Catherine O’Brien is a multi-instrumental artist, singer and composer based in Sydney, Australia. From her childhood in the countryside of North East Victoria, Catherine was drawn to music, singing at three years old and studying classical piano from age seven. She went on to teach herself guitar, and took on a number of vocal coaches to hone her skill. From there, she performed at a vast array of restaurants, bars and venues across Australia, including Manning Bar, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, and residencies at Lindeman Island Resort and Pacific International in Cairns, Hotel Windsor, the Hotel Le Lagon in Vanuatu, and was given a residency at the prestigious Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. The legendary lyricist Jon Hendricks had a spare apartment in New York that Catherine stayed in for a month, and recorded with Howard Alden, Will Galison, Bill Easley and Kat Raio. Brenda Humble, award winning artist has done a portrait of Catherine.
Brenda Humble award winning artist portrait - re social justice of downtrodden
Her songs have appeared on rotation on radio stations across the country, and she has been featured in interviews with ABC Radio National, Triple J, 3LO Melbourne and Gold Coast FM, among many others.
Following a car accident that left her with difficulties playing the piano, as well as the decimation of the Australian arts scene following a recession in the early ‘90s, Catherine turned to street performing, becoming an iconic figure in the streets of Kings Cross with her approachable demeanour, sharp guitar playing and lyrics filled with local colour. Her busking eventually afforded her the chance to travel to LA in 1996, where she was able to gain permission to record her lyrics written for the Bob Haggart 1938 jazz classic “I’m Free” and "My Inspiration" (co-composed by Hilton Lamare) and Australian jazz legends Bernie McGann's music. Beyond that, her connection with Kings Cross has brought her to play at the iconic Wayside Chapel, and her music used for socialisation locally at Sacred Heart Hospice, Gorman House Drug
& Alcohol Unit, also then at a remote Indigenous community.
Her music often reflects her love of nature and her support of the downtrodden, which can be heard reflected in her album releases “LA or Busk” and “Kiss the Earth”. Currently, Catherine is still doing everything she can to create and play music in her home in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where she is devising an opera based on the life and death of Darlinghurst activist Juanita Nielsen. She still finds time to return to the country where she was inspired to "Kiss the Earth Better".