An Interview with Cat Doorman
Julianna Bright recently began performing for children under the name Cat Doorman and will be making her debut appearance at Tricycle Music Fest West this year. Her first children’s album, Cat Doorman Songbook, has received a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor award.
Bright is a musician and singer/songwriter originally from Orange County and now living in Portland, Oregon, with her fiancé and fellow bandmate Seth Lorinczi and their daughter. In addition to having performed in different bands and written songs, Bright has also drawn artwork and is even creating a picture book.
I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Bright about why she made the leap to children’s music and the connections between libraries and music, among other things. Her responses below have been edited for clarity or grammar.
How did you hear about and get involved with Tricycle Music Fest West?
I lived in San Francisco for 12 years and actually worked briefly at the Noe Valley Branch Library! I still have lots of friends in San Francisco and when I released a children's album [Cat Doorman Songbook], all of them pointed me towards Tricycle Fest.
A couple of your blog posts from this year mention that you are new to performing for children. What motivated you to start doing so?
I was working on the music and artwork for the app I made with Night & Day Studios [called Little Red Wagon], and then this album just insisted on itself. Some of the songs were tunes I'd been singing to my daughter since she was little. But it was such a lovely experience. I'd never made a solo album before [and] had always been very collaborative in the writing process. Maybe as someone who still thinks of myself as a recovering “shy person,” I could give myself permission to do [a solo album] because it was for children. It was amazingly liberating, actually. And performing for kids has totally blown me away. I love it.
Artist or band names are usually memorable or intriguing in some way. Is there a story behind your name, “Cat Doorman”?
We [Bright, Lorinczi, and their daughter] tend to have various itinerant artists staying in our house at any given time. For a couple of years, we lived with the artist Melody Owen and her cat, Lola. Towards the end of their stay with us, Lola mewed to be let out and mewed to be let in all the time. It was right as this project was taking shape and needed a name. “Cat Doorman” was born.
You're described as a "book-lover" and "music-lover" on your website and even created a musical storybook app. What do you see as the connections between books and music or libraries and music?
I just love connecting the dots between music and art. I'm actually working on a picture book now! I love fashioning little worlds, and as a child, especially loved listening to music and holding a gatefold album in my hands, or a songbook. And I love libraries, love sitting with my daughter and reading, and love the discoveries we come home with.
- Saturday, October 12th at 11 am, Excelsior Branch Library (San Francisco)
- Saturday, October 12th at 2 pm, Woodside Library (San Mateo County)
- Sunday, October 13th at 3 pm, Marina Branch Library (San Francisco)
In the meantime, you can check out a performance of “Turn Around” from Cat Doorman Songbook (recorded in Bright’s living room!) in this video by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Watch the music video for the Cat Doorman song “Inspiration.”
Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for the San Mateo County Library.