Cate first picked up a guitar at the age of 20 and immediately started making music. One year later, he put his passion for writing to use; he wrote his first song - a powerful, upbeat tune, titled "Home", which is still a fan-favorite. "I wrote 'Home' after a really low point in my life," Cate reveals. "For a few years, I was never fully satisfied with where I was in my life, so I thought the best way to improve my life would be to start over somewhere else - to just pack up and leave. But time and time again, I found myself moving back to the one place I thought I wanted to leave - home. Home is where my heart has always been; it's where my heart will always be."
The Corvallis, Oregon native has been singing all his life, but never realized what he was capable of until he was about 20 years old. He then put his three talents– singing, songwriting and playing guitar– together and found that the end result was unique. Cate describes his music as "country with soul, but combined with pop, rock, and even a hint of hip-hop; it's a combination of all the things I grew up on and love." That's a quality that sets him apart from many other stars today– Cate's extensive background in different genres shines through in both his music and lyrics. His influences range anywhere from accomplished artists such as Keith Urban, Rob Thomas, Eminem, TQ, and Colbie Caillat. "I play and love all genres of music," Cate says. "I try to incorporate a little of each genre into my songwriting. I think that's a quality that makes me appealing to so many people."
Cate entered his first competition– the local Colgate Country Showdown– in 2004 and won first place. He won again in 2005, and after a year-long break, he entered again in 2007 and claimed his third first-place victory. Cate is grateful for the life-changing roles the Showdowns, as well as 99.9 KRKT, have played in his life. When asked about his experiences performing in the Showdowns, he humbly replies, "The Colgate Country Showdowns really gave me the experience I needed– it pushed me into the direction I'm heading now. I've met so many amazing people along the way and I'm thankful for the opportunities I've been given." Opportunities, like when Cate opened for the Grammy award-winning Western swing band Asleep At The Wheel in 2005, have sparked up since then. He has also opened up for country stars Rockie Lynne and Brian McComas. "I love performing live," Cate says. "I'm emotionally connected to the songs I sing, so I really get into certain songs. It's all about passion, really; if you show no emotion and can't feel the song your playing, you shouldn't be playing it. I write out of experience– things that have actually happened in my life– and when I'm performing those songs, it's almost as if I'm reliving what I went through. So, when I'm up on stage singing and playing guitar, everybody who's listening can feel exactly what I'm feeling."
In early 2007, Cate became part of the quickly-growing YouTube community when he uploaded a video of himself singing a cover of Jason Aldean's "Why". YouTube users instantly responded with positive feedback, which ultimately lead to him creating and posting more videos, some of which are original songs written by Cate. "The greatest thing about YouTube," Cate states, "Is the people. The feedback I get on my videos is humbling– and I'm very grateful for the things people have to say. It's like positive reinforcement– the feedback that I get inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing." With a bright future in sight, Cate hopes that he's able to focus on doing what he loves to do most– singing, making music, and raising his daughter. "She's my world," Cate says of his 4-year-old daughter, Hailey. "She changed my life in the best way possible. She inspires me to be the best everything that I can be."
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