Image by Zenith Richards
None other than the New York Times called her “an exquisite indie siren.” And we couldn’t agree more. Kat Cunning has all the intensity of Lorde, but with a much more ethereal, romantic quality – indeed, there’s something of the gossamer about her voice and her presence.
She is also a burgeoning theater talent, having done time in Dangerous Liaisons, Sleep No More and Cirque Du Soleil’s Paramour.
Her haunting new single “Wild Poppies,” which BlackBook premieres here, has a bit of the noir about it – indeed, one could easily imagine it soundtracking a particularly melancholy David Lynch scene. But as happens, it’s actually a meditation on The Wizard of Oz and its storied relationship with the gay community.
“It’s inspired by my long standing love for The Wizard of Oz,” she explains, “and a celebration of the way the story resonates with the queer community. In the film, the Wicked Witch of the West casts a spell, and snow falls down onto Dorothy and her friends, putting them to sleep in a field of wild poppies. I was drawn to Dorothy as she fell ‘over the ledge’ and under the witch’s opiates.”
And the symbolism of the poppies?
“To me, they are a symbol of pleasure, acceptance, and escape,” she says. “Dorothy submits to their power with her emerald destination gleaming in the background, as if to allow for one more taste of the beautiful world she has found. In light of this, I always found her eventual return home to be strange. Although she is invalidated for all she has seen, she exclaims that she’ll never leave home again. I wrote ‘Wild Poppies’ to explore a version of Dorothy that does not come home; it is a song for those who choose the technicolor dream.”