- 12 Jul 20
The Dublin indie artist brought humour, passion and charisma to her performance supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
If you send CMAT a picture of you in pyjamas, she’ll make Hot Press give you a fiver. Or so she said during her live stream supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, which — as she repeatedly reminded herself — is not the Department of Agriculture.
This sort of playful riffing was constant on CMAT’s sometimes confusing, always hilarious performance on the Hot Press Lockdown Sessions’ Y&E Series. The Dublin-based indie artist, whose real name is Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, called her stream a pyjama party. And with CMAT curled on her bed, joking, burping and playing her guitar, the Instagram live did feel much like hanging out with an old friend.
But every time CMAT opened her mouth to sing, she created a different atmosphere entirely. CMAT’s voice is clear but edgy, full of little jazzy imperfections and pockets of emotion. It’s also powerful: At one point, she leaned close to the camera, whispering that when she was rehearsing, she sung so loudly that she overheard her neighbors wondering when she would stop.
The self-described ‘bimbo troubadour’ put this vocal talent to good use on Friday, playing a mix of old songs and unreleased tracks. First up was ‘Another Day (KFC)’, which she jokingly introduced as a ‘global smash hit.’ Although the track only has (a respectable) 43 thousand plays on Spotify, the description isn’t so implausible: its twangy country sound and wry lyrics about getting dumped in a fast food restaurant would find warm welcome in Nashville and New York alike.
CMAT then performed several new tracks, including ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’, which she correctly called a "banger." During the track’s energetic chorus, CMAT warped her voice into a sharp, growling falsetto, evoking Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She ended the stream with ‘Communion’ and ‘Rodney’, two songs she belted out over prerecorded instrumentals and a drum machine. Without her guitar, CMAT was free to move as she sang, spitting into the camera, slumping against her wall and stroking a blanket.
All this humour, charisma and passion is clearly on its way to larger stages. For now, you can rewatch CMAT’s performance on the Hot Press Lockdown Sessions’ Y&E Series on our Instagram below.
Upcoming on the Hot Press Lockdown Sessions' Y&E Series:
Monday, 13 July: JACK O’ROURKE
First coming to prominence with 'Silence', which became an anthem for the Irish marriage equality referendum, Jack O’Rourke went on to release his debut album Dreamcatcher to widespread acclaim – peaking at No.5 in the Irish album charts. The Cork musician has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in Irish music – and he is currently working on his next album, following the release of his critically acclaimed Ivory Towers last year.
Tuesday, 14 July: JESS YOUNG
Singer-songwriter Jess Young uses Celtic elements to expand the eclectic pop sound of the day while staying true to her Irish roots. She is an incredibly exciting emerging artist with a truly singular sound.
Wednesday, 15 July: CIARAN LAVERY
Ciaran Lavery's sophomore record Let Bad In saw him rack up millions of Spotify streams. His language is that of heartbreaking melodies, gentle acoustic guitar and deep, cavernous sonics; he has a sound to get lost in. His latest album Plz stay, bb is a must hear album of 2020.
Thursday, 16 July: JACK RUA
Glam-based pop artist Jack Rua has just released his debut mini-album ‘Narcissus’. Inspired by some of the most ambitious and creative artists of the last fifty years, Jack Rua spent his formative years studying the work of icons such as David Bowie, Madonna, Lady Gaga & Prince; analysing their every move and how they used their art forms to innovate and rebel. He has fast become one of the most compelling young glam pop artists in the country.
Friday, 17 July: JANET DEVLIN
Many will remember Janet Devlin from her storied days as an X-Factor contestant, but that was just the beginning. Devlin's latest concept album Confessional came with a matching book, and saw the singer use her phenomenal voice and Celtic sensibilities to grapple with her demons. Inadvertently finding a new meaning in 2020, the final album single ‘Big Wide World’ brings a positive message of re-embracing the outside world.
Saturday, 18 July: JESSY ROSE
Formerly a member of Hare Squead, Jessy Rose took a break from the group back in 2017 – now, he's back and better than ever. The 23 year-old Dubliner blends R&B and elements of soul to create a tender and touching sound, while his latest solo offering 'Bloom’ was described as a "moving, radio-ready ballad” by Hot Press.
Each live showcase of The Y&E Series – supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – will be broadcast live, to Ireland and the world, at 19:30 from the Hot Press Instagram (@hotpressmagazine).