“I really had no choice; my mum said I practically came out of the womb singing and I always sang before I could talk. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing as a child. I remember being maybe four or five and spending each time before dinner in the garden using this huge wooden washing line prop as a mic to drag around as I performed to the bushes/trees, the family dog – I’d put on my mum’s heels and really go for it.”
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the arts?
You have written and created three songs for our Modern Icons campaign, what is the story behind them?
“I had written ‘Vagabond Heart’ already and this was the song that inspired the idea of a series of songs that tell a love story evolving over time. That song is about someone presenting an image of who they are to the outside world but someone else really seeing through it and saying – it’s okay to be the real you – I like it all. It also touches on social media and that’s a first for me in a song for sure. ‘Moonlight’ is my personal favourite as it’s the most tender song I think I’ve ever written,
and I wrote it as a kind of reassurance love-letter to someone that it’s safe to love. ‘Calmer’ was really interesting for me write, as we originally had another song as the finale track but decided we wanted a universal happy ending, so I shut myself away in February when we had all that snow in London, and kept thinking about running away with someone, having no worries and just being happy together, alone, and it came together really quickly. That’s also another first for me as I always write about what I’m feeling, it just kind of pours out of me and that’s song – but being given a ‘brief’ to create a particular storyline was scary but also cool at the same time.”
How would you describe your style of music?
“The sound and style on these tracks is very removed from my usual, or old sound and that’s due to a number of factors. When I was in my twenties my sound was always very rock, never enough guitars, a loud vocal and an attitude to boot, but knowing that these songs had to be unplugged really soften my whole approach – like, ‘Moonlight’ can only work as a stripped back acoustic so I really settled into that frame of mind for this and it was a beautiful place to be.
I wrote Vagabond Heart along with another song called Skinny Jeans and these songs really embrace a more blues sound in my voice
and this is where I’m feeling of taking my EP when I head back into the studio this autumn. We’ve got six songs to record but that will be with a full band, so I may default to back to rockin-youth, but I’m feeling this vibe at the moment so we’ll see.
I also think the unplugged approach and returning to music at this stage in my life has definitely mellowed out my sound. I didn’t really think about it until I was in the studio and discovered some old songs of mine when I fronted a glam-rock band, and it just hit me that I’m just not an angry girl tearing up Camden anymore – I’m feeling settled and solid in myself and that is coming through on these songs for sure.”
Where do you draw inspiration from in your work?
“Always my heart, it’s my official muse whether I like it or not. I can’t deny what’s in there and I don’t want to when it comes to writing songs. I feel like it’s the safest place to ‘say’ what I want to in an uninterrupted way – kind of like a poem, you can write whatever you want, and no one can stop you, tell you it’s right or wrong. When I was writing as child/teenager I really used lyrics as a way to feel good about myself, when no one was listening to me, or I had feelings I maybe didn’t understand, once I got them out I always felt like I’d helped myself. As adult, I’m definetly more chilled and happy that’s for sure! So I write about love and life in a more knowing and lighter way; my teens weren’t the best, but then – whose was?”
Do you have a particular process/ place you like to work and create?
“I do, and that pretty much has never changed. Lyrics come out at lightening speed and usually an entire song at once; out of nowhere, anytime of day or night and I’ll quickly record them into my iPhone or write them down asap. I also write the melodies with the lyrics always, so I end up with a complete song, almost in my head. I’ll jam this out for a few days with only my tambourine then I’ll take it to my guitarist and we map it out together. I used to play guitar but I’m honestly not that good. I have really weak arms (long story) which means if I play for 30 minutes I’ll be shaking for a week, so it was a case of know your strengths and keep to writing and singing. I’m always in ore of guitarists though, my absolute favourite sound forever is any type of guitar.”
How has working with John Smedley inspired your songs?
“The whole process has been a really amazing, happy, emotional experience and full of lots of firsts. When the demos got selected I had literally recorded a week before and I had no set plan of what I would do with them, but I knew I wanted to get my music back out there, so to return with these beautiful films and work with a brand that genuinely
seeks out British talent and nurtures it has been an absolute gift from the off. I have never written music for a brand so that was so interesting as an artist; when I write it’s totally unfiltered and kind of selfish in nature, but I felt really free while doing it and we had a great understanding from the beginning for the feel and emotions we wanted to capture. The music also came before the films and really lead the feel and I was really happy that the director loved the songs and got the sentiment of each track.”
Who is your icon and why?
“I always struggle with this question – like choose your favourite artist or director and I honesty can’t. I find so many people iconic! But I truly think anyone doing what’s in their heart, regardless of other people’s opinions is an icon to me. Never change.
What is next for you?
“Musically, I’m dying to get back into the studio and record my EP. This project meant I could work at my old studio, The Crypt, with old and new friends. It made such a difference doing this there as it feels like home to me, so I’ll be going back there to record, then I would love to get back out on the road, so I have a few things lined up for early 2019, along with
some special live performances this Winter in London. Way before I started writing songs again in 2016, my friend and I started writing a feature film together and after all the hard work that is going into production this summer – I’m also starring in it too so I’m head into that for a while then I plan to take a much needed holiday as, as happy as I am with this wonderful year, I feel I may pass-out if I don’t fly away and unplug, like the moment I hear, ’that’s a wrap!’, I’m gone.”