The Anchoress (musician)

The Anchoress is the stage name of Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and author Catherine Anne Davies.

The Anchoress
Catherine AD
Simple Minds @ Rock the Ring 2018
Background information
Birth nameCatherine Anne Davies
BornGlynneath, Wales
OriginAylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
GenresIndie rock, pop,
Years active2013 (2013)–present
LabelsKscope, Too Pure
Associated actsSimple Minds, Paul Draper, Manic Street Preachers

Davies was born in Glynneath, Wales but at 10 weeks old was taken to Australia with her parents before returning to the UK at the age of four, where she grew up in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England.[1][2]


Davies formed The Anchoress in 2013. The Anchoress's debut album Confessions of a Romance Novelist, co-produced by Paul Draper, was released on 15 January 2016 via Kscope.[3] [4] The album was named amongst the Guardian critics’ Albums of the Year,[5] won HMV’s Welsh Album of the Year,[5] Best Newcomer at the PROG awards[6], and a nomination for Welsh Music Prize.[7]

Davies began work on a collaboration project in December 2014 with producer Bernard Butler, although it seems that work has since been discarded.[8][9]

In July 2016, The Anchoress supported and duetted with Manic Street Preachers[10] at the Eden Project and again supported the band in June 2017, before duetting on 'Little Baby Nothing' at the Q Awards in October 2017.[11][12] She supported Simple Minds on the UK leg of their Acoustic Tour in May/June 2017.[13] In 2017, Davies co-wrote and engineered 5 tracks on long-term collaborator Paul Draper's debut solo album Spooky Action.[14] She performed with Draper on his 6-date UK tour in September 2017 and appears on keyboards and vocals on the live album Spooky Action: Live At The Scala.[15]

From 2014 until July 2018, Davies performed in Simple Minds, contributing additional guitar, vocals and keyboards.[16][17] She met Jim Kerr, the lead singer and one of the principal songwriters in Simple Minds, when both were in The Dark Flowers, a band assembled to record a 2013 album of songs based from a Sam Shepard book.[18][19] She has also performed live with Ed Harcourt at Glastonbury Festival,[20] as well as Martha Wainwright.[21]

In May 2017, Davies received £14,915 in grants from Arts Council England to fund the second Anchoress album.[22]

In 2018, she duetted with Manic Street Preachers on their song "Dylan & Caitlin", released as a single and on their album Resistance is Futile, as well as appearing on the Simple Minds album Walk Between Worlds.[23] In October of the same year she appeared as a co-host on the BBC Radio 6 Music show about The Beatles White Album, alongside Martin Freeman and John Simm.[24]

In October 2019, Davies launched a new podcast series entitled "The Art of Losing" taking on the topic of loss and grief, with guests including the producer and engineer Mario McNulty and playwright Patrick Jones.[25]

Solo and side projectsEdit

Previous to The Anchoress project, Davies self-released music under her own name and as Catherine A.D.

In 2009, Davies performed with London Philharmonic Orchestra as an artist-in-residence at London's South Bank Centre.[26][27] Through this role, she wrote with Riz MC and collaborated with Nitin Sawhney.[21][28][29]

In 2011, under the abbreviated A.D. guise, Davies released the single Carry Your Heart,[26] and a mini-album entitled Communion.[30] NME described Communion as an "understated but beautiful mini-album" when naming it one of the 20 best "cult/experimental" albums of 2011.[31] She also released a collection covers entitled Reprise.[32] The release featured re-interpretations of songs by Friendly Fires, Sleigh Bells, Nick Drake, Tracy Chapman, Bon Iver, Hurts, My Brightest Diamond, The Crystals, Nina Simone and The Magnetic Fields.[33]

The Anchoress appeared as a guest vocalist on the March 2017 limited 7" vinyl release of "Fend For Yourself" by the band The Pineapple Thief.[34]

In June 2016, Davies co-wrote and played on EP ONE with long-term collaborator Paul Draper, as well as featuring on guest vocals on the song "No Ideas" with Steven Wilson.[35] She also co-wrote and performs on 2 tracks on the follow up release, EP TWO, released in November 2016.[36]

In 2017, Davies co-wrote and engineered five tracks on long-term collaborator Paul Draper's debut solo album Spooky Action.[37]

Davies is also a member of The Dark Flowers "super-group".[38] The project was started by songwriter and producer Paul Statham in 2009.[39] She appears alongside vocalist's Jim Kerr, Kate Havnevik, Dot Allison, Peter Murphy, Shelly Poole, Helicopter Girl and Remi Roughe. In an interview with Clash, Davies said "It’s basically a project put together by a guy called Paul Statham who’s a songwriter/producer and he had this idea to make a dark country record, kind like ‘Paris/Texas’ soundtrack."[40]

Davies also appeared as a backing vocalist on Emmy The Great's debut single "Secret Circus".[citation needed]


Davies has a PhD in literature and queer theory from University College London, and has published a book entitled Whitman's Queer Children about epic poetry through Bloomsbury Publishing.[18][41]

Davies has written about film-maker David Lynch for the NME,[42] and has interviewed Tori Amos[43] and Manic Street Preachers[44][45][46] for Drowned in Sound.



  1. ^ "Bowers & Wilkins - Award-winning wireless speakers, Wired & Wireless Headphones, Earphones, Hi-Fi Speakers and Home Theater Speakers". Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. ^ "EAR Presents". Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  3. ^ Bridgewater, Paul. "The Anchoress debut album details". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Listen to 'Popular' By The Anchoress plus debut album details". The Quietus. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b music, Guardian (20 December 2016). "The best albums and tracks of 2016: how our writers voted". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Prog Awards 2016: the winners in full". Prog. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  7. ^ "The Anchoress joins nominees for Welsh Music Prize". NME. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  8. ^ "The Anchoress working with Bernard Butler". The Anchoress. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Bernard Butler reveals he's working with The Anchoress". Sonotronics. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  10. ^ Trendell, Andrew (11 July 2016). "Manic Street Preachers perform 'Little Baby Nothing' with The Anchoress". Gigwise. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Manic Street Preachers announce huge Bristol gig - the day before Glastonbury". 27 March 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  12. ^ "THE ANCHORESS DUETS WITH MANIC STREET PREACHERS AT THE Q AWARDS". The Anchoress. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  13. ^ Ewing, Jerry (7 November 2016). "The Anchoress To Support Simple Minds". Prog. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Paul Draper - Spooky Action". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Paul Draper - Spooky Action / Live At Scala (2CD)". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Simple Minds: Big Music – behind the scenes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  17. ^ Lester, Paul. "Blurred sidelines: meet the musicians who are doctors, gardeners and authors". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Interview for SimpleMinds dot org". Simple Minds. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Album Review: The Dark Flowers - Radioland". DrownedInSound. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Ed Harcourt & Catherine AD Collaboration". Ed Harcourt. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Emerging Artist in Residence". The Londonist. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  22. ^ "Department for Culture Media and Sport - lottery grants search". 14 September 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Simple Minds - Walk Between Worlds". Discogs. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  24. ^ "BBC Radio 6 Music - 6 Music Celebrates The White Album". BBC. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  25. ^ {{cite web|url=
  26. ^ a b "Catherine A.D. talks about the brooding darkness in her Valentine's Day EP". Dazed & Confused. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  27. ^ "Escape Velocity in-depth interview with Catherine AD". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  28. ^ "AllMusic page for 'Sour Times' by Riz MC". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  29. ^ "The Guardian's New Band of The Week". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  30. ^ "30 Seconds with... Catherine AD". PRS' M Magazine. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  31. ^ Doran, John. "The 20 Best Cult/Experimental Albums 2011". NME. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  32. ^ Boult, Adams. "This Week's Top 5 Music Links". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  33. ^ "Catherine AD – Reprise: The Covers Collection". Guardian Music. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  34. ^ "The Pineapple Thief Featuring The Anchoress - Fend For Yourself". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  35. ^ "Paul Draper - EP One". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  36. ^ "Paul Draper - EP Two". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  37. ^ "Paul Draper - Spooky Action". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  38. ^ Gourlay, Dom. "Radioland by Dark Flowers album review". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  39. ^ Tuffey, Laurie. "Jim Kerr, Catherine AD, Dot Allison and Paul Statham tell The Quietus about their Sam Shephard-inspired collaborative LP". The Quietus. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  40. ^ Walker-Smart, Sam. "Ones To Watch: Catherine AD". Clash. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  41. ^ "Whitman's Queer Children: America's Homosexual Epics". Bloomsbury Group. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  42. ^ "The Music Of Twin Peaks Dissected: What Does 'Lynchian' Actually Mean". NME. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  43. ^ "Catherine AD meets Tori Amos". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  44. ^ "Nicky Wire on the Manic Street Preachers' return: Part One". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  45. ^ "Nicky Wire on the Manic Street Preachers' return: Part Two". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  46. ^ "Nicky Wire on the Manic Street Preachers' return: Part Three". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 15 June 2009.

External linksEdit