Michael Montali, current CCNY MFA Candidate in fiction, entered the program already well established as a singer songwriter, and joining the MFA has not meant a surrender of his musical career. In fact, this August, his band Fantastic Cat performed on CBS Saturday Morning.
Fantastic Cat is the product of four singer-songwriters who joined forces to create and indie-rock band. The name, as Montali recalled in an article about the band in American Songwriter, was the result of a conversation backstage at a New York City Club:
“The waitress came by and somebody asked her, ‘if you wanted to name a band, what would you name the band,’ and she goes ‘Fantastic Cat,’” says Montali. “We said, ‘that’s it.’ We made a pledge. We’re gonna ask this waitress, and whatever she says we’re gonna do no matter what, and she said Fantastic Cat.”
Montali had wanted to be a writer ever since he was a kid. “I wrote short stories and poems but I wasn’t very good at it. When I tried to write songs, however, it seemed to come naturally, so I started a band and hit the road, working on my craft and pursuing a life as an artist.” After a decade on the road, the pandemic hit, and he found himself, for the first time, home for a long stretch.
“I felt my songs were getting stale and I was struggling to find a voice. I decided taking classes and being around other writers would help me to not only be a better songwriter, but to achieve my long term goal of writing fiction. City College has been an amazing place for me and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Fantastic Cat’s debut Album, “The Very Best of Fantastic Cat,” is out now on Spotify and elsewhere.