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Musiq Scene: Kat Cunning

Kat Cunning

(Photo by Rebecca Lader)

Named “one to watch” by BBC tastemaker Annie Mac, Kat Cunning is a non-binary musician, actor, and dancer who most recently starred in Netflix’s Trinkets. Their music blends pop, soul and anthemic arrangements with poetic lyrics, prompting The New York Times to say that Cunning has an “exquisite, indie-siren quality.” In advance of their November 20 release of the PVRS remix for “Supernova (tiger’s blud)” which debuted on Trinkets, we spoke with Cunning about their musical inspirations, their goals, and the importance of dancing for the queer community.

 

How long have you been creating your art?

That’s a hard question. I’ve been a dancer since I was three years old and that always influences everything that I do. So I guess I’ve been creating art since that age. But music is fairly new to me, relatively speaking. I’ve been singing for probably five or six years at this point.

Where are you from? How does that influence your art?

I’m originally from Oregon and it influences my music a lot. I write a lot from memories of my childhood or feeling of space and nature. Even though I’ve lived in New York for the last thirteen years, I feel like having the opportunity to grow up hanging out in cul de sacs under the stars and underwater towers is definitely a part of me and something that I pull from a lot when I write.

What projects are you currently working on? Do you have any upcoming releases?

I’m so excited for this remix of “Supernova (tiger’s blud)” to come out. [Compared to the original], it’s definitely a lot darker and harder. It feels a little more like a midnight ride on a motorcycle. It’s a vibe. It makes me want to dance. Other than that, I’m working on an EP that is coming out early next year.

What is your inspiration? And why?

I tend to write about all of my experiences in love and heartbreak. Joy and pain. And acceptance. I think that being a queer person is something that is inherent in my songs. I’m very inspired to write about places that are safe for us. I also write a lot about figuring out how to express yourself and encourage other people around you to feel that they’re beautiful.

Why is music important to the queer community?

I really resonate with the part of the queer community that goes out dancing. I think that dance floors are a sacred space for queer people. I feel like that is a crucial part of the survival of the queer community and it’s how we are beacons for each other. I just think the dance floor is sort of like church, and you need the music to dance.

What do you hope to achieve as an artist?

I think that [playing] the Superbowl is one of [my goals]. When I first started saying it, it was almost a joke. But now I’m so serious. I want this music to reach everyone…[even] that small-town kid [like me] . Also performing is really important to me as an artist. So I think of the Superbowl as an opportunity to do something wild. I definitely want to descend from the ceiling while performing.

Who are your top 3 major influences?

Justin Timberlake, Fiona Apple, and Lana Del Ray.

How can we all support your work and talent?

You can support my work and my talent by following all of those things on the Internet (Facebook, Instagram, Spotify) because we live in an Internet world. You can listen to those songs. You can make dance videos to those songs. And come see a show when the world comes back. That’s my favorite part of this craft. So buy tickets when we can again and watch all my TV shows.

 

 

 

 

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Becca Damante
Becca Damante
Becca is a Smith college graduate with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies and an Archives concentration. She has worked and written for non-profits organizations such as Media Matters for America, The Century Foundation, and GLAAD, and loves to write about the intersections between pop culture, politics, and social justice. You can find her at @beccadamante on Twitter.