We’re excited to introduce our new series, TuneCore Tuesdays, which aims to highlight artists and other music professionals who are writing, recording, and hustling on their own terms. By showcasing creatives doing it their way all over the globe, TuneCore Tuesdays aims to empower and inspire our diverse community of artists.
Kicking it all off, we’re chatting with pop artist Caitlin McGrath. Check out her video below and be sure to read more about her journey so far!
How does one go from studying architecture to embarking on a solo pop career? For Caitlin McGrath, it was just a matter of the company she was keeping.
Raised in Boston, McGrath headed to University of Miami for a degree with coursework rich in science, math and computer science; but she found herself hanging around a lot of music majors, attending their shows and providing a garage for their rehearsals. Already interested in poetry – “My architecture notebooks were full of poems,” she says – McGrath began putting melodies to her writing and became consumed by her love for songwriting. Starting out with studio sessions, branching out and providing backing vocals for live bands, she eventually decided to pursue a solo career.
It took a bit of breaking out of her shell. “I think my biggest struggle when I first started was being very reserved. I’d share my music with close friends or other people if they asked, but otherwise I was very private.” It was her label partner Reggie Pierre who helped push her toward public performances, encouraging her to sing for anyone at anytime (“…at the gym, on the street, on stage in church – literally anywhere.”), helping her shake off her stage fright.
Working with Reggie, the two have established an indie label and combine old school networking and meet-and-greets with strategic social media tactics to build Caitlin’s fan base organically. But McGrath knows that it’s the former that really drives her: “I definitely can’t rely on social media and video views. It’s mostly the personal face-to-face interactions and in-person reactions to my music that fuel me to keep going.”
If you’ve ever seen Caitlin’s videos, you’ll know right away how much of a visual focus she puts into the presentation of her music. Being hands-on with the creative work behind her recording and video shoots helps to provide a sense of balance as an artist.
“If I do one thing over and over, I might get burned out or bored; but when I bounce back and forth between writing and recording to sewing and making costumes or editing a video, it’s refreshing for me to use more than one part of my brain,” McGrath says.
Caitlin acknowledges that the road she’s been on has been paved with key lessons that any independent artist can benefit from. She references a common roadblock that artists come up against as they build their careers: learning to do it yourself.
“I was looking for someone or something outside of myself to fill in all the areas where I was lacking. But many times it ended up circling back to me and I had to figure things out on my own. I ended up stumbling over talents I didn’t know I had until I tried. We live at a time where everything is at your disposal and you can learn almost anything online. You can always find someone to help you as you go, but the knowledge you gain by trying is priceless.”
One of those things? Digital distribution. As she began using TuneCore to get her songs out to the world, McGrath has come to appreciate the trust in knowing that the platform is always there and ready for her.
“Honestly, I don’t even think about distribution during my creative process,” she admits. “In my long to-do list of creating music and the work and stresses that come along with it, I don’t have to worry about distribution and that’s a relief. I’m just grateful to be a musician in a time when it’s so easy to distribute.”