Caity Baser Catches Her Big Break

Much unlike the mundane UK weather on the morning we rekindle in her management’s office just off Carnaby Street, everybody’s new favourite pop crush, Caity Baser, gleams with light.

Releasing her EP Thanks For Nothing, See You Never just days before, and selling out an entire tour across the UK,, could anybody really blame the 20-year-old for sparking some joy into these dreary London streets? Backtrack to precisely one year ago, Baser was prepping her first headline gig at Islington’s The Grace – a trendy mirror-balled shindig holding a maximum 150 people. A huge feat at the time, albeit so miniscule compared to the 15,000 tickets she’s sold today.

“I don’t know how that’s fucking happened!” she laughs, baffled at people from different cities knowing her name. “It sounds ridiculous, but like, I’ve never been to Bristol. I’ve never been to Newcastle, and now you all know who I am and you’ve paid to come see me? Like what?!”

Before scoring a record deal with EMI late last year, Baser could (and still can) be seen waltzing the streets lip-syncing to her own songs, asking strangers about their worst dates and going to the greatest lengths to have her music heard, even if that meant sprawling across the floor of a bus. All of which she shares directly via her TikTok account for our own entertainment, of course.

As she uploaded a clip of her original track, ‘Average Student’ on a whim one night in 2021, expecting nothing more than a few likes from her mates, Baser slowly gained an audience from overnight virality. But it wasn’t until her song ‘Friendly Sex’, where the Lily Allen and Kate Nash comparisons sparked in her songwriting, that things started to get serious. Finding herself in a newfound position, it was surprisingly the most comfortable she’d ever felt.

I ask her to take me back to that moment, to whether she felt the need to ‘live up’ to any sort of hype. “Yes and no,” she starts. “Because I believe in my work, I’ve believed in it since the day I wrote it.” Her kiss-off follow-up hit ‘X&Y’ snowballed her momentum, and it’s since been high flying with two sold out stints at London’s XOYO, the release of her first collaboration with Sigala, Stefflon Don and Eurovision’s UK entry Mae Muller plus her first Top 40 single with ‘Pretty Boys’.

“I had the same feeling making ‘Pretty Boys’ that I had when I made ‘X&Y’ and ‘Friendly Sex’, if not an even bigger feeling. We made them all in about 20 minutes, each song, and it was just vibes and I was with the best people. And that’s how the best songs come about.”

Baser’s biggest ‘WTF is my life?’ moment however comes from the news of being announced to perform at Reading & Leeds for a second time this summer. “I just remember thinking no one’s going to turn up to come and see me, why would they?” she reflects on her debut appearance at the festival last year. “At a gig it’s different because they’ve paid to come and see you, but then I opened the curtains to go on stage and there were 1000s of people screaming at me.”

In the midst of Baser’s reflection we’re interrupted by someone inspecting a dodgy light fixture in the meeting room we’re sat, so naturally we start obsessing over the merch she’s flexing; a cuddly cloud-like hoodie with flower arrangements and EP title Thanks For Nothing, See You Never embroidered on the arm. “It’s brand new and it’s all sold out!” she gushes. “It’s very slay and very comfortable.”

Electrician gone: we’re back to business i.e. discussing Baser’s current reigning pop-smacker ‘Pretty Boys’. “Basically, I went on a date with this boy because he was fit, I think we’ve all done that before,” she giggles, side-eyeing the room. “And I just sat there 10 minutes into it thinking, ‘oh my god, you’re so boring,’ he just wasn’t giving me anything back and I was like, what the fuck are you doing?” ‘Did he at least pay?’ I ask. “Yeah, so there’s a plus for that…”

Linking with producers WhyJay and LiTek (Aitch, Central Cee) the following week, ‘Pretty Boys’ was born; another score for Baser and at the time of speaking had been named Radio 1’s Tune of the Week.

I ask what the dumbest thing a boy has ever said to her. Without hesitation, and with the ickiest look on her face, she recites: “He said to me, ‘do you want to go to rehab? You know, that Amy Winehouse song, where in the world is that? Shall we go? To see where she wrote it?’”

Whilst her patience runs thin with the men in her life, Baser fortunately lucked out with her fanbase, or as she likes to call them, her best mates. So much so, she had each of their backs by capping ticket prices for her tour to £15. “Music brings people together and it shouldn’t leave you in a space where you’re like, ‘how am I gonna afford to do this now because I’m here?’ You just want to go to a gig and completely forget about everything and have a good time,” she explains. “Growing up I didn’t have much and I couldn’t afford to go to gigs or many festivals, and when I could I was so gassed. I remember that feeling of being so happy. I want everyone to feel welcome on this tour, and they can come with whoever they want as many times as they want.”

Expect to see Baser being her usual outlandish self at these shows, bringing a sense of female rage to the stage and ultimately connecting with the best mates that’ve made all this possible.

With new music always on the horizon, “in the last three days I made seven songs,” Baser delves into her songwriting approach and the goings on when inside the booth. “With my lyrics, I’m like fuck it every single time. You’re gonna like it or you’re not and either way you’re still gonna listen to it.” Her brutally honest lyricism is what draws most eyes to Baser’s music; she’s never felt the need to tone it down, because that’s what keeps her real.

“The boy behind ‘Friendly Sex’ called me and said, ‘Is this about me?’ Yeah, of course it is, listen to lyrics. We literally went out the other day, and you brought that girl with you… And then I made another one about him that didn’t get released, it was just one on TikTok that did quite well and he was said, ‘Can you just stop making songs about me?’ and I was like, can you stop pissing me off then? What do you expect, just to sit quiet? No. Feel my wrath!”

This radiant confidence hasn’t always been present for Baser, which sounds quite hard to believe from our chat. “I had massive stage fright growing up,” she reveals how confidence was somewhat forced out of her during her school years. “I was part of this dance academy called the Diva Academy, my mum would drop me off and I loved it. I was confident there and I learned how to dance but then I got to secondary school and everything just went.” She expands on how “everyone says ‘it’s the best years of your life,’ I hope not!” and how it wasn’t until she snagged the lead in her end of year concert that her confidence began blooming again.

“I went to my drama teacher’s office and started crying because I was so nervous, and then he gave me a 20 minute pep talk. I then performed the song in front of this big theatre, and I could just see him at the back going ‘SING! SING!’. I fucking smashed it and after that I was fine. Well, not fine, but I was way better.” Baser explores these feelings further in ‘Feel More Okay’, a roaring anthem that touches on the intricacies of her own mental health.

As we catch up to speed on Baser’s journey thus far, she whips out her Spotify for Artists app to show me how her new release with Sigala–that came out that morning–is doing. “Right this second 2000 people are singing ‘When it feels this gooood!’” She belts, ensuring the room knows that she can hold a note. “Some people don’t think I can actually sing because I talk a lot and I’m having fun in my songs. But I love to belt and I did musical theatre for most of my life. I can do it, so it was cool to just explore a different side of my voice with this song.”

Triumphantly belting her way through 2023 so far, we round-up our gossip session by talking about manifestations, something Baser is the undisputed queen of. A week before her now manager found her, she wrote down an entire life plan of what she wanted to happen. Everything came true. “Last week I had a manifest meeting with my manager. We wrote all of our goals down, signed it, folded it up and put it in a drawer. We won’t look at it again until we feel like it’s the right time.” 

Promising to keep me updated on the grand unveiling of this list, her colourful and elated Gen Z pop anthems are already leading Caity Baser into victory, expecting not long from now that each dream of hers will be ticked off.

Caity Baser is on tour now – tickets here.

Follow Caity Baser On Instagram

Words: Jordan White