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Inbound: Chubby Cat

Chubby Cat by Aislinn McGinn (1)

The last year has been markedly transitional for Cat Doran aka Chubby Cat; a new name, new city, and new vibe to contextualise the alt-pop artist’s emergence as she builds on the hype that’s followed her 2021 debut ‘slipping’. 

The Cork-born artist made her Belfast debut at Output in 2022, showcasing to an impressively-sized crowd of listeners left reeling by her vocal riffs. A year on, having made the move up from Dublin at the start of this spring to work on new music, what’s to come is certainly Belfast’s gain.

The BIMM graduate’s artistic ethic and approach are both bold and measured. Since her debut in 2021, Cat has kept a solid and acclaimed presence without any rushed moves, honing her sound at her own pace. The result on tracks like ‘slipping’ is a soulful, RnB-infused vocal style with dark-edged, atmospheric electro-pop production. Later releases pack more of a percussive bite, with ‘baby, blue’ harnessing the production values of Kali Uchis, and ‘Not A Vibe’ placing Chubby Cat in the bracket of Irish contemporary pop excellence alongside peers Bobbi Arlo and AE Mak.

The upshot is an artist getting due space on Spotify’s New Music Friday and Alternative Ireland playlists, spins on Radio 1 & 6 Music, and countless tips as an artist to watch by Irish and UK press. Currently sitting on announcements – ones we can unironically preface with the old adage “big things coming” – while working her way round the Belfast gigging circuit off the back of recent singles ‘Big Dog Barking’ and ’21st Century Panic Attack’, Cat manoeuvres this upward trajectory with the rightful confidence of an artist who’s making it all happen herself. Addison Paterson

Photo by Aislinn McGinn