Suzy Cato and Kath Bee are better together

The much-loved children’s entertainer and her singing sidekick are so in tune
Tony Nybeg

Beloved Kiwi personality Suzy Cato’s new song I Can Do It! came to her while she was fitness training as a celebrity competitor on the popular TV show Dancing with the Stars in 2018.

The children’s TV host used to chant the mantra in her head to help her conquer climbing up a series of steep hills in her Auckland neighbourhood.

“Those simple words gave me a sense of confidence and strength to carry on,” she tells. “I knew it was a core message that would help others as well, especially children.”

The experience gave Suzy a brilliant idea. She immediately called her friend and award-winning Nelson songwriter Kath Bee, so they could work together to write the lyrics and catchy tune for their brand new song.

The pair had initially collaborated on the song Sprinkle a Little Sunshine, which became a hit in primary schools across the country.

Bubbly besties Kath (left) and Suzy are climbing to new heights!

Suzy is so in love with their new tune, that during our interview, she bursts into spontaneous song, presenting a sneak peek of I Can Do It!

“I don’t have to be the best – I just need to be my best! And once I start, I’ll keep on going and encourage all the rest,” she sings.

She says the upbeat lyrics provide children with positive affirmations and encourages them to use their imaginations.

“The various verses are about everything from taking that first step of an adventure to everything we need to go through to achieve our goals,” she explains.

“It’s a message that I have been sharing with my own children – and myself. We all need the reminder that we can do it, no matter how old we are.”

Suzy tears up when she thinks of how the message of the song has inspired her own children, Riley, 18, and Morgan, 16, to embrace their independence.

Riley went on her own adventure earlier this year when she left school and spent most of the year on her big OE, travelling through Asia and Europe, mostly by herself.

The fun-loving duo with Weekly lifestyle editor Anna’s pooch Charlie.

“As a mother, I was very nervous,” admits Suzy. “But I felt better when someone told me that when your children are ready to leave the nest, and go out and explore the big wide world, then you’ve done your job right as a parent.”

New Zealanders know Suzy as a confident and endearing personality who entertained children for many years on several TV programmes, such as Suzy’s World and You and Me, plus her own radio show for children. But Suzy admits that when she was growing up, she was actually shy. She wished she had sung a song like I Can Do It when she was younger to boost her confidence.

“As a child, I lacked confidence in myself,” she reflects. “I couldn’t go beyond the third step of the ladder. I turned to the stage and the world of entertainment because it gave me the chance to be somebody I didn’t think I could be.

“I got to be this character and have this belief in myself that I can do it, and overcome the obstacles. If I can touch one child’s soul with this message, then that will be amazing.”

Suzy and Kath released the song with a music video they shot in Christchurch with local children, but they have also released the lyrics as a children’s book, with illustrations by Rose Northey.

Suzy says releasing the song in music and print is a way to help spread their positive message.

I Can Do It! by Suzy Cato and Kath Bee, illustrated by Rose Northey, (Scholastic, $20) is out now.

She explains, “Children today face lots of trials and tribulations. We need to remember that the little things in life are what matters. We can take on life’s challenges when we are not doing it alone.”

Kath believes she and Suzy collaborate well together. Kath prides herself on writing meaningful and catchy melodies that inspire children. Her repertoire of songs are loved and performed in schools across the country, including, Individuality and Dragons Under My Bed.

Kath met Suzy at an Auckland restaurant in 2017, after Kath gave an impromptu performance of her songs. Suzy was so impressed with what she heard that she approached Kath and asked if she would like to appear on her radio show to sing her music. The pair formed a friendship and wrote their first song together in 2018.

“It’s been an amazing process to work with Suzy,” enthuses Kath. “She is an emotional person and I’m the opposite. When we are working on a song and Suzy gets emotional, it’s lovely because it makes me realise that what we’ve created is something special.”

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