Reel Feelings: Artist Manager Kate Cudbertson | Coping in Lockdown

Reel Feelings: Artist Manager Kate Cudbertson | Coping in Lockdown

28th May 2020
Following a three part mini-series curated by the Abbey Road team (Dom Dronska, Claire Renfrew and Karim Fanous) exploring mental health and wellbeing in lockdown, we wanted to expand upon this to see how our artist friends have been coping in quarantine.

The first in a series titled Reel Feelings was Australian-born, London-based singer-songwriter Cloves, who spoke to us about hows she's adjusted to life in lockdown and her advice to anyone who is struggling right now.

Next up is Kate Cudbertson, Manager for FKJ and The Sundrop Garden. The Los Angeles-based Adelaide native spent most of last year touring the world with French multi-instrumentalist and producer FKJ, however 2020 has found Kate returning back home to Australia amongst the COVID-19 pandemic.

How have you been feeling, really?

At the moment I find it difficult to think about my feelings in any type of broad time frame, or able to describe my overall feeling with a blanket adjective. The last couple of months have been quite the emotional roller coaster. Everything I’ve felt seems to be intensified, not only due to the fact we’re processing a Global Pandemic; but I think the sheer lack of distractions has had a huge impact on the intensity. The absence of my usual routine and busyness has made me truly feel each emotion that passes by, whether it be the negative, hide-from-everything type of feeling; or the appreciative stop-to-smell-the-roses type. More recently starting to gain some consistency in the new norm, though.

How are you adjusting, how did your life change, and how did you change?

Adjusting a lot better than expected. In February, if someone had told me what was about to happen to the world, I couldn’t have imagined that in May I’d be quite content sitting in my childhood bed, at 1am eating banana bread answering these questions. Life changed a lot!

I made the decision to return to Australia and spend time with family and friends, leaving my adopted home in Los Angeles for a while. I’m very lucky in that I didn’t have to adapt to working from home too, unlike so many others. Working solo and from home is all I’ve ever really known in the music world, so I’m thankful for already having tips and tricks on how to structure that.

I’ve realized how much noise I was making. Not in the literal sense, but with my thoughts, social media use, my input into relationships and different dynamics. I’ve learned that by simply listening (to myself) and feeling all those feelings I mentioned in the question above, I hear a whole lot more.


Where is your ‘inspiration hotspot’ i.e. where do you have the space to think and be creative? What inspires you creatively now (is it different to your usual sources of inspiration)?

3:30am when nobody is around. At the very start when I was trying to break into the music industry as a manager / anything I could possibly offer to work on, this used to be my main way of working, plotting, dreaming. Although in the past couple of years I’ve either been touring (sleep any chance you get) or succumbing to attempting a normal schedule and routine. But recently, due to the time difference in Australia to the rest of the world; I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia trip of late night work sessions. It’s like nothing else exists. Except for the snack cravings.

What do you wish you had known before lockdown?

I’ve really enjoyed the learning process of it all to be honest. I generally enjoy throwing myself in the deep end and either sinking or swimming. I suppose something that would have been handy to know is perhaps the understanding that if I want to begin swimming, I kind of have to do a bit of sinking in order to hear that inner voice I mentioned earlier, a bit more. Instead of allowing myself to be deafened by all the outer noise.

On a less profound note, I also wish I had known how desperately I needed tracksuit bottoms (sweatpants? Trackies? I’ve forgotten what I usually call them)

What three things would you advise to anyone who is struggling right now?

  1. That this isn’t meant to be easy and there is nothing wrong with you if you’re feeling down, demotivated, depressed, anxious, whatever it may be. Global Pandemic. Give yourself a break.

    2. As hard as it may be, try to catch the inner negative self talk when you’re ruminating. Replace it with the counteractive positive self talk. I found this positive affirmation app called “I Am”. The free version gives you 10 positive affirmation notifications on your phone throughout the day. It’s a bit cringe, but when you’re feeling down and you read a nice “I am” statement, it definitely doesn’t hurt.

    3. If you haven’t spoken to a therapist before and are in a position to do so (via phone or otherwise) I highly recommend it! I think we tend to brush off mental health quite easily and put it in the “too hard” pile. Historically it hasn’t been as widely spoken about, either. This quarantine down time leaves us with fewer excuses to put an hour aside per week to give our psyche the attention it probably needs.

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