- By Erin Christie -
Roy Blair’s long-awaited debut record, Cat Heaven, has finally been released and, fittingly, it is nothing if not heaven-sent. An autobiography at heart, Blair is incredibly upfront about the inner-workings of his mind, heart, and soul. He also details the trials of heartbreak, the struggles that may come with reaching for your dreams, dealing with criticism, and facing whatever comes your way without faltering in your stride (even though that may be difficult at times). The record’s first single, “Thunder” - masterfully produced by Brockhampton’s Joba and Bearface - already established the young artist as someone to be reckoned with within the industry, but little did audiences know that even further greatness was to come.
Blair’s voice is incredibly unique in nature, but in the best way possible. Soft and sweet at times, he is able to seamlessly transition, too, into epic highs and drastic lows- as exhibited in “Switchblade,” a power-house of a track aggressively detailing the heartbreak and anger surrounding a breakup - depending on what he hopes to convey. His true talent speaks to the heart and allows him to make each song a work of art standing alone, creating an entirely beautiful gallery together.
“California,” the album’s opening track is immediately alluring,
describing the lifestyle of a budding hopeful (Blair) who has dreams that many see as juvenile or impossible to achieve. We are often faced with backlash or criticism when we relay what we hope to achieve within the future, whether that be to succeed in our chosen profession or otherwise, and through this track, efforts to fight against that are made. Aiming to prove those people wrong, Blair unapologetically expresses his defiance against those trying to put him down: “don’t tell me to grow up,” he blatantly states.
Immediately following that, “Alex” is a track riddled with stereotypical “teen angst,” coming to terms with the trials of love and loss. This track would be an absolute power-house live, audiences jumping along to the slick, quick-paced drum beat and empowering lyrics seeking love, validation, and rising against adversity to find true happiness. “No one in the world is gonna stop me,” Roy rants, urging people to abandon the parts of their lives (and the people) that are nothing but toxic. Generally, he urges listeners to find what makes them happy in this world and stick with it no matter what people say, a message that one must truly take to heart if they hope to survive the difficulties that come with battling life in totality.
My personal favorite comes in the understated “Happy,”
a song that is softly spoken, further exhibiting Blair’s versatility and emotional connection to his craft. Expressing the connection that one can have with another based on each other’s differences - no matter what they may be - creates a track describing budding love to a T. We find comfort in unity, in having a shared sense of comfort in the presence of another, and in being able to find love with someone else who we relate to. Blair expresses that perfectly.
In an interview with the publication Pigeons and Planes, Blair noted in regards to the record, “[it] is about when you have to let go of what made your teenage years so special and start to look towards something new in adulthood,” and this is palpably clear. Dealing with the difficult transition period that is adolescence, Blair’s emotional vulnerability creates a huge line of relatability among him and the audience at home. He uses headphones and speaker-systems becoming a line of communication and comfort unlike any other. In having such a strong personal connection to what he covers, it is clear that this record is as heartfelt as they come, and that is something unparalleled, especially coming from someone as young as Blair.
Effortlessly describing the ups and downs that come with coming to terms with one’s own identity
and growing up holistically, Cat Heaven is a perfect example of youth in the simplest sense. This record is one that I, personally, can see myself listening to throughout the next coming years and strongly relating to the intensely raw emotional outpouring that Blair executes, as I’m sure many others may also be able to. Cat Heaven is only the beginning for Roy Blair and it is clear that through the deep emotional connection that he has been able to establish with fans everywhere, as well as based on his talent alone, that he is sure to have a momentous career ahead of him.