Local artist returns on the back of single

Rising star . . . Timaru’s Caitlin is set to open for Jon Toogood when plays at the Landing Services building on June 7. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

To celebrate New Zealand Music Month, The Courier has caught up with some of New Zealand’s biggest musical maestros, as well as some of South Canterbury’s own homegrown talent. In this week’s edition reporter Connor Haley talks with up-and coming Timaru-born indie-pop artist Caitlin.

A homegrown rising star is set to return to the region next month as the opening act for one of New Zealand music’s most well-known names.

Caitlin Bradley, 23, who goes by her first name, grew up in Timaru but is plying her trade in Christchurch after obtaining a bachelor degree in jazz vocals from the Ara Institute of Canterbury Music Arts.

The young indie-pop artist, who has developed a substantial following the success of her recent single Light Leak, is set to open for Shihad frontman Jon Toogood when he visits Timaru on June 7.

Daughter of South Canterbury musicians Al and Sheryl Bradley, Caitlin said music was always a big part of her life growing up.

‘‘I used to go out and sit on the steps outside our house listening to them teach music in the studio.

‘‘That progressed into me sitting in on classes.

‘‘I really enjoyed learning the guitar and then slowly but surely learning all my favourite songs.’’

She said growing up in a place like Timaru was an important part of her formative music years.

‘‘I really got stuck into learning how to write while in Timaru and I always found it helpful trying to connect with people who came through, like Jaime McDell and Jed Parsons.

‘‘I would highly recommend to young people to try and do some workshops and just connect with people who are doing things you like.

‘‘Generally I’ve found people are open to having a chat about their song-writing process and are happy to give some tips and tricks.’’

Learning how to construct a song was something you just learned over time, she said.

‘‘You kind of start by following processes. You learn how a standard song generally looks and then you might start with the chords first or the lyrics.

‘‘Over time though you just naturally develop a way that works best for you.

‘‘It’s always something that is changing — my process is always changing.

‘‘At the moment I could write a song just by using some chords that fit the mood or vibe and then I’ll just blab some gibberish and build off that.

‘‘I’ve also been going into the studio with Emily C. Browning who has been a good mentor to me and we will just build up a song with chords but no melody or lyrics and then we’ll eventually build that over the soundscape we’ve created.’’

She said both songwriting and performing were important for her in different ways.

‘‘I think they definitely fill up different cups.

‘‘I find when I’m doing lots of performing it doesn’t necessarily fill my creative cup.

‘‘It’s really fun and good for building whanaungatanga [relationships[ and connecting with people through music.

‘‘The other side is hunkering down inside and trying to create things and pull them out of your brain.’’

On stage . . . Caitlin performs at a live gig in Christchurch.

More Caitlin music was not far away.

‘‘I’m working on a few new songs at the moment, hopefully leading up to a release later in winter.

‘‘I’m writing around a bunch of themes which I explored when I was in high school but now with added years of life experience I can frame them up in different ways and have a different understanding of them.

‘‘It’s songs about environmental conservation and attention in the digital age, just stuff like that.

‘‘It will be interesting to see how they get picked up.’’

Her latest single Light Leak has 193,000 streams on Spotify and she is sitting at almost 10,000 monthly listeners on the popular music app.

She said she was blown away with how her music was being received.

‘‘I’ve been really lucky with the success of Light Leak.

‘‘I think it goes to show that the songs that come from a place of truth or that I really connect with tend to appeal to people more.

‘‘I think for me going forward it’s going to be a focus to write about real things.

‘‘I feel pretty stoked.’’

It was exciting to have the opportunity to open for someone like Toogood, she said.

‘‘I love exploring the music of New Zealand music industry legends and Jon is definitely one of them so I feel quite privileged to open for him.’’

Creating meaningful music was he biggest goal as a musician.

‘‘I just really want to release music that resonates with me but also with other people.

‘‘I’d love to just play more and more gigs of original music and just have a following that is interested in my music and gets a lot of joy from it.

‘‘I think it would just be really special to have my music fill people’s day to day lives.’’

Tickets for the Jon Toogood solo show featuring Caitlin can be bought from the Undertheradar website.