“Growing up all my girlfriends had posters of artists on their walls, but I never had any. There was never one special artist; I fell in love with songs,” Nashville-based songwriter Catt Gravitt confesses. A spiritually-attuned writer with a rare flair for lyrics that temper wisdom with vulnerability, she’s penned tracks for artists as diverse as Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers, Natalie Grant, Ronnie Milsap, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, JoDee Messina, Kelly Clarkson, Sons of Sylvia, and Craig Morgan, among others. Her Rascal Flatts’ track “Where You Are” sold 5 million and the album it appeared on, Feels Like Today, was nominated by the Academy of Country Music (ACM) for album of the year; and she co-wrote Natalie Grant’s No. 1 single “In Better Hands” which was nominated for Gospel Music Associations (GMA) Song of the Year and Pop Song Of The Year.
Catt’s initial path was as an artist and in the Spice Girls-era she got signed to A&M in an all-girl pop group and went to Nashville to be produced by the esteemed Garth Fundis (Sugarland, Trisha Yearwood, Don Williams). During this time a song Catt wrote with some buddies was on hold for Carrie Underwood when Natalie Grant heard the track and liked it. It was around the time of a serious Nashville fire that injured Catt’s godson. “For some reason Natalie and I got on talking about that, she said ‘My husband and I have been praying for you,’” Catt explains, “It struck a chord with me that someone would pray for me and it was like, ‘You can have the song, you’re supposed to have it. ‘” That was “In Better Hands.”
The Natalie Grant opportunity opened more doors for Catt. In addition to having a high profile single, artists reached out to Catt because they just found it comfortable working with a writer who understands the artist mindset and from that vantage point can be sensitive to the writer-to-artist dynamic. Around the time her label, A&M, went under Catt had a new career perspective. “I fed off the writing and got a publishing offer. Writing became truly what I wanted to do. I loved it,” Catt says, pausing with a laugh, “I mourned being an artist for 7 days in a bathrobe but after that didn’t look back.”
“When I’m writing with an artist, I want to hear their heart first. If they tell me their story, 9 out of 10 times I can pull something from there that resonates with them,” Catt says, explaining how she co-writes with artists. “It’s a spiritual thing for me, I stay tapped into God and a lot of the time I go in there with nothing but a prayer and trust the creative process to flow.” When she’s writing with other co-writers, Catt says, “It’s like three people in the room that respect and love each other. When one plays an idea, we just run with it. Trust is so important and 75% it’s a beautiful experience, probably only 10 times has it been horrible,” she says chuckling. “It has to be about the song and we just get of the way, the song is an entity in the room.”
“I want to have songs in all genres,” Catt says enthusiastically. And as her profile grows, she’s met the challenges of writing across the genres. Recent multi-genre highlights have been writing the Eden’s Edge’s single “Amen” for country; garnering a producer credit (in addition to a writing credit) for the rock band Sons of Sylvia, along with well-respected producer Jack Joseph Puig (John Mayer, U2, Stone Temple Pilots); and branching out with a pop vocal producer gig from Warner Brothers. Staying open to the whims of the business and true to that youthful love of great songs has been what’s sustained Catt for over 20 years in the music business. “You have to do this for the joy,” Catt says in conclusion.
To view the music video for Jana Kramer’s newest single “Love”, which was co-written by Catt, click HERE.