We break down the language barrier with Catlea

Fresh off the release of ‘Lying’ we delve into all the basics of lyrics, structure, melodies with Catlea

Cincinnati singer-songwriter Catlea is gearing up to release her new album, ‘Language Barrier,’ featuring the powerful single ‘Lying,’ an anthem about reclaiming power after heartbreak.

In an exclusive interview with Happy Mag, Catlea opens up about the inspiration behind ‘Lying,’ her creative process, and what fans can expect from the upcoming album.

Catlea single 'Lying'

Known for her evocative lyrics and dynamic sound, Catlea discusses her journey from a music-loving child to a dedicated artist. With the help of producer Jason Boshoff, she’s crafted an album that explores a range of emotions and musical styles, promising listeners a deeply personal and diverse experience.

Catlea single 'Lying'

Happy: What are you up to today?

Catlea: I try to stay busy most days, but today has actually been pretty calm compared to usual! I’ve spent most of the day working on music and spending time with my family.

Happy: Tell us a little about where you live, what do you love about it?

Catlea: I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was born and raised. It’s a beautiful city with lots of different types of art and music.

There’s something for everyone here, which I admit has definitely influenced my musical tastes and the way I write quite a bit.

Happy: How did your musical journey begin? What inspired you to pursue a career in music?

Catlea: I fell in love with music when I was very young. I’ve basically always known I wanted to be a musician. From the time I was two years old I wanted to learn how to sing and play all kinds of instruments.

I realized somewhere along the way how fantastic music was as an avenue to express myself in a way that I struggled to do with words alone.

It helps me feel more connected to the world around me. I truly don’t find anything else quite as fulfilling. 

Happy: Can you walk us through the new single ‘Lying’. What was the creative process behind it?

Catlea: The day I wrote ‘Lying,’ I sat down on my bedroom floor after a less-than-pleasant conversation with my partner at the time and wrote out all the things I had wanted to say.

I was tired of being accused of things I hadn’t done, so I made a song about wishing I was doing those things if I was going to be accused anyway, especially since my friends were treating me with the respect and kindness that my partner was lacking. 

I vividly remember right after I finished the song, I played it for my best friend and said “I can never release this.” I hadn’t even considered the possibility of leaving someone who wasn’t treating me well. But eventually I did, and so here we are! 

Happy: Collaborating with Jason Boshoff, who’s worked with big names, must have been amazing. How did this come about?

Catlea: Jason and I found each other online about 3 years ago. I was looking for a producer to work with long-term, and he checked every box.

He and his team at their studio, The Room To, are hugely responsible for helping me make ‘Lying’ and the entire rest of the album what it is.

He’s truly an amazing and extremely talented person who knows how to push a song to its limit until we have something to be truly proud of.

Happy: The lyrics in ‘Lying’ are sharp and vivid. Can you walk us through your songwriting process in general?

Catlea: Generally speaking, I tend to write songs based on my own life experiences, which means I get inspiration at seemingly random times.

Usually if I sit down with my only goal in mind being “write a song,” nothing much comes out of it. But if I have something I want or need to express, it all comes pretty naturally.

Typically I’ll get the basic idea out, whether that’s a single chorus, a couple of verses or – if I’m lucky – the entire song, and then I come back later to finish and refine the lyrics, structure, melodies etc.

After that, I share it with my team, and they help me get the song to its best possible version.

Happy: ‘Lying’ is the second single from your upcoming album ‘Language Barrier’. What can fans expect from the overall sound of the album?

Catlea: The sound ranges from circus-horror indie rock (you’ll know it when you hear it) to singer-songwriter to more classic indie pop, and ends on an atmospheric, experimental track that summarizes the message of the album in its entirety.

The album itself is a variety of different sounds and styles, but it all comes together as a cohesive story. It’s a concept album based around my own journey navigating through the overwhelming typhoon of emotions that come with realizing you’re surrounded by people who don’t have your best interest at heart.

From start to finish we move through all of my anger, self-doubt and self-awareness, as well as my bittersweet optimism towards the future.

Happy: What do you hope listeners take away from your music, particularly from your latest releases?

Catlea: If nothing else, I hope anyone who listens to my music feels less alone. For a very long time, all I wanted more than anything was to be truly understood.

Now that I’ve started sharing these songs with others and seen the impact it’s had, I’ve realized how much of what I spent years terrified to say out loud were things that many people resonate with.

With ‘Lying’ especially, I hope anyone who relates to the lyrics finds the strength within themselves to leave behind the situations that aren’t fair to them.

Even if it’s difficult, and it almost always is, finding people who love, trust, and respect you for who you truly are is one of the most important things you could ever do.

Happy: With ‘Language Barrier’ on the horizon, are you thinking about hitting the road for some live shows?

Catlea: Absolutely! I’ve already started performing around where I live and I have dozens of shows lined up in the next few months. Eventually I hope to perform all over the world!

Happy: Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your time as musicians that has had a significant impact on you?

Catlea: Many of my experiences as a musician have been life-changing, but it’s hard not to go back to the time I spent last Spring in Barcelona, perfecting my live show and recording my album with Jason and the rest of the team at The Room To.

I went into that trip thinking I would essentially be working nonstop for two weeks and expected to be completely exhausted by the end of it.

Instead, I found myself excited to come into the studio every day, to the point where I still went in on my one day off just to spend more time with everyone.

Something shifted in me during those two weeks, and I came back from it more motivated than ever to create and improve as an artist.

I won’t spoil anything (yet), but I will say I plan on going back to Barcelona early next year, and I truly can’t wait.

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Catlea: I try to find joy in as many places as I can, but I find the most happiness from my work. It enables me to do all sorts of things that are fulfilling to me.

Making music is of course one of the biggest parts of that, but I also get to create all different kinds of art, travel, spend time and connect with the people I love, learn new things, and so much more.