LA to record deal, via Norfolk

LORNA MARSH Countless would-be stars have packed up their bags to find fame and fortune among the bright lights of Los Angeles. But one singer-songwriter on the verge of international success is shunning the city of celebrities to launch her career in…Norwich. Listen to Catherine's songs at www.catherinefeeny.com

LORNA MARSH

Countless would-be stars have packed their bags and set out to find fame and fortune among the bright lights of Los Angeles.

But one singer-songwriter on the verge of international success is shunning the city of celebrities to launch her career - in Norwich.

Catherine Feeny is putting paid to the city's 'graveyard of ambition' tag by using it as a springboard to success - with local musicians recruited for her backing band to accompany her to the big-time.

But it was stars of a different kind that made Ms Feeney fall in love with Norfolk and its clear night skies after being lured to the county last year.

She has just landed a publishing deal with the label behind Dido and Moby, and her song Mr Blue is set to feature in a Gwyneth Paltrow film next year.

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The 27-year-old first came to the region after meeting Norfolk-based producer Sebastian Rogers at one of her gigs in her home city of LA.

He asked if she could sing on ex-Lighthouse Family frontman Tunde Baiyewu's debut album, which he was helping record at the Mill Studio in Winfarthing, near Diss.

She has just completed her album Hurricane Glass, which includes Mr Blue, at the studio, and has been splitting her time between LA and Norwich.

But Norfolk is not merely her second home - she is thinking of relocating to Norwich and is performing a showcase gig in the city for record company bosses who are due to travel from London to snap her up.

The singer, who describes her style as folk with pop influences, said it was partly the people she worked with in Norfolk that attracted her to the county, but also its unique countryside.

"It's like nothing else. The countryside here is something you just do not get in the States.

"We spent a lot of late nights at the Mill and just to be able to go out and look at the stars was inspirational," she said.

She said the next move was to relocate to England and her first choice would be to live in Norfolk.

"London is a great city, but here is more relaxed and you have the countryside," she said.

"In LA there are a lot of singer-songwriters so it is easy to get lost in the shuffle."

Ms Feeny said she was confident of a major record contract with her Warner/Chappell song publishing deal paving the way and relieving the financial pressure to sign with the first record company that came along.

She said two major labels had already expressed an interest after scouts saw her at Jurnet's Bar in Norwich's Wensum Lodge, and that the inclusion of Mr Blue in next year's Running With Scissors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, was another selling point.

The song was being played on a LA radio station when director Ryan Murphy heard it and chose it for the film.

Ms Feeny is influenced by Joni Mitchell and listens to Sinead O'Connor and Edie Brickell but also likes '80s alternative British music like the Cure and the Smiths.

Catherine Feeny plays Norwich Arts Centre on September 28. Tickets are £5 in advance.

Call 01603 660352 or visit www.norwich

artscentre.co.uk

cOMMENT - Page 20

Listen to Catherine's songs at www.catherinefeeny.com

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