Cath Courtley – How Much

Kent (UK) based singer-songwriter Cath Courtley has just released her latest single, How Much, and we’ve been listening to it here in the studio at Send Me Your Ears today.

How Much is a gorgeously down tempo chillout track with an important theme. Courtley, a new mum, has found a whole new take on life and a whole new phase of creativity following the birth of her child. How Much tells the story of the inner child that lives within us.
From Courtley’s biography; “Someone once told me about a famous billionaire who owned the biggest yacht in the world. The one day someone built a slighter bigger one, and it bothered him so much that he couldn’t rest until he’d built another and could say he had the biggest yacht again.”
In a world of Billionaires who throw their toys out of the pram and behave like toddlers, Courtley has painted a superb lyrical picture; “always wanting more….there’s no cure for this disease”.
Courtley’s vocals are gentle but powerful. Expertly controlled high notes with some really intimate breathiness carry this song. I can imagine it being great “end of the party” kind of music as people are chilling out, or perhaps even gentle work out music. Courtley has some great vocal techniques here with the occasional use of creak, beautiful falsetto and masterful control in the low notes.

The style of this song put me in mind of Portishead. That superb relaxed vibe that Beth Gibbons gives out on her live version of Glorybox would sit perfectly on a compilation track with How Much.

The very occasional, almost gospel style backing vocals are a nice touch and make the listener feel euphoric and drawn into the song. I can almost hear Courtley smiling as she’s singing this. Perhaps its the gentle poke at the billionaire lifestyle that makes me feel she’s smiling. Perhaps its the beautiful control and air in the high notes.

From a production perspective, there’s a little too much information in the low end for most home speaker systems, which can result in a loss of headroom on the overall track. I’d suggest bringing a low end shelf in around 80Hz and then high passing around 35-40Hz. I’m really drawn to the qualities in Courtley’s voice so to highlight these just slightly further I’d suggest a top end boost with a dip around 10kHz to control sibilance. This will highlight the airy voice even more and give just a touch more presence.

How Much is a testament to the life changes and attitude adjustments that one undergoes becoming a parent. This is a beautiful chilled out song with some expertly written lyrics. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Cath Courtley.

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