Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, a.k.a CMAT witty, razor-sharp, and has the kind of warmth that makes you want to befriend her immediately. She embodies the soul of an artist, and lacks the pretense of a popstar– though she makes up for it with facetious showmanship. It’s easy to see why audiences connect so deeply to her music– like her, it’s impassioned and undeniably sincere. During our zoom, she’s curiously positioned between cutouts of Anna Nicole Smith and the Mona Lisa (memorabilia from her last tour), an appropriately vague metaphor for her diverse taste and artistic positionality. On the verge of the release of her sophomore album, CrazyMad, For Me, we spoke about humor, time-travel, and Meat Loaf– amongst other things.
AS IF: You’re often classified as the funny pop girl. How do you feel about that tag?
CMAT: I think this is a thing that people get wrong about me sometimes. I co-write music and there are a lot of people who come to me and they’ll be like Let’s do something funny about breaking up in a McDonalds! And I’m like, Sure, if there’s a reason for that! I write from a very personal place. The reason there’s humor in it is because I write in my colloquial voice, which– when you’re from a small village in Ireland– is called being a gas-cunt. I’m packaging up something really deep and dark and hard to access and making it accessible for normal people. I wrote a song called I Hate Who I Am When I’m Horny– people cheat on their partners and talk about that, but no one ever talks about I’m in love with this person, but I absolutely have no sexual attraction to them anymore, and I’m attracted to other people, and I hate myself for it! I want to talk about laser-focused uncomfortable shit like that; but, like, in a bop!
What’s it like to share those vulnerable parts of yourself with the world?
I like to underplay it and be like it’s super cathartic and it’s good for you and it’s been an emotional journey– but I went fucking nuts! It wasn’t the writing that was making me crazy. It was more Oh my god my friends and family– and worse– my ex-friends and ex-boyfriends are going to be able to see this shit and everyone’s going to know that I’m horny! But then I calmed down, made myself stand my pussy up, and be a brave bitch.