Catherine Duc is a Vietnamese-Australian composer and producer. She blends elements of ambient, classical, electronica and world music to create her distinct sound. She Her music has aired on Australian Broadcasting Coporation;s ABC Jazz. In 2005 she released her debut album, ‘Visions and Dreams,’ followed by playing keyboards on Priscilla Hernandez’s album, ‘Ancient Shadows.’ In 2015 she had received a Grammy nomination for ‘Best New Age Album.’ Her new singles and remixes show just why she received such recognition.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music?
It was when I first heard the song 'Sweet Lullaby' by Deep Forest on the radio with its combination of world and electronic music blended with ambient sounds. It reached the Top 10 charts in Australia and sounded so unique compared to anything else on the charts. I had studied classical piano up to this point, but it was then I decided to take classes in synthesizer and computer music. My first composition was 'Incan Melody' which was very much influenced by Deep Forest (pan flute with dreamy synths and a world beat) and I won my school's original song competition with this.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I received a Grammy nomination in my first year of becoming a member of the Recording Academy. Although I had this goal on my 'dream board', I never realized it would happen so soon :)
What has been the high point of your music path?
Attending the Grammy awards and seeing so many music superstars like Adele, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga in the same place at the same time - the most amazing concert ever!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I usually have ideas for melodies when I'm not thinking about composing like when I'm walking or travelling and sometimes I hear new music when I'm dreaming. If this happens, I try to notate the melody on paper to revisit later. I usually arrange as much of the song in my mind as I can so I have a good idea of the overall sound before I even start recording. I'll also listen to music in the same genre I'm writing in to get ideas on arrangement, instrumentation and production.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Fairer compensation for airplay royalties and I know a lot of other artists personally who'll agree with me on this. In the past, an artist could sell their CD for $30 or an MP3 for $1. Obviously it's not the 90s anymore but the payout for many streaming services is about 0.1c per song.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I have so many artists that I'd like to perform with so it's very difficult to choose just one! I'd like to share the stage with artists that have influenced my music especially during my early days of composing such as Deep Forest, The Corrs, Clannad and an orchestra conducted by Harry-Gregson Williams.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I've only performed my music live once as the style is hard to replicate live and I'm more comfortable in the studio. Although I had a live rehearsal with a guitarist, I rehearsed with the violin player over the phone for about half an hour and never even met her until the show! Her performance was perfect though because she's a seasoned performer and has done a lot of live shows in Australia and has toured overseas.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Probably 'The Seventh Chamber' (from the 'Voyager' album) because of the orchestral and cinematic elements. I had to think a lot about this composition and try out different arrangements in my mind before I recorded anything. Then it took a lot more time to recreate the actual sounds and textures I imagined the final version would sound like.
What's coming up in the future?
Discussions about remixes for some well known artists are in the pipeline. I'm taking a break from ambient and New Age music but there will be more EDM on the way :)
Tell us where fans can access your music.