BETHEL, NY — Born and raised in Sullivan County, Sullivan Chamber of Commerce VP Cathy Paty is most at home in the Catskills (www.catskills.com ), but currently she’s expanding her horizons, with an eye on the home of country music—Nashville, TN. “Bethel, NY is, and always will be, my home,” Paty said in an interview with The River Reporter, “but I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity, and I’m going for it.” An active member of the community, Paty takes her job with the chamber “very seriously” but has outside interests as well, and music has always played a “huge part” in her life. “It all started with the school choir and I spent summers singing with the DVO (www.delawarevalleyopera.org ) at 13.” Talent shows and a love of pop music propelled the young Cathy, and she continued to sing after high school with the St. Joseph Parish church choir in the Mongaup Valley.
After graduating from Sullivan County Community College with a degree in web design, Paty married, had her daughter, Lila, and found her career path intertwined with the chamber in Monticello. “Any thoughts of pursuing a music career were put on hold for a few years,” Paty said, “but after my marriage dissolved, I found time to sing karaoke around town in Kauneonga Lake (www.luzonstation.com ), in Monticello (www.riveredgerestaurant.com ) and Smallwood (www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-Pub ).” Luzon Proprietor Patti Greco Sunshine was one of the judges at the Sullivan Star Search in 2009 and encouraged Paty to continue singing. “She’s incredibly talented, and pretty tough, so I was flattered.”
At that same talent contest (www.monticellocasinoandraceway.com ) Paty met Bold Gold Media Marketing and Promotions Director Regina Hensley, who was representing a local radio station (www.thunder102.com ) and who asked Cathy if she was interested in entering another competition that the station was sponsoring—the “Texaco Country Showdown.” Acknowledging that she had always been drawn to country music, Paty also admitted to Hensley that she knew “little about the genre, but I’m willing to learn,” and set about doing so. “Country music is all about storytelling, and that’s something I can totally relate to,” she said. “I’m not really a song writer, per se, but there are so many great songs out there, and some of them truly hit home.”
Last spring, Paty competed in the showdown, singing Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing.” Cathy won, moving on to the state finals where she placed in the top 10. “It all happened so quickly, and I was flabbergasted to take home the County Prize” she said. “The folks at Thunder took me under their wing and invited me to perform the National Anthem at the Bold Gold Music Festival in Connecticut (www.mohegansun.com ) in front of 5,000 people,” including “Mr. Nashville” (www.billyblock.com ) whose reputation in country music is legendary. The “Billy Block Show” is considered “second only to the Grand Ole Opry and Midnight Jamboree as Nashville’s longest running live concert series. It has become the Ellis Island of Nashville welcoming newcomers of all musical genres,” according to his website. (www.billyblock.com )
Paty recalled how Block came up to her and said, “You have an incredible voice. You have to come down to Nashville and lay down some tracks with me in the studio.” Paty readily accepted his invitation. “Not only did he help me record three songs by emerging country artists (“Something About the South,” “You Can’t Change a Man” and “Live for Right Now”), but he had me as a guest on his show and has been a teacher, mentor and friend. The fact that this man, who has shaped the careers of so many talented artists, has taken an interest in me is overwhelming. There are no words to express my gratitude.”
As for the future, Paty is optimistic. “My glass is always half full,” she declared. “It feels really great to have this tremendous support, both here at home and in Nashville. My boyfriend John, my sister and my six-year-old daughter are my biggest fans, and without their love and encouragement none of this would have been possible. I’m truly at home with country music, and everyone around me is helping me to get better and more confident every day. This experience has changed my life.”
Cathy Paty’s dream is to make country music and develop a career as a touring artist. With her star on the rise, Paty is still down to earth. “I’ve been given this great opportunity and I can’t wait to see where it takes me,” she said. “I’ve met country stars who have welcomed me into their world and these people are genuine. They actually care about me, just as my community here at home in Sullivan County does. I’ve got the bug now. There’s no going back.”
[For more information and to hear samples of her recordings, visit www.facebook.com/cathypatymusic.]