I saw Caitlin Corless play live in a cramped little club and was astounded at how complete and self-contained her talent was. It was not the biggest, most wide-ranging and all-encompassing talent, but it was a talent fully served and fully realized. She knew what she wanted to express and had developed the necessary aesthetic and technical competency to express it. Heart, mind, fingers and voice all seamlessly serving a simple, clear vision.
After her set, I stopped by her table to pay my compliments and see if she had any CDs. I was nervous, intimidated by the audacity of both her youth and ability. At close hand she had that extraordinary shyness and self-possession — almost stuck-uppedness — that I have observed in other extremely talented singer/songwriters. This, of course, only increased my high regard, but between us there was not much psychic ground left for conversation. I stammered something like, “You’re really good at this…” And she replied, “I hope so; I’ve been doing it since I was 10.” (I don’t remember the exact, ridiculously young age she gave.)
Luckily for me, she was sitting with a more tipsy and talkative friend who introduced herself as Caitlin’s “publicist,” and explained that, No, Caitlin had no CDs out, no real recordings at all in fact besides her Garageband bedroom demos. I asked if there was website where I might hear some songs, at least? Caitlin’s publicist shook her head, Sadly, no website, but she was kind enough to scribble the address for Caitlin’s MySpace page on a napkin and send me on my way.
The part that really gets me is that here’s a person who’s been working on her songwriting with evident dedication and diligence for at least a decade, who obviously takes her art very seriously, and yet, for all her investment of time and energy, is almost un-Google-able and has never been inside a proper recording studio. In other words, it seems to me like she makes songs in order to live and get through her days but that she’d almost rather keep it to herself. (Not to overstate the case here — I’m guessing she wouldn’t mind a little more recognition, but clearly, that’s not the main reason why she’s been doing it.) The idea that people commit astonishing art in private that we may never know about is very endearing to me, while also a bit mind-boggling.
Yellow Dress (Caitlin Corless)