On the heels of a solid inaugural promotional campaign, 22-year-old British singer-songwriter Claudia Kate has released her aptly named debut album, A Damn Good Place to Start. The self-proclaimed “bedroom pop” artist sprinkled five relatable, vibey singles throughout the past year and a half, picking up steam with each drop, while racking up thousands of streams to her name.
Produced during Britain’s pandemic lockdown, Kate calls on a single noted feature, fellow Cambridgeshire-born artist Ellie Dixon. Kate tells EUPHORIA. that her best friends also aided her with backing vocals. On her own vocal front, it’s excellent to see Kate tinker with the production on her vocals, adding verb and vocal chops across the duration of the 13 track, 44-minute therapy session.
Wrought with dreamy production and unyielding melodies, gentle instrumentation adds buoyancy exemplifying Kate’s personality — light and cheerful. Smooth rolls from each verse to chorus throughout, lyrically lending a sympathetic ear to people who experience struggles – both romantic and existential — in the digital age. More than anything, the record is an apt masterclass on the modern youth experience.
Pop bops like “Girls Girl” and “Boys” raise the tempo and are built for playing loud outdoors on a sunny festival day. Variance is gained through slower, introspective numbers such as “He” and “Good Mood.”
The project is deeply personal for the artist, as she touches on topics including friendships, family, body image issues, and “Boys”. Nothing about the album feels unfinished or rushed, which is a good omen for a maiden foray into the album column.
In the week leading up to the release, Kate performed some album tracks as part of a livestream show put on by cultural arts space The Boileroom — a space that has hosted the likes of The 1975 and Ed Sheeran. In a year starved for live music, the show was a nice reminder of what live gigs feel like.
In an album full of stellar tracks, the standout is hands down “Pity Party,” which sets the scene of a lonely night aided by cigarettes and Prosecco. Somber vibes prevail early on but are promptly quashed with a sweeping tempo chance that introduces piano to the dance. She sings of the phantom helplessness of coming to terms with coming of age and reluctantly bidding farewell to the complacency afforded to the young. Instrumentally sound through its duration, “Pity Party” has a prayerful aura that comes off as equally therapeutic for the artist as for its audience. The track also alludes directly to the record’s cover art, featuring Kate in the midst of one of her aforementioned pity parties, holding purple balloons and looking rather ponderous.
Growing up is wild, and Kate captures that sentiment with words and sounds that paint an illustrious picture, splendidly encapsulating the beautifully chaotic life stage that is one’s early 20s. The record has a little bit of everything, contemplative as it is reassuring, Kate hits all the feels with full force.