am today, but I think recording these covers has helped me personally with my own self-confidence and it was also just a way to let it out. They’ve helped a lot with my creativity as well, and putting my own twists on different songs. They also help me strive to do better on the next video, vocally and musically. I’ve read a few comments from people that have told me I’ve come so far since my first video and how they’re proud of me…and it just makes me smile.

Can you tell us what first inspired you to play the guitar and the keyboard?

I come from a pretty musical family, and we’ve always had a few guitars around the house. I remember the first time I picked up a guitar was when I was about 12 years old, and I just started messing around with it. My two older brothers knew how to play already, so I would ask them for help and what not. They eventually helped me read tabs, and I figured out a few basic chords, and went from there. I would go online to find out the chords to certain songs and I just practiced! When I was 7 years old, I took a few piano lessons and then I quit…unfortunately. I was still so young and I guess I got bored with it (which I regret). I don’t play piano as much as I play guitar, but I still love it!

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Photograph taken by Monica Kmet

If you ever become hugely famous with Grammy success and seeing your face on every magazine, what would you like everyone (including yourself) to remember about your time in your life right now, in this stage of your musical career?

Oh man….that’s crazy to think about! I would want them and myself to remember the determination and the passion I have for music. I’m having such a fun time doing it, and that’s so important. I also have so many wonderful people in my life that are so supportive and loving. They constantly inspire and help me to move forward.

Of all the steps in the process of making music (composing, songwriting, producing and performing), which is your favorite and why?

Producing is one of my favorites for sure. I love the whole process because it’s such a creative world. You can try and add so many things to bring the song to life. And then hearing the final product is the best part!

You noted on Facebook that you auditioned for the show American Idol when you were sixteen years old.  What was that experience like?  Would you ever consider auditioning for that or a similar talent show again?

Overwhelming and nerve-racking, but it was also very cool.  It was my first time trying out for a big show like that.  The hard part is the waiting, because you get so antsy and the nerves build up.  I didn’t get passed the first round, but it’s okay!

I actually had the opportunity to go audition for a similar show two years ago.  I almost got there, but I was unfortunately rejected.  I think that they are really great experiences and opportunities to get your name out there.  It’s something I still consider, but as for now, it’s not my priority.

Thank you so much for taking the time in doing this interview, Ciara!  I think there are a lot of bumps on the road when you pursue your dreams.  However, with the strong support and passion you have, I have no doubt that you’ll reach far beyond you ever imagined.  Best of luck to you, Connie.

To find out more information on Ciara, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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