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Musician writes song for son as she enters hospice in her final days

‘My art is all I have to leave behind,’ musician says

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Thursday 25 January 2024 22:29 GMT
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Michael Strahan's teenage daughter breaks down as she shares cancer diagnosis

A musician released a song she wrote with her son in her final days in hospice.

Cat Janice, a 31-year-old singer-songwriter, asked TikTok users to stream the song she wrote her seven-year-old Loren, “Dance You Outta My Head,” as her final wish so that she can leave him the proceeds when she passes. Janice told People that she entered hospice on 10 January when she was no longer able to breathe in the ICU.

For the past couple of years, the Washington DC native has been battling cancer on and off after discovering a lump in her neck in November 2021. In March of the following year, she realised that the lump was still there. “It was larger and it was very hard,” she said in a TikTok video.

A doctor diagnosed her with sarcoma, a rare malignant tumor. After undergoing surgery, chemo and radiation, she was declared cancer-free on 22 July 2022. However, by June 2023, things took a turn for the Washington Area Music Award winner when she learned that the cancer had returned, and this time around, it was in her lungs.

“I’m going to go back into treatment,” she told her followers. “I’m going to be really effing strong about it and I’m going to let you guys know what’s going on. And thank you guys so much for loving me.”

Her second round of treatment wasn’t as successful with attacking her aggressive cancer, and her case turned terminal. In January 2024, Janice announced that she was losing her battle with cancer on social media. After entering hospice on 10 January, she reportedly transferred all her songs to her son’s name, ensuring that all proceeds would go to Loren. Knowing that her condition was terminal, she made an effort to release one final track.

“Everyone knows that I’ve been battling cancer for a while and I wanted to put this song out, and just go stream it,” she said in a video. “I hope you like it. I don’t know if I’m going to be around even when the song comes out, so let’s just put it out. And I did.”

She explained to People that the idea for “Dance You Outta My Head” came to her around last spring as she and her son were enjoying a sunny day “bopping around in the car”.

“We came up with some fun lyrics and a little ditty,” she told the outlet. “I song banked it and made a little voice note of it and as time went on we would bounce around in the car to it every now and then.”

According to the Washingtonian, Janice didn’t finish the song until she entered a songwriting competition, where she said she met Tony Award-nominated lyricist and composer Max Vernon, and shared what she had so far with him. They collaborated to finish the song and went on to win the competition unanimously.

After finishing the song a few months later, she posted a video imploring fans to stream her song and hoped to release it before she died. “My last joy would be if you pre saved my song “Dance You Outta My Head” in my bio and streamed it because all proceeds go straight to my seven year old boy I’m leaving behind,” she wrote in a 15 January TikTok carousel. “Please please share this, I need to leave this with him. I hope to make it through this but if not, to all a good night.”

On 23 January, Janice decided to scroll social media after she was woken up at 2am because her med port was beeping due to low battery. When she opened Facebook, she noticed that iTunes had tagged her in a post, saying that her song had charted. The song - which was released on 19 January - had in just under a week reached number five on the US iTunes chart, and number one in Australia and Greece.

“I was sitting there in the middle of the night looking at my phone — what the heck is going on here?” she recalled to People. “I started yelling and my parents came down, they were like, what is going on?”

Janice said that she was floored by the positive reaction to her song, and overjoyed that she was able to leave a legacy with her art, all the while doing right by her son. “I just wanted to put out something fun and positive,” she told the outlet. “My art is all I have to leave behind.”

The musician has been making the most of her final days, marrying her longtime partner, fellow DC musician Footwerk - whose real name is Kyle Higginbotham - in December as well as celebrating her 31st birthday on 21 January, with a surprise disco-themed birthday party thrown by her loved ones.

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