Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

Recently we got the chance to talk with Catherine Britt. If you don’t know her, you are missing out. This spitfire moved from Australia to the US at age 17 to chase her musical dream – alone. Did I mention that she had never been here before? Fast forward to 2010, when she won the CMA Global Artist of the Year award. Read on to learn more about this amazing woman from the land down under.

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

Catherine Britt: I’m in the US for about 3 1/2 weeks total.

EPR: And then you will be back in Australia doing a tour later this summer?

Catherine Britt: Yeah, I’ll be back on the road over there. We pretty much tour all year round in Australia. Then come over and do something in the States as well.

EPR: You moved to Nashville at like 17, right?

Catherine Britt: Yeah, I was 17 when I first come over, around 2002. I was here about 6 years, then I realized that I wanted to go home and sort of figure out what to do next. Then I moved back to Australia and played over there and come back and forth.

EPR: Had you ever visited the US before you decided to move here?

Catherine Britt: No, I just left school and we weren’t really a family to travel much overseas. We did a couple little sets but mainly in Australia. No, it was a big move and about as far away from my family and everything I do as I could get. It was pretty extreme to move over here.

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

EPR: So what did your family think when you approached them with the idea of basically moving halfway around the world to someplace you had never been?

Catherine Britt: Well the first time that I came over, I asked my dad to come with me because I was too young, actually, to sign a contract. He had to come and sign on my behalf, as like a parent/guardian, I guess, on the contract. In the end, he kind of got a vibe for it. I didn’t really know it at the time but he said that he was really sad. And I knew that he sort of lost control over everything. You know, his baby was growing up and going off to do what I was meant to do. So there was not much that he felt like he could do about it. Now that I am a mom, I can’t imagine what that would have been like for him. At the time, I was just in my own world and really focused on what I wanted to do. I didn’t really even think about it when I was 17.

EPR: We are really brave when we are teenagers.

Catherine Britt: I don’t know if I was brave or stupid. I just sort of went, “Sure, let’s go.” I suffered the consequences of that. I was incredibly homesick and I really struggled a couple years with some pretty serious mental illness, with depression and stuff. I didn’t really think it through, I guess. But when you’re offered an opportunity, you’ve got to take it and see where it leads you. And it led me to where I am today, where I am meant to be.

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

EPR: You are an extremely busy person. You work in radio, too, but you also contributed a lot of time to a magazine, as well, as editor and owner, right?

Catherine Britt: Yeah, we recently sold it, it was a music magazine, Rhythms. It was like a blues and roots, cultish magazine that’s been around forever. We took it into it’s 25th year. I had it for a couple years and then moved it on to the next person. It was an experience, that I won’t do again [laughs]. It was pretty full on. It was a little family business, really. Me and my husband did the day to day stuff and my mom and dad did everything else. And then my brother ran the website. It was pretty full on. I’m glad I did it but I’m kind of glad to be down the track from it as well. It was all consuming, a 24/7 job.

EPR: Since you don’t know if you will do that again, do you know if you will be involved with the magazine anymore at all? Or are you just cutting ties completely?

Catherine Britt: I haven’t been so far. When I walked away, I made a clean break, but I can always come back to it. I love writing, especially about music. It’s really easy for me, to write, from a place that is very passionate for me. I always found that really easy to do but I needed a break from it for a little bit. But maybe, I’m not ruling it out.

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

EPR: You won the 2010 CMA Global Artist Of The Year. That is huge! What was that like?

Catherine Britt: Yes! I didn’t really expect it, to be honest. It was pretty weird. I’d just sort of moved back to Australia and was still finding my grounding back there and figuring out what to do next. Yeah, they told me that I had won that award and it was being announced at CMAFest. It was a great honor, obviously, after the 6 years of experiencing being over here and everything that I had done. It was really nice from your peers in the industry. It was definitely a really nice feeling.

EPR: You talked about your fight with depression at times. Also, you have been sick, but you kept on working. Do you think that helped in your healing process?

Catherine Britt: Yeah, I think that was my coping mechanism. I was in the middle of a tour, actually, when I was diagnosed. I just released a new album and I found a lump a week later. So, I was going to doctor’s appointments in between touring and literally went and got a biopsy and then went back on tour and was basically called back in when I got home. When I got back I found out that I had breast cancer.

After I got over the shock of it all, I decided I was going to power through and not let it slow me down and change my life. I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want to become the person who became her illness. I struggled through going to work and was actually going through chemo and that was really hard. I was really, really tired and it changed everything, obviously. It changes your appearance and my hair fell out and, being a performer, that was interesting, so I struggled a lot with things like not having eyelashes and having to go onstage to perform and trying to glue fake eyelashes on to my eyelids and stuff like that. So it was terrible but, for my mental health, I think that’s what I needed to do.

Catherine Britt On Moving To The US & Her Battle With Cancer

EPR: I am so glad that you are doing well today. You have a new album out. Would you like to tell us a little about that?

Catherine Britt: So this record is “Catherine Britt and the Cold, Cold Hearts.” It’s my band, back in Australia. It’s just a bunch of songs I wrote, basically, since the last record, and all that happened in the last 3 years. It influenced a helluva lot of very, from the heart, songwriting, I guess you could say. So, it’s a lot of life changing stuff, getting married, having my little boy, beating the cancer, as well. It kind of came out in all the songs. It’s a positive album I’m really proud to put it out into the world and I’m really stoked to have new songs out there.

See Catherine Britt TONIGHT at Muddy Creek Cafe and Music Hall in Winston-Salem and check out the rest of her tour schedule here.

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