Student Stories: Michael Montali’s “Fantastic Cat” Performs on CBS Saturday Morning

Michael Montali and Fantastic Cat perform on CBS Saturday Morning
playing guitars
Michael Montali and Fantastic Cat perform on CBS Saturday Morning

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.