For Cat Burns, Comfort Is Key

Hypebeast caught up with the London-based singer to discuss her new JD Sports and New Balance campaign, performing to Mancunian crowds and more.

Footwear 
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From delicately delivering her heartfelt acoustic covers and original songs on social media livestreams to becoming one of UK music’s most authentic chart-toppers, 23-year-old Cat Burns’ career over the last two years has proved that success comes from being yourself.

The singer-songwriter became one of the first British TikTokers to be signed to a major record label, just seven months after installing the app. Since then, Burns joined Ed Sheeran – who she cites as one of her first musical inspirations – on the North American leg of his tour. She’s also enlisted Sam Smith for a remix of her hit record “go,” joined him on tour across Europe, and sold out a headline gig at Camden’s KOKO, certifying herself as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging artists that is expected to take her sound to all corners of the world.

Burns’ love for footwear has also been there for all to see, as she has just unveiled a brand-new campaign with JD Sports and New Balance for NB’s all-new 9060 iteration. Being involved in the release of the new JD exclusive New Balance sneaker is a full circle moment for Burns, who admits that shopping for New Balance sneakers in her local JD store was a regular occurrence during her childhood.

“I’ve always worn New Balance and JD is a big part of my childhood – just like my love for trainers,” Burns tells, Hypebeast. “So, working on this campaign came around naturally, the relationship has been very natural and real, which is something I’m so grateful for because it’s a brand that I’ve worn since my early teens.”

Hypebeast caught up with Cat Burns in Manchester before her performance at the official JD Sports and New Balance 9060 launch event to discuss her new collaboration, her upcoming record, “alone,” and what inspires her creativity.

How did this new campaign with JD Sports and New Balance happen and have you enjoyed bringing it to life?

I’ve always worn New Balance and JD is a big part of my childhood and my love for trainers. So, working on this campaign came around naturally. The relationship with New Balance has been very natural and real, which is something that I’m so grateful for because it’s a brand that I’ve worn since my early teens, which has been amazing really.

Where does this new 9060 silhouette rank, in your opinion, throughout your entire life of wearing New Balance sneakers?

It’s probably my favorite, to be honest – and I’m not just saying that! I have lots of the colors and they’re really comfortable, which is my go-to feature when it comes to wearing trainers. If the material isn’t nice and they’re not comfortable to wear, then I just won’t wear it. But these new 9060s are sick and I genuinely wear them all the time. So, it’s been great to champion that as I really love this shoe.

So will this sneaker be one you’ll wear on stage for the foreseeable?

Yeah, probably! Because they’re genuinely just really comfy.

“The relationship with New Balance has been very natural and real, which is something that I’m so grateful for because it’s a brand that I’ve worn since my early teens.”

Your music has so much depth, soul and maturity throughout. Who were you listening to when growing up to find these inspirations? 

My mum was always playing music around the house and I couldn’t tell you the names of the artists who she was playing – it was just random songs from the 80s and 90s that she would just play all of the time. Then, when I got a bit older, I was listening to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tori Kelly and a lot of gospel artists that my mum would play. They helped and shaped me into the kind of artist that I wanted to be and helped me find the way I wanted to sing.

You recently dropped an acoustic version of your record “know that you’re not alone.” What was the thinking behind this?

I think it’s always nice to have different versions of songs to show people the different vibes. There’s always been a bit of a saying in music that “you know if a song is truly good if you can strip it back,” and I wanted to be able to do that with this record to be able to play around with the way I sing it. It makes it a bit funner as acoustic versions are a bit slower and relaxed, you have more freedom to go wherever you want to go and it puts the song in a different realm and allows it to live in different places.

We’re currently in Manchester, a city steeped in musical history. When you come here to perform, do you take in the heritage that the city is so well known for?

I love coming to Manchester – I say that to everyone. It’s one of, if not my favorite city in the UK. I think it’s just vibes, people are nice. I did a headline show here around two years ago and the people were really lovely and receptive and there with me. It’s been the same every time I’ve come back – it’s just such a cool city and really inspiring.

How does your style change from day to day? 

It’s a mix of the weather, my mood, and if I’m feeling experimental that day. If I think I’m going to try something, then I will. So today, I thought about a hoodie and tie vibe, so I tried it. But, there might be other days where I just want to wear a tracksuit because I just don’t want to think. But then, if it’s raining, then everything adjusts. My basis for my style is just comfort – if everything is comfortable, nothing is itchy, then I’m fine, because I feel confident.

Your upcoming single “alone” is soon to be released! How long have you been sat on this record and what inspired it?

I think I wrote it around a year ago now. I have a friend, who didn’t know if they were going to meet anybody. She felt like we were all getting older and everyone around them was in a long-term relationship or was getting into one and she was yet to get into one – and she was scared that she was never going to meet anybody. I just thought that was such an interesting song concept to make about a lot of people who are yet to be where they want to be in their relationship journey. I also thought it would be cool to turn the song into an overly dramatic song because you can find love in so many different areas. Romantic love might not be for you, but it also might be for you. You’ll also meet someone when you’re meant to meet someone. I guess I just liked the idea of making a really dramatic, big, anthemic song for the people who feel like they’re going to be alone forever.

How are you feeling ahead of your performance tonight? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?

I think with any gig that I do, I go into autopilot mode. A bit of advice that I have taken from other artists is just picking one person from the crowd – if there’s one person in the crowd that is with you, just sing to them. So, if I ever have a crowd that isn’t really listening, I like those kind of gigs because it means I can just vibe with the band and sing songs. But, when everybody’s eyes are on me, I find it really intense. So, I’m excited, I like performing to different crowds and seeing how I adjust because I’m still very much in the building stage of my career. Everything is learning.

Shop the latest New Balance 9060 collection at JD Sports.

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