Entertainment

Cat Thomson sings for charity

Cat Thomson performs with Alexandria Malliot at the Buzz Coffee House on May 2.  - Photo Contributed
Cat Thomson performs with Alexandria Malliot at the Buzz Coffee House on May 2.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

When singer/songwriter Cat Thomson was a little girl she would often sing a bit too much at the dinner table.
“My parents had me in ballet lessons and I used to just sing at the dinner table and be late for ballet every single time,” Thomson said. “I vividly remember my mom saying to me, ‘if you make us late for ballet one more time because you’re not eating your dinner because you’re singing, I am never taking you again.’ And I kept singing.”
Thomson never went to another ballet lesson.
A few weeks later, her mother enrolled her in the Calgary Children’s Choir.
“There was no more singing at the dinner table after that,” Thomson said. “It was home, eat, choir.”
The Calgary native has long since moved on from singing at the dinner table and now finds herself singing to larger audiences throughout the country.
On Saturday (May 3), Thomson will be taking the stage at the Buzz Coffee House as part of a charity fundraiser for Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a charity that supports children with neuro-developmental disabilities. Half of the proceeds from the show will go toward the organization.
“I am happy to be a part of that,” Thomson said.
Thomson graduated from Louisiana State University’s opera and vocal performance program in 2010. She describes her musical style as “genre bending.”
“I always like to say it’s not quite pop, it’s not quite indie, it’s not quite classical. If I had to put myself in a genre, it would be adult contemporary,” she said.
Thomson wound up attending LSU after winning a talent show aboard a cruise ship in 2005. A few members in the audience, who had ties to the university, encouraged her to audition for the school’s musical program. Thomson eventually flew down to the university’s main campus in Baton Rouge where she auditioned and received a full five-year scholarship on the spot.
“When the opportunity came to go to LSU I just went full speed ahead,” Thomson said. “I had no idea what to expect.”
When she relocated to Louisiana in 2005, she was dealt an unexpected hand from Mother Nature.
“My welcome mat was actually Hurricane Katrina. I arrived and three days later Katrina hit ... I couldn’t get home. We couldn’t fly out and I didn’t know anybody,” Thomson said.
She said the experience of being in Louisiana during such a devastating time was eye-opening.
“The South is so culturally diverse and that they have such a warm way with people, making sure that people are always fed,” Thomson said. “People were always singing and always feeding each other.”
After graduating from university in 2010, Thomson was discovered by 604 Records co-founder Jonathan Simkin after he saw some of her videos on YouTube.
“I think I had a cover of a Marianas Trench song on there and I think that’s what really sparked his interest,” Thomson said. “It was interesting for me to get picked up by them because I think when people think 604 Records they think rock or rock-pop, but they’ve really started to expand their roster more.”
Thomson, who now resides in Vancouver, is due to release her first album, Puzzled, sometime this summer.
“The title of the album is a big clue as to what the album is about,” Thomson said. “It’s a lot of really different songs, but they all come together fluidly … there are some poppy elements on there and there are some dramatic vocal elements on there.”
Thomson performs with Alexandria Maillot at the Buzz Coffee House, 1861 Dufferin Cres., beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, please visit www.catthomsonmusic.com.

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