Cathy Lawlor: 'To proactively take control of the things you can and let go of the things outside of your control'

Creative practitioner Cathy Lawlor tells all in our Q&A

Cathy Lawlor (James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Cathy Lawlor (James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Cathy Lawlor is a well-known qualified singing teacher, vocal coach and creative practitioner. She is passionate about bringing arts education to the fore, and the professionalisation of the arts and cultural sector. Her next performance will be in Miscast - An Atypical Cabaret produced by the all-female theatre collective The Shrinking Violets, of which she is a founding member. It is taking place at Palazzo Parisio between 10 November and 12 November.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I usually try to guess what time it is before checking on my phone how close I am!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To proactively take control of the things you can and let go of the things outside of your control.

What do you never leave the house without?

My house key. I have a fear of losing it and getting locked out.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Ambitious, trustworthy and loving.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I am very proud of having my own apartment. It’s getting harder and harder for people to achieve this in both Malta and Ireland without property being inherited/gifted.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

A cup of tea and some Maltesers in bed (nothing crumby as I hate crumbs in the bed – so no toast!)

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Time is limited and we don’t know what’s around the corner. Embrace every day and focus on the people in your life.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

It was probably airplane tickets to Asia or Africa.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I had known that decisions weren’t irrevocable. I always felt immense pressure to make the right decision every time in school – subject choices, career paths. There are many personal skills that – especially nowadays – are extremely important unless you choose a specific vocation such as creative thinking, strong communication, work ethic…

Who’s your inspiration?

I have people who have inspired me at different points in my life – all people in my daily life – friends, family members, colleagues, teachers.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I think my forever challenge is finding a work-life balance. I love working – teaching, vocal coaching, performing - and I love having time for myself, partner, friends and now having my daughter has shifted things hugely too. It’s challenging trying to give everything a 100% priority and still feel like you are succeeding. Often, it’s the day-to-day domestic things that end up sliding so I have to remind myself that I am prioritising and that things will happen.

If you weren’t a singing teacher, what would you be doing?      

Probably a chef if I had gotten into it younger… or an accountant.

Do you believe in God?

I believe in living life by a moral compass wherever that stems from – religion or family.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Probably my grandmother who passed away when I was 15.

What’s your worst habit?

I can get over-excited in a conversation and jump across people when they are talking – I would say interrupting without bad intent... but still interrupting!

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Mostly pretty fun and quite emotional, although it’s been quite a while!

Who would you have play you in a film?

Probably Kate Winslet. I feel that she shows both strength and vulnerability very well in the movies I’ve seen.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Dishonesty… I really can’t stand lying. Trust is an important thing to me.


What music would you have played at your funeral?

A choir version of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

What is your most treasured material possession?

Probably my car from a practicality point of view but I don’t really have treasured things. Access to photos probably – prints from when I was younger and now the Cloud.

What is your earliest memory?

I have a memory to walking into the hospital to meet my baby sister – but just the walking into the hospital part. I was two… I then have a vague memory of my Mickey Mouse hat from Disneyworld when I was about 3.

When did you last cry, and why?

Oh, I cry regularly. I think it was a day or two ago out of frustration over something ridiculous.

Who would you most like to meet?

Elon Musk

What’s your favourite food?

It sounds very stereotypical but if there was only one food left on Earth I would probably choose a potato … in its many forms – mashed, roast, gratin, chips, gnocchi, salad.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I’m not really a huge social media follower to be honest.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

To the moment when Ireland was declared a free state from under almost 400 years of British rule.

What book are you reading right now?

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I think it would be to grow mature trees/plants instantly to help quicken reforestation.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

At the moment I would really like to go to Japan and learn how to scuba dive… I think they would be the two main life goals. In later life I plan to learn how to play the cello.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Oooh, a variety- Elgar’s Cello Concerto, toddler songs and a lot of musical theatre in preparation for Miscast: An Atypical Cabaret – which I’m producing and performing in with my fellow collective members of The Shrinking Violets

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Well, I don’t sing in the shower, or work out (!) but I do listen to a fun food podcast called Off Menu hosted by two British comedians where they ask guests their all-time favourite starter, main course, side dish and dessert.