A DAMN GOOD PLACE TO START by CLAUDIA KATE
equality factor: self-aware and empowering reflection on life in the early twenties
label: No label - all self-written, recorded, and co-produced!
our favorite song: "Brainworks"
Based: London, United Kingdom
The debut album of up-and-coming indie-pop artist Claudia Kate, „A Damn Good Place To Start“ is finally out! The London-based singer-songwriter has a strong British feminist sound, reminiscent of early Lily Allen and Kate Nash. The whole album, appropriately named, alludes not only to the beginning of her music career, as her debut album, but to the beginning of her twenties - and realistically, her life. As such, the album showcases the realities of being an early twenty-something in this day and age, from struggling with anxiety, dealing with the pressures of the media on young women, body positivity, and feeling a sense of empowerment for accepting and loving parts of yourself that society doesn’t want you to.
Music to heal oneself to
Explaining the role music, and the album specifically, has on her as a creative outlet for her emotions, Claudia explains, „It was honestly the most therapeutic thing making art out of all these emotions I’d gone through over the past few years and I couldn’t wait to share them“. The opening track „Pity Party“ is an invitation to the rest of the album and foreshadows the emotions and themes that run throughout, with lyrics like „I’m having a pity party / Please take a seat / If you’re in your twenties / And you don’t know what to think.“ Songs like „Brainworks“ and „Daughter“ deal with the role mental health and anxiety has played in Claudia’s life. But she addresses this from a positive and self-accepting point of view, seeing it as part of herself and her journey, and wanting to improve and better herself.
One of the most empowering tracks on the album is definitely „Fat“. She describes the song as, „very much ‘fuck the media’ and a song about body acceptance and embracing who you are regardless of what society has molded for us.“ It is a half-sung/half spoken-word piece, which increases the emotional vulnerability of the song, as the most powerful lyrics of the song are unable to hide under a melody. "I would eat and then not eat / And then eat again and cry / And think that a boy would never love me because of the size of my thighs." She makes reference to Bridget Jones’s Diary and how the portrayal of Renée Zellweger as an overweight woman (when she never was) contributed to harmful body image issues for many women. It is one of the closest songs to her heart, the title of the album comes from the final line of the song, and she tells that, „There hasn’t been one person, male or female, that I’ve played it to who hasn’t had a strong reaction to it“.
Lyrics of empowerment
Another important theme within the album is female support and empowerment. She describes the importance of this, „I am endlessly inspired by my friends, particularly the amazing females in my life- in a society where we’re constantly pitted against one another, you can’t underestimate the power of female friendships.“ Songs like „Girls Girl“, which focuses on empowerment and prioritizing female friendships over romantic relationships, and „Boys“ which has 7 of Claudia’s closest friends singing backing vocals to the line, „I’m alone but I’m not lonely“. The song, and particularly these lyrics, emphasizes the betrayal of society’s wish that women value themselves based on being in a relationship.
„I’m alone but I’m not lonely“
Thank goodness somebody used the lockdown to their advantage to be creative and productive because now we are blessed with this beautiful album. It is an honest window into the past four years of Claudia Kate’s life and commentary on the way the media serves to make women be anything but loving towards themselves. As a young woman entering the music industry, Claudia is making sure to support and surround herself with as many other women as she can. This includes supporting other up-and-coming unsigned female artists, taking part in all-women live shows, and collaborating with more female producers and creatives. About this, she says, „It’ll be interesting to see what I come across as I move further into the industry- I know there’s still a long way to go and I hope to be part of the change.“