- 10 Feb 21
Maverick talent CMAT on being one of the country’s most acclaimed young artists.
If you haven’t heard of “global teen pop sensation” CMAT yet, you’re in for a treat. Not content with belting out irresistibly catchy tracks like ‘Another Day (kfc)’ and ‘Rodney’, Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson can also add comedy skits and presenting – not to mention eating an impressive amount of food on her Instagram live challenges – to her repertoire.
CMAT’s latest single ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ has cemented her status as the nation’s premier off-kilter heroine. Determined to forge her own path, Ciara is one of the most fiercely hard working and ambitious artists around – so don’t be fooled by her seemingly carefree demeanour.
“My whole interpretation of being a pop star is that, artistically, you just get to do what you want,”says Ciara. “I don’t want to do anything that I’m supposed to do or that people expect me to do.”
The extent of CMAT’s success last year took her by surprise.
“I did not think that any of this was going to happen,” she reflects. “Obviously nobody knew that the pandemic was coming, but I always had plans to release my first single in March or April 2020. I don’t know if the spotlight would have focused on me during a normal year. I feel like everybody has tunnel vision about CMAT, because I’m a brand new act in a difficult year. People are honing in on me, but I’m being really careful about not doing anything purely for the sake of it. There’s all of this attention, but I do see quite a lot of longevity for myself outside of 2020.”
With a Whelan’s livestream Christmas special, collaboration with Kerry singer-songwriter Junior Brother, and appearances on The Den and Other Voices already under her belt, surely CMAT is inundated with queries about a debut album?
“I’m not saying anything!” she demurs. “I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot. The long answer is that I’m writing it currently, but that creative period takes a long time for me – it goes through a lot of shapes. As a rule for the CMAT project, nobody else is in on the songwriting process.”
Given her searing wit, it’s unsurprising that Ciara has garnered a large social media following. Once you’re inside of her world, you’ll discover that CMAT’s lyrics have astonishing vulnerability, despite the self-deprecating delivery.
“This ain’t my first rodeo - I’ve been around the block when it comes to the internet,” she notes. “It’s like a second language for me. The whole point of my art is that I’m trying to be as normal as possible, even though I’ve got a wig on and I talk in silly voices. By virtue of me being the only one writing the music, it is relatable, because the only way I know how to write is honestly. My mission statement was always about everyone feeling as safe, included and acknowledged as possible.
“Writing songs since the age of 11 has been my only way of figuring out the problems in my head. Most people have similar issues that go unchecked and manifest in weird ways. I don’t really go for this whole thing of thinking I’m a big legend, it’s boring! I decided to just be myself, and I hope that anyone who follows me accepts that. Everyone has the same wants and desires, and if you’re really honest as an artist with your pain, it will always connect.”
How does CMAT feel about being cited as one of Irish music’s rising stars?
“I’m not trying to be ungrateful, but I’m too busy to notice accolades, she replies. “It’s a bad game to get into as an artist if you’re constantly wondering who’s giving you press and who isn’t. I don’t really care – it’s lovely when it happens but I just have to move on to my actual music. Nothing matters other than that; your priority always has to be the craft.”
- CMAT's debut EP, Diet Baby, is out February 23.
View this post on Instagram