Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed singer songwriter Cutt about her life, her career, what inspires her music, and her creative process.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
This question always makes me feel like I’m on a dating app, but here are the footnotes: I am a rock singer and songwriter from LA. I was a competitive horseback rider growing up. I am 5 years sober!
My first music video, “Messy,” just came out, and my first EP, Nightmares, is slated for the new year.
When did you first WANT to write songs?
The process of wanting to write songs and writing songs was pretty simultaneous for me, but I do remember listening to Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” and thinking how cool it would be to write a song like that one day.
When did you take a step to start writing songs?
I do remember the first time I felt like I could be really good at this. It was when I wrote “Fallen Fool,” outside of a songwriter’s house in Silver Lake. I felt so excited I called my mom and sang her the chorus!
What was your first song released, and what was it about?
My first song released was “Messy.” It was also the first song I ever worked on. I spent about a year in the studio before I worked on it with my producer, Scott Storch. “Messy” is a song about primal sex, and wanting a man to initiate it because you can’t get out of your own head.
What was your latest song released, and what was it about?
My latest song was “Fallen Fool.”
Focusing on your latest song. What were your biggest challenges with Fallen Fool?
Luckily, there were not many challenges with this song, though one challenge was deciding how to introduce the song to the audience. My mom kept saying it was about falling for the wrong guy, and I was confused–my reaction was, “Why would you think that?!” It was because we added the final line, “and I’m falling for you…” into the final version of the song, but it wasn’t always there.
Adding that line to the chorus made it better, but I still don’t think of that as what it’s really about. The song is really about calling a guy out on his bullshit, while you on the other hand are being a bit naughty. I am calling a guy out–but I did not fall for him.
How many songs are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on my next album, which will have 11 or 13 songs. I’m always working on a lot of songs at once–I have writing sessions where I write a bunch of songs in a row, fully in it, and then we go back and produce them and work on them one at a time.
Do you keep to a theme with your music, or just go where the mood strikes?
I just follow where the mood strikes. My first album is dark pop, but definitely pop. It’s more innocent, lighter, about a different time in my life. It came out like that naturally.
But each album moving forward has a general theme. Not because that’s the way I planned it, but certain songs thematically go together. The next album is a lot more rock and roll than the first album, and much darker, because it’s about a darker period in my life.
What is your favourite song you’ve recorded, and what do you love about it?
I love “Messy.” I love the tracks, how it is produced, the song itself. It is aggressive and sexy and I love that. It is just my favorite. Also it is at 54bpm and 54 is my lucky number.
Do you find other people’s music inspires you? Who do you listen to most?
I don’t feel like other albums inspire me to write. I come from such an organic place lyrically. But production-wise, I want to go darker on this next album. More Nirvana. More guitar based instead of piano.
I also want to follow my love for some stuff in the classic rock world, Tom Petty, the Eagles etc…
Do you write your own music, or do you have musicians you work with?
I have a couple other writers I have worked with. Mostly it’s just me and Scott. I am working with some new writers on some new material that I am stoked about! Lyrically and melodically it is me–I bring in lyrics and a melody, Scott will work on harmonies, we go back and forth, and together we’ll create the full sound of a song.
Do you play any instruments?
I don’t play an instrument, but I often use my voice that way in the studio! I’ll sing parts that I want in the song, and Scott overlays effects to make it sound more instrumental. I used that method with the post choruses in all my songs on my first album. You can hear it in both “Messy” and “Kind of a Bitch.”
Do you like performing live, or does it scare you? Where can people watch you?
I am definitely not scared. I don’t love it …yet. Movement and dance aren’t my strong suit. I’ll get into why at a later point. But I am getting better and liking it more and more every rehearsal. There are some clips of my performances on my Instagram page @cuttmusic_.
Is your music available online, and where can people listen to it?
Are you able to make music full time, or do you have a day job?
Right now I am putting all my energy into my music.
Are your friends and family supportive of your music career?
I am very lucky to have very supportive parents!
What’s something you never expected about being a songwriter? What have you learned that surprised you?
It surprised me how good I have gotten at songwriting! Never thought I’d be writing the kind of poetry I am now. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I used to be in awe of other writers, and now I get to be in awe of myself.
Have you had any experiences that really stand out because of your songs?
I have gotten to work with really talented musicians–songwriters, my band, and in particular with Scott, who has won Grammys for his work. He’s been a great collaborator, and he knows just what to add to a song to build up what’s already there into something great.
We actually met because I DM’d him my demos, and he wanted to work with me. I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities that way, just by reaching out–if I want to work with someone or play at a venue, I make it happen! And I can do that because I’m a songwriter, because I am so passionate about this work.
Do you have any important events coming up we should know about?
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write songs?
I would say to just start writing about your experiences and don’t judge what you are writing. I have written so many songs that start with lyrics like, “sitting on my couch” or “staring up at the sky”! If songwriting is for you then eventually you will say something original enough that sticks. Each time you write you will get faster and more concise.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am very proud but I would say that if you do the steps and don’t rush the process, it all becomes seamless.
Pop all your music, website and social media links here so the readers can find you.
Music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaH8ZTgwXGg
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