CMAT today announces her debut album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, set for release via AWAL Recordings on February 25th 2022. She has also shared an instantly glorious new single, ‘No More Virgos’.
On the pulsing ‘No More Virgos’ the Dublin cowgirl again showcases her songwriting prowess and lyrical ingenuity – marrying, as she puts it, “my love of 80’s Italo disco with my hatred of Virgos.”
Few artists manage to blend bountiful hooks with such humour and wit; the 12 songs that make up this idiosyncratic, captivating and rather extraordinary debut album reveal an artist brimming with confidence and verve. It has been quite a year for Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, one of the year’s breakout stars, earning critical recognition as well as a legion of new fans. CMAT has also announced a run of new live dates, including a full UK tour and a US debut run.
Of ‘No More Virgos’, CMAT says; “I’m the kind of girl who dates the same person over and over again. Specifically, every single one of my partners have been Virgos. I wanted to write a song that pokes fun at this aspect of my personality, and try to be a voice for all of my long-suffering friends. Musically, I really wanted to try and marry my love of 80’s Italo disco with my hatred of Virgos. I just can’t help myself from making terrible decisions sometimes! Sorry!”
You’d be forgiven for finding it confusing that Ciara’s disparate tastes — an encyclopaedic knowledge of modern pop, a passion for British post-punk outfits like Orange Juice and Television, a desire and strong belief that Robbie Williams is her real dad — can come together and somehow all make sense in CMAT’s music, but it all makes sense to Ciara, and it makes even more sense when you hear her debut album. Which is probably why Ciara’s a popstar and the rest of us aren’t. “All the former versions of myself have Play-Doh-balled themselves into one big lump,” is her way of describing her sound. The golden thread in all this is Ciara’s voice, which sits her somewhere between Kate Bush and, most importantly, country turns like Dolly Parton. “I learned how to sing through country music: it’s the number one influence on how I sing,” she explains. “So while I’m not a country musician, I do think I’m a country singer. It’s glam. It’s tacky. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. It’s vibrant. Lyrically those artists like to have fun.”
The invention of CMAT came about after Ciara strong-armed her way into a private songwriting masterclass hosted by Charli XCX, who played unreleased music to assembled hopefuls. Ciara was the only attendee to offer a critique of the demos; afterwards Charli sought her out, heard her story and advised Ciara to “blow my entire life up”. She knocked Manchester on the head and went back to Dublin. 2019 was spent on YouTube, where she set herself the challenge of writing a song a week for six months, posting new songs each Friday from the only venue she could afford to book: a yoga studio. By 2020 her DIY ethic was bearing fruit with a run of self-released singles such as ‘Another Day (KFC)’, ‘Rodney’, ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’ and ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’, scoring coverage from Wonderland, Clash, Sunday Times, The Guardian, Dork, DIY, The Line Of Best Fit, The Fader and more, plus radio support from BBC Radio 1 & BBC 6Music.
At the heart of all this, beneath what CMAT describes as “the singing and the being witty and all the ‘whatever’ that comes with the smoke and mirrors of being a musician”, is a belief in the power of songwriting. “Other stuff needs work,” she declares. “I can’t do production, I can barely play guitar, and I should probably do more to look after my voice. But I’m really, really good at writing songs.”
Apr 2nd 2022: Deaf Institute, Manchester