It’s not very often I get asked to write about recent music so it was a pleasant change to receive this. The lady in question is Cat Burns and when I put a picture of her in the online quiz during the last league, less than 50% of the participants knew who she was and thus got the question wrong. So far, she’s only had the one hit but it made a big impact both musically and statistically. It peaked at number two in the UK chart, spent 42 weeks on the listing and has a very personal story which resonated with a lot of people. Why? Read on to find out.
Cat was born in Streatham, south London in 2000 and her career and debut single were not instant. She attended the BRIT school which is famous for producing artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Jessie J among others but because her career was slow to get going she doubted whether she’d made the right career move. Initially her sexuality may have had a part to play in her own mind because she told Gay Times, “I felt defeated for a long time. There was a lack of money and no following,” which made her debate whether she was, in her own words, “meant to do music” at all.
Regarding her sexuality, she is a queer woman who is loud and proud about her support for the LGBTQ+ community. When she initially released the song Go in July 2020 little happened as it was the height of the Covid pandemic, but she did tell her TikTok followers that she likes girls and boys and identifies as bisexual. The following year she revealed that she was in a relationship with Jodie and they are still together. She then started posting various songs which included a mix of originals and cover versions and before long notched up hundreds of thousands of followers which, in turn, led to her begin signed by RCA records. Although she’d been releasing songs since 2016 she said of Go, “It was first song I’ve ever had that got to a million streams and I saw it the song that people will get to know me, but not on this scale.”
The song is all about a relationship break up but not her own. She told Apple Music, “I wrote the song after hearing of a friend of mine’s relationship troubles. It was my guitarist and he told me the whole story and I thought, ‘How would I react?’ And then the song just wrote itself.” She actually co-wrote it with the singer-songwriter George Morgan and revealed to Amanda McArthur, “To me, it’s about always knowing my worth and knowing that if that ever happened to me I would leave the situation immediately. For others, I hope they can find solace within the song and know that they are not alone, and hopefully it gives them the strength to leave their toxic situation and move on.”
The original version of the song was very sparse, it had virtually no drums but with producer JonahPH it had various different versions laid down. Cat said, “We had about 74 million versions of this song,” she explained, “It went from having loads of production and an intense beat to us completely stripping it back. Then it was acoustic, but the tempo wasn’t right.” The version we know was mixed by Aaron Ahmad and there is also a duet version with Sam Smith and a Drill re-mix version by Loski and Russ Millions.
What probably resonated the most was the lines, ‘You said you fucked up on a night out, you drank way too much, you’re feeling bad now’ and, ‘pack up your shit (or ‘stuff’ in the radio edit) and go’, as Cat said, “I think it’s the bluntness of it. As a whole, the song isn’t a mean song, it just states the facts. The storytelling is in the verses, you’re hearing how it’s going, or seeing how the story unfolds in your head watching the video, and then the chorus kind of just says, ‘Cool, well, you’ve told me, or I’ve found out, that you’ve cheated on me so this is the end of this relationship, cool. Go.” Where I’m from in south London, that’s just how everybody is. We’re very blunt, straight talkers. People like how there could have been a prettier way of saying ‘pack up your shit and go’, but instead it’s just pack up your shit’. It’s just as simple as that,” she told Jett Tattersall.