august's musical miss, cathy rowland, has set her sights on a singing career
Canaries may sing in cages, but knowledgeable bird watchers will tell you that most warblers give their best performances unfettered. That's the way it is for blithe-spirited Cathleen Lynn Rowland, our August Playmate, who's currently trying to sing her way into a recording career. Cathy's entire life style is deliberately unstructured: "Sure, I could make more money if I took a full-time job," she told us, "but I just won't be tied down. So I work through a temporary-office-help agency in Los Angeles, taking secretarial jobs a few days at a time -- for a group of engineers here, contractors there -- and, together with a few modeling assignments I get occasionally, that brings in enough bread to pay the rent." It doesn't, unfortunately, provide sufficient funds to enable Cathy to engage a personal manager; so, in her efforts to further her musical career, she makes the wearying rounds of recording companies and talent agencies herself. Cathy values her freedom not only because it leaves her time to work on her singing and dancing but also because it allows her the luxury of travel at a moment's notice. In the past few months, she has visited Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City and Guadalajara; she's currently mapping out a trip to Montreal.
A native Angeleno, Cathy grew up in nearby Sherman Oaks, where her father was a fireman. After graduation from high school in Van Nuys, she studied science for a year at Los Angeles Valley Junior College before going to work, successively, as a stock-exchange clerk, computer typist and receptionist; at one time, she even enrolled in a dental-assistants' course. "But music is really my thing," she says now. "That and dancing. Three times a week I go to dancing class -- studying ballet with Gene Marinaccio and modern jazz with Roland Dupree." Asked to describe her singing style, Cathy mused: "Well -- contemporary, I guess; not really hard rock, more along the show-tune or ballad line. The song I'm pushing on my demonstration tape is a catchy little number called I Love You, written by some friends of mine. I think it could be a hit, but I need to develop a more complete repertoire -- some standards as well as originals -- before I can talk an agency or a recording company into taking a chance on me."
Home for Cathy is a big house in Laurel Canyon, shared with a former high school classmate, Suzie Trammell, who works as a legal secretary. "It's a wonderful house for parties," says Cathy. "We had more than 100 people here for eggnog on New Year's Eve and about 75 for my 21st-birthday party last March." Cathy whipped up five quarts of margaritas and a giant bowl of guacamole for that occasion. "Mexican food is really my specialty," she says. "I make my own salsa de chile from scratch -- burning the chilies, grinding them with garlic in a mortar, the whole scene. I had planned to serve a complete Mexican dinner on my birthday, but by the time I finished buying all that tequila, I was nearly broke." By Cathy's next birthday, we're rooting for an upturn in her career. Though she'll never be caught in a rut, we'd like to hear her in the groove.
Photography by Mario Casilli