Tomlinson’s Takeoff

An interview with an aspiring music artists’ journey through producing and recording

Tomlinson%E2%80%99s+Takeoff

Cate Tomlinson grew up in the Bay Area and always had an interest in singing and songwriting. Only recently has she had the opportunity to jump into this interest and begin releasing music on Spotify. 


Question: How long have you been producing songs?

Tomlinson:

I’ve been producing probably since I was 19, so only for two or three years and writing for way longer than that. 

Question: When did you start getting into writing songs?

Tomlinson:

Literally when I was in third grade. I forced my friend group to be in a band with me. I wrote songs for us. I was probably into songwriting also because I was a huge Taylor Swift fan from when I was a baby. It was always a very casual, creative outlet. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I was like, oh, I want to try to record some stuff. 

Question: When did you start releasing songs on spotify?

Tomlinson:

I never released anything until the summer before my sophomore year of college. 

Question: As a part of releasing things on Spotify, are you signed with any kind of record company or a producer?

Tomlinson:

No, all of my leases are independent; I like to register them myself. I use a distributor. I used to use CD Baby but now I use this distributor called Distro Kid. Those are both really good distributors for independent artists. But literally anybody can sign up with them and register their music for them and they deliver it to all streaming platforms.

Question: Is there any benefit to signing with a record company and what are the drawbacks? 

Tomlinson:

I would say, especially now, the music industry is definitely moving away from [big] labels. I personally wouldn’t sign with a record label until I was in a position where multiple different labels wanted me because at this point [in] the music industry, you’re better off being an independent artist and owning your own masters unless you have a really good deal from a label or you’re going viral and labels are bidding on you. 

Question: What goals do you have for your own music down the line? Are you going to release more songs?

Tomlinson:

Yeah, one of the reasons I’m in LA is because I’m working on a new project with some new producers. In the past, it’s always been that I produce my own stuff. Then I kind of begged family friends to mix it and master it. Now I’m working with these two really amazing producers, and it’s been really collaborative. It’s not like I’m making it in my bedroom anymore, which is nice. That’s my first big, professional sounding project. I literally just finished recording all the vocals for it this week so it’ll be out in the next couple months.

Question: Do you have any specific artists that you use as inspiration?

Tomlinson:

I’d say right now my biggest inspiration is Lana Del Rey. I used to say Taylor Swift, but Lana Del Rey is probably my biggest just because I like the sound that she has and the way she writes has really influenced my writing style, especially in the past year.

Question: I was wondering in terms of your own songs, how do you find inspiration?

Tomlinson:

Well, I just keep getting f—ed over it seems. So that’s a big source of inspiration for me. 90% of what I write is from things I’ve personally experienced. And then the other 10% is, sometimes I’ll take a poetic license and just use words that I think are cool. I always have in my notes app a running list of words I really like or phrases that I think are directly related to experiences I’ve had, but then you can put them together and make it make sense. 

Question: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from music?

Tomlinson:

I think the biggest thing I’ve taken away as being an independent artist is literally not giving a f— about what other people think. [That] is the most powerful trait you can have and to assert, going for what you want and ultimately, not caring if other people think it’s weird. In life, just outside of music, what music has taught me is going for what you want and grabbing life by the horns without caring about what other people think. Your life doesn’t start until you stop caring what other people think.

Featured image courtesy of Soundcloud