Hidden Beats

Highlight – Kat Cunning

Dancer, Musician, Actor, Activist, today we Highlight – Kat Cunning. They may not be a name you are familiar with yet, but you will be.

Kat Cunning (they/them) is a 31-year-old nonbinary performer and graduate of SUNY Purchase. While attending there they fell in love with all aspects of performance, namely ballet dance, in which they earned their BFA in Dance. Performing on Broadway in 2016, Kat later pivoted to screen performances in such shows as HBO’s “The Deuce” and Netflix’s “Trinkets”. The latter of the two featuring their singing and song writing abilities. When approached about the different worlds of acting and music Kat was forthcoming and honest as ever.

“I’m a storyteller always

So when I’m acting I’m like “The only way to get out of your head as an artist is to not worry about being good” and if I worry about being a good singer. I joke if I’m worried about being a beautiful actor. I’m a dead fish. That being said, like the literal process of acting is “I learned some lines, I say some lines. I play around, and then I go wear a costume and do that. It’s like writing music it’s way more introverted experience for me. Like it’s usually in one sacred room with one other person, and I’m just like, on the computer typing lyrics as fast as they come to me, so they’re kind of different parts of my brain, for sure.”

Kat is a well-versed musician

Recently signed to Lava Records and has released several queer anthems. Their latest “Could Be Good” is a dreamy pop infused hit for a post-pop genre defying generation of music. Drawing on influences from Justin Timberlake’s “Justified” period to the likes of Fiona Apple, the single is the herald of an upcoming EP.

“… going into a studio for my first writing session, which made me write very intimate songs, Mostly, I have a lot of ballads that aren’t out yet I have a lot of really emotional, poetic lyrics, and I myself, I think they’re really valuable but I cannot take them out because I myself started to look at my project and I was like, where’s the other half of my personality that wants to just see a rush on a dance floor and go crazy because that’s also what I love about pop music. I love how I love the bravado and the personality of super confidence that can only exist in pop music so I’m trying to push it out, you’re gonna get a little bit of both.”

The Music

Kat Cunning’s upcoming EP is a testament to creativity and to being unapologetically queer. I got the opportunity to video chat with Kat recently about the queer experience and their music. I was struck by not just the confidence, but vision they possess. A major supporter of the Ally Project, Kat is incredibly open about being visibly queer. When it comes to the inherent politicisation of queer bodies and their responsibility as an artist.

“Sexuality is not a negative thing. And yeah sexuality is the theme that I’m leaning into, because it feels like it’s the easiest thing to believe that at least I represent. But I really, really believe that our culture needs to work on a healthier relationship to sex which will lead us to a healthier relationship to consent which will lead us to a healthier culture. So, I just like to talk about shit that I care about that will make my life easier, and hopefully that bleeds into the world from my little platform.”

Public Figure

Kat continues the long legacy of artists as public figures. With the benefits though, comes the pitfalls of others perceiving them not as just for their talent. Kat recounts of dubious producers and artists hitting them up for late night recording sessions. “It is definitely not always easy to be, out as a nonbinary person in this world. My boundaries are super, super clear and I don’t entertain anybody who I feel is only interested in sexualizing me.” With social media becoming a way for fans to reach out whenever and wherever, as well as necessary tool for marketing Kat is aware of their impact on the world and the care and curation that goes into being a public figure. “I don’t ever think about being a role model. I just think about what I can live with at the end of the day when I speak for myself.”

Kat Cunning, is as impressive on stage, on screen, and in real life. They are unapologetic, true to form, and a general delight. While the journey to self actualization hasn’t always been easy. “I feel like, like even parents when they want you to be successful. They’re like, Don’t be weird, it will make your life harder.” Kat has persevered, and I cannot wait to see what they do next. In their own words “I’m gonna be me and it’s gonna work.”

Highlight – Kat Cunning is a wrap. Big thanks to Kat for taking the time to chat

Keep up with Kat here

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