Anthony’s Airwaves – Transmissions From Kat Cunning

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I have an amazing interview for you guys today! If you don’t know who they are, you probably will know them pretty soon, with all the content they’re putting out. I’ve got actor, singer/songwriter and performer Kat Cunning! You may know them as Sabine on the Netflix show Trinkets. Join us as we talk about what makes Kat Cunning, well, Kat Cunning. I think you’ll love reading this interview with one of the most inspiring people I’ve interviewed so far who’s not afraid to be who they are and speak their mind, so let’s get right to it!

Anthony:
Kat, thank you so much for taking the time to do this with us today. So let’s get right down to it! It sure has been a crazy year so far; how has it been for you? You seem to have kept busy releasing music and acting.

Kat:
Hi! I’m hailing from Miami, where I am performing for my first live audience in a year, reflecting on all that has changed and all I am grateful for. On paper, it’s been an incredible year. I got signed to Lava at Republic Records, released two successful singles, moved to the west coast, starred in a horror movie and played opposite JLO in my first rom-com. Life off of paper has been a lot of discomfort, heartbreak and growing pains, but it’s also begat some really visceral positive growth, peace and strengthened friendships. I am lucky not to have gotten too destructive with myself in the upheaval. I was kind of on a hamster wheel the way things were before, so the halt of society gave me a chance to get clarity on the kind of work I wanted to create and be more intentional with my energy. I wish all artists could be supported by that kind of time and space. 

Anthony:
Can you tell us a little bit about your background. How it all got started so to speak? What inspired you to take up both acting and singing?

Kat:
The short answer is survival. My first love was dance and I pursued her all the way through college. When I would try to sing and act, my peers and family would tell me to keep my day job. But, when I grew a curvy/athletic body and found that I wasn’t quite celebrated for that in the dance world, I started to offer other skills (like singing, that I hadn’t ever honed) just to get in the door as a dancer. Once I booked my first singing role, it was over. I knew it was so much more impactful for me personally to use my voice. Even when I was super pitchy and still really learning on the job “how” to sing, my responsibility to tell a story and connect to the audience was really clear to me and made me lock in on stage. I apply that concept to acting too. As long as I am in service of a story and being as honest as I can, that is more important in art than being perfect or fitting in. Allowing yourself to be documented for your humanity is what being a performer means to me.

Anthony:
To my understanding, you even performed in a Cirque du Soleil. What was your time like working with them?

Kat:
It was hard, not gonna lie! Cirque is an incredible world/company and it was an honor to be a part of that. Broadway is a whole other dream, that came true at the same time. But if I’m being honest, 7 days and 8 shows really steals you away into the show you’re doing and puts your life on hold. As an artist, it’s important to me to live a diversity of experiences, so I can write and create and that year made that super clear for me. While I was so inspired by the circus performers, understudying the lead, and incredibly grateful for the access to the world’s best physical therapists, I realized that to love the act of performing was not enough for me. I need to love the story, I need the chance for the art to breathe and change, and most of all, I craved the opportunity to write my own stories. It was pretty special that they let me co-write my song in the show, and I would definitely go back to Broadway for the right work, but I am glad to be diversifying my experiences and honing my own voice for now. 

Kat Cunning, interview with the star of Netflix's series Trinkets — French  Fries Magazine — FF

Andrew:
Kind of working off that last question, your role as Sabine in the Netflix show Trinkets not only seems to be a role, but an extension of who you are as a person, performer and singer. Is this a fair assumption?

Kat:
Yes absolutely! The writer, Kiwi Smith (10 Things I Hate About You) is a long time champion of original music in her work. I’m lucky she saw something in me and pursued it. She took a lot of inspiration from my actual life and personality that was fun to see pop up in the script, but Sabine was definitely a little less mature than I am.  She doesn’t take great care of Elodie. While I’m about as wild a Sabine and you can’t hide the parallels between us as artists (it’s my music), I’d like to think I’ve had a little more experience wielding my powers with kindness. 

Anthony:
As an actor and singer, who are some of your greatest influences and favorite artists?

Kat:
Going with early influences, because there are too many great people in the world right now including people I’ve had the chance to work with to choose from: 

Music: 
Justin Timberlake, Elliot Smith, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Florence and the Machine and Fiona Apple. I think of Whitney Houston’s ease every time I sing live. 

Acting: 
Cate Blanchette, Katherine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Hillary Swank.

Anthony:
You no doubt have a lot of talent and are an amazing singer! With that said, you’ve just released your first song of 2021, “Confident.” Also, you’re getting ready to release your debut EP fairly soon. How excited are you for the release? Can you tell us a little bit about your time recording and filming the video for “Confident?

Kat:
Thank you! Always learning about my voice- just started taking lessons for the first time, so I appreciate you saying that! I’m so excited to release the EP. I’ve been holding onto some of these songs for a couple of years and I wrote some of them in the last three months. It definitely runs the gamut of my personality: the hero and the villain. I am obsessed with “Confident.” It’s the first song like it in my project and it feels the most true to me. I started singing as a dancer and before that, I did spoken word. This song is a simply a story, and one that makes me feel sexy. I loved the chance to really move in the video and connect to the dance community. The dystopian scorpioiciness of the song, and the sexually empowered way I move in the video are both important parts of me. You can expect more music like this from me in the future. 

Kat Cunning “Confident” video | New Kat Cunning music | Alternative Press

Anthony:
Touching on “Confident” again, you seem to make music that a lot of people can relate to and “Confident” sure is one that I can relate to personally. So, what was the process of writing like, that you were able to write it so quickly? What was going through your head?

Kat:
I was questioning the stability of my relationships. I have a million acquaintances and only a small handful of people very close to me. I try my best to show up fully for them. This song questions whether the quality of that support is reciprocal. I went through a break up in the pandemic, and this song definitely channels the feeling of losing someone’s loyalty. 

Andrew:
Between streaming services popping up all over the place, and COVID shutting down live shows, how do you feel about the current state of the music industry? What would you like to see change?

Kat:
I would like to see live performance become important again. Our relationship to making music successful is very TikTok “sound bite” based right now. I think that definitely has a place, but I don’t want our culture to miss out on the next Whitney Houston because she isn’t bite sized enough. I hope we can keep an appetite for special raw performers.

Anthony:
Here’s a quick and easy one. Are you into collecting any music such as records, tapes or CDs? Are there any albums that mean the most to you, if so, why?

Kat:
Mariah Carey’s Butterfly– used to lip sync that one as a kid. Justified by JT was my dance warm up for like 10 years. Missy Elliot’s Cook Book was a private dance party. John Legend Get Lifted is my reference for showing all sides of your personality on a record ’cause he’s the good guy in “Ordinary People,” and the whole second half of the album is about cheating. 

tmrw | Features | KAT CUNNING IS 'CONFIDENT'

Anthony:
You’re a huge advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and you do some work with The Ally Coalition. Are you able to tell us more about your ongoing work with them? More so, how did you become involved with them? What are some of your future plans with TAC?

Kat:
So excited to continue working with TAC!

In lieu of the pandemic, we’re creating a virtual space for messages of support, with a spotlight on the trans and queer community, along with opportunities to fundraise for a few causes benefitting them. The efforts are wrapped up to the soundtrack of my song “BOYS,” an anthem for trans masculine angels, and I’ll be auctioning off experiences with me and artifacts from my project to benefit the cause. 

Andrew:
Do you have any other passions? Of so, how do they influence your music, if at all?

Kat:
Poetry, which is pretty pervasive in my music. I have a hard time keeping my lyrics traditionally Pop, because I’m so passionate about the breadth of the English language. It’s a fun challenge to be clear instead of indulging in all my favorite frivolous adjectives. 

Andrew:
When COVID finally calms down, do you plan on getting back in front of a live audience? What do you see in your post COVID future?

Kat:
I’m excited to keep it simple and just tour. I want to open for a great artist and get back at meeting people in that traditional space. My survivalist renaissance nature has already brought me in front of a live audience here at the Faena Theater, in Miami. I am hosting and featuring a bunch of my own music alongside incredible aerialists, circus performers and burlesque acts, while also hosting the night and taking the audience on a journey of eroticism, humor and romance. It’s a fun mixture of all the things I do, in a gorgeous luxurious space, curated by Alan Faena and Baz Luhrman (one of my idols). Still, I can’t wait to get on a traditional tour again, because I’ve done so little of them in my life. 

Embracing the Q in LGBTQ - Katrina "Kat" Cunning - OUT FRONT

Anthony:
Do you have any advice for any young artists out there, who may want to break into acting or music?

Kat:
Be specific about who you are. Avoid being generally likable. Make your choices strong and wrong. It’s the only way to learn. 

Anthony:
Kat, again- thank you so much for doing this with us. Is there anything else you would like to add, that we may not have touched on or didn’t get to mention?

Kat:
Make sure to stream stream stream the music in your sleep, and make your family members and pets subscribe to the Spotify. Look for me in a couple upcoming film projects, including the JLO movie Marry Me. Follow the insta and slide into my DMZ. Support live art and queer spaces. Give yourself a sloppy kiss for me ’cause you’re amazing. 

Trinkets' Kat Cunning's Personal Journey of Coming Out as Nonbinary

Interested in learning more about the artistry of Kat Cunning? Check out the link below:

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/a-m-radio-archives/

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