Hey, thanks for chatting to us. Could you tell our readers something about yourself that they might not find out otherwise?
I play music by ear and can figure out the chords to a song quite quickly. I’m a very fast typer which has not been very useful so far. I’m scared of numbers.
Do you feel like living in London affects your sound and if so, how?
I actually moved back to LA last year. I was missing the sun too much. When you are a dual citizen people will always consider you a foreigner everywhere you go. London is the first place I’ve lived where I really felt culturally at home. British music definitely has a unique sound and I think that rubbed off on me. There’s a moodiness and depth which I think comes from all the introspection one ends up doing when trapped indoors by the rain. I would’ve stayed if not for the damn rain!
We’ve been fans for a while, when ’27 Club’ came out were you expecting the response you got?
Thank you! I did not! It was an incredible surprise. My label at the time didn’t want to release the song. They signed me because of it and then a few months later decided they didn’t like it so much anymore. When the person who signed me got fired I thought I would get dropped and decided to just put it out myself on soundcloud without them. 2 days before my planned soundcloud release a veteran A&R man I knew told me I shouldn’t release it because I would get ripped to shreds for sounding similar to Lana Del Rey. I took his words to heart and almost backed out.
My manager had asked a PR friend of his to help us on spec and we all sat watching the blog coverage and Hypemachine chart in disbelief. It was a short lived period of excitement and possibility. What came next was the call from the label saying they’d seen the song was doing well online. So of course they didn’t drop me and took a whopping 9 months to release the song on iTunes and make a video.
Unless a major label is fully committed to your project and willing to spend money then it’s like being held in career prison. Fans often say to me ‘I’m so glad you’re making music again’ or ‘Where have you been?’. I have been writing and recording music incessantly and never went anywhere. I never stopped creating and I never will. It’s just incredibly difficult to release any of it. Like most artists I have a tonne of songs that will probably never see the light of day.
I didn’t realise that was the backstory. I’m glad you pushed through with the release. It ended up generating a million streams! How useful do you find Spotify as a vehicle for emerging artists?
Playlisting has become as important if not more important than radio play. I personally haven’t had much playlist action yet but I know that if Spotify decides to get behind something it will be big. They threw a dinner at the end of last year for about 10 of us who made it to our first million on a song that year. It was really interesting meeting other artists from different genres who were also just hitting that milestone. Kelis cooked. No milkshakes.
Tell us a bit about the new single and what it draws upon.
‘Good Times’ is kind of a trojan horse of a song. Sonically it’s a lot happier than my other music to date and could be mistaken as saccharine on first listen. The song is actually all about loss and grief, and the toxic nostalgia that we feel the minute it comes time to say goodbye; regardless of whether that person or thing actually made us happy. I think a lot of what I find most touching and impactful in life is bittersweet.
How did the track evolve in the studio from the original demo?
The differences between the original demo and the final version are actually very minute. We made some small changes to the percussion and arrangement but that’s about it. I often end up using my demo vocals because even though they’re sometimes not perfect there’s a certain excitement and vibe when you’re singing something for the first time. Maybe it’s just about feeling more relaxed and less pressured. The weird humming thing in the pre-chorus is not an effect it’s just a type of hum where you push the air out hard through your nose. It’s also slightly out of tune which I quite like. So many old songs we love are slightly out of tune or have out of tune backing vocals.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Putting out the video for ‘Good Times’. I’m finishing up the editing now. Putting the next single out!
What can your fans keep an eye out for over the next few months?
More singles and self directed videos! I’m really enjoying being able to control every creative aspect of a release. I might not actually be the best person for the job but there’s something incredibly empowering about not being reliant on anyone else. Especially after so many years spent in this business of begging the (typically male) gatekeepers for yeses.