Girls Aloud! The Best (New Female) Acts: Part Two

Girls Aloud!


 

The Best (New Female) Acts:

 

Part 2.

 

 

 

IF one installment wasn’t enough…

here is the second installment!  It is always great discovering great (female) talent- here we have some distinct and wonderful acts.  From U.S. wonders to British lovelies; enjoy…

 

Lisa Marini

Your E.P From The Bedroom Den (released last year- https://lisamarini.bandcamp.com/ ) was filled with colour, diversity and nuance: what are the secrets of your songwriting/creative process?

Thank you No real secret, I was aware that I wanted to express something from an honest place, so I took my time to find out where that was. I wrote the songs for my EP at a point when I had a better understanding of myself. Of course we are continuously growing – as I develop as a person, I hope the music will follow.

You are one of the most consistently optimistic and upbeat musicians. How would you say you stand out (from your music colleagues/peers)?

Ahh thank you.  There really are some incredible artists out there- I wouldn’t attempt to compete!  I just try to write music that’s authentic to me.  If you feel it with me, then what a blessing.

You have worked with the likes of Nina Gromniak and many different musicians: any music plans/collaborations ahead?

Nina has become one of my best friends and it’s always an honour to play with her!  Her feel is off the scale!! Hopefully there will be more- I love experimenting but I can’t help my spontaneity, so I couldn’t tell you with whom; or when or how just yet! Haha

You have a real passion for new countries and people: how important is it (when it comes to making music) to travel/play to different crowds?

Travel can be inspiring- even just being in transit, there’s something about movement that opens up ideas! Of course, learning about other ways of life helps to expand the mind and the heart.  I find that the more people I meet, the more I realise how similar we are- we all crave love and acceptance.  Being able to connect with people through my music is a real honour.

Lisa (and maybe an impossible question): What does music mean to you?

Music is like an extension of ourselves.  We use it to create a mood and often relate it to a person or an experience.  Music is like the soundtrack to our lives.  And as with any art it can be therapy, both for the creator and for those who appreciate it.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

All the great songwriters, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Nina Simone (and more recently Erykah Badu) and of course Miss Amy Winehouse.  I am sure there are many more that I have missed out- but those are what first come to mind.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

Melody Gardot.  It’s refreshing to hear an artist that has been allowed to develop.  Each one of her albums is so different, yet every song has been carefully crafted.  I have a huge amount of respect for her as a person and as a musician.  She has really lived through it. When she sings I believe every word she says.

There is gender inequality in society; do you think there is the same issue in music? If so, what do we need to do to change this?

I couldn’t imagine living in a country where I wasn’t permitted to express myself creatively.  I feel fortunate to live in a place where I have the freedom to do what I do.  Prejudice in any form comes from a lack of education; by that I don’t mean an academic education, but an emotional and spiritual education- we can only lead by example.

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

I think one of the most important things in life is to be honest.  It might sound simple, but in reality it can be hard.  It’s something I consider every day. Am I doing something for the right reasons?  Was that my opinion or someone else’s?  Do I really feel this emotion or is something else influencing me?  It’s often difficult to define, especially in a city where there are so many forces trying to pull us away from listening inwards.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song, either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood – name it…

Right now I am listening to Musical Genocide by Gregory Porter. The title says it all wink emoticon

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https://www.facebook.com/marinimusic?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/LisaMariniMusic

 

Ariana & the Rose

 

Hi Ariana. For those in the U.K., can you tell us about your music: where you play; the sort of style/sound you play?

Sure, I’m from New York City and am the lead singer in my band Ariana & the Rose. The music is a melding of electronic and real instrumentation, creating a synth band sound.  We’ve played everywhere from festivals, like Brighton Pride to venues like Sheppard’s Bush- and anything in between.  It was really important to me to play this kind of electronic music with a full band live- so the audience can really feel it as opposed to having everything on track.

I know you are a hungry and busy artist; you love touring and (playing to all sorts of crowds). Any plans for new material/tours in the future?

Yes! I’ve just finished new music and will be putting it out ASAP as (well as) getting back out on stage. We’ve literally just put the live show together this week: I can’t wait to play the new material.  It’s a real growth from my last E.P., so I’m excited to share it with everyone and hear what they think.

It is always great learning (about a musician’s) favourite album/artists growing up: who/which have been most important to you?

I grew loving singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro, but then also being obsessed with electro queens like Robyn and Goldfrapp.  So, I think I’ve ended up taking my favourite bits of all of them and using it in my own work.

Do you think the U.S. provides more opportunities (for new musicians) than anywhere else? How do the crowds/venues different?

I actually think the U.K. provides the best opportunities for new artists, which is why I came here to make music.  There are many more platforms here for emerging talent, from showcase nights to B.B.C. Radio 1 (Introducing)- I think audiences really value discovering new artists here.  I feel really grateful to have found that outlet in the UK.

The stresses of creativity and expectation can get to musicians. How do you unwind/clear your head?

I’m generally stressed all the time!  I love films that unwinds my mind very easily.  I need to get lost in other things.  Theater is a really big inspiration for me as well, I love seeing avant-garde theater.  There’s a big scene for that in New York, so I’m always on the lookout for it in other cities.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

Jagged Little Pill is the album that made me want to become a musician.  The fearlessness that Alanis Morissette (has on that album really resonated) with me as a teenager.  More recently, I love FKA twigs. Her aesthetic and commitment to her artistry is so intriguing- and I think it’s so hard to maintain that mystery these days.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

I love Betty Who, who I think is more well-known in the States (than she is in the U.K.).  Her live show just makes you fall in love with her, boundless energy.

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music? If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

I think this issue affects women in every profession in different ways. In music; I think it’s mainly to do with the way the media cover women.  It’s about what she’s wearing and how toned she was last week compared to this week, the focus is shifting slowly though . I think we have to be persistent about the things we want to say and continue (to use the platforms like social media to get our voices out).  There’s immediacy to a platforms like Twitter or Facebook (that are reaching a wide audience) and helping to change how the media covers women in entertainment.

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

I would say confidence and knowing myself.  I’m a pretty self-reflective person, which I think you have to be if you want to write about your observations.  I think, for anyone, it’s about taking the time to get to know yourself and having confidence and belief in who you are.  I try not to define myself with other people’s words.  I really respect and admire people who truly go their own way.  Walking your own path, with integrity, is success to me.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

I’ve just got the new Foals track (What Went Down) on repeat.  It’s manic and ripping at the seams: listening to them is always a reminder of how amazing and immediate music can be.

 

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Vanja James (Front-woman of Little Dove)

 

Hey Vanja.  There have been some changes/developments (with your band Little Dove).  Can you tell us about the future: new album/E.P./tour dates afoot? 

Hi Sam!  Little Dove is currently expanding into a 3-piece with traditional drums and bass.  I met a great drummer and bassist a while ago and they have a history working together in other projects.  Once we get a couple of live shows under our belt – we will probably start working on new material for a new record.  While Dylan isn’t playing the most recent live shows, I’m going to try to get him in the mix on the record – so it will be a little bit of familiarity, and a little bit of something new. 🙂

I know how much you love touring/seeing other cities: can London (and Europe) expect a visit (from Little Dove) in the future? 

I’m really *really* hoping to make it happen in the future, but to make it happen I’ve got some money saving to do.  2016 is probably worth shooting towards.

You are an incredible writer and artist.  What is it that compels/inspires your words?  Do relationships (and heartache) go into it- or do you prefer to detach from that (to an extent)?

Long car rides are the best for me.  Usually I’ll start singing in the car and come up with some melody ideas. Little Dove’s songs are unique in that they are a little more detached by the time I turn whatever personal feelings I have had/am having into a song. There are fewer “breakup- oriented” songs and more songs about things I see in mass media.  One of the songs we’ll probably bring into the mix is about an underground city of homeless people in Romania for example, while another new song is about the whole ISIS happenings.

I am fascinated by the U.S. music scene (and that of California).  It seems rich and vibrant: what is life like (for a musician/band) based in California?

California has been great to me.  L.A. has allowed me to really hone in on my craft and is a wonderful place for networking with some of the best people and the most talented.  The city moves quickly and stays up all night – which I love.  For some of my most favorite creative people (horn players, string players) I head to the Bay Area/San Francisco – which just has such a rich artistic history.  San Diego is my hometown and the music community is wonderful and has a great jazz scene, a great rock scene, and it’s a wonderful place for singer/songwriters.  I can go anywhere in the city to experience live music, and there’s a 95% chance of running into someone I know.

The music business- finding success and meaning- can be a stressful (and anxious rite of passage).  How do you deal with it (as a musician); do you think more support/guidance (needs to be given to) musicians starting out?

I’ll put it this way: The way to be successful as an artist/musician is not anything they teach you in your standard college classes.  Finding success (especially financially) as a musician, takes a versatility and drive that many musicians don’t have.  I keep tuned in to music business blogs and read articles about the changing trends in music. So many musicians are creating a name for themselves with Youtube and have had luck creating a more powerful audience on a digital level.  Beyond that – if you’re an indie – you can count on investing a hefty amount of money on things like digital marketing and radio promotions. The best advice I can give any musician is to have another steady source of income that works for you to support your music habit. I know one guy who says he is able to only take gigs he loves now – thanks to driving for Uber.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

I was raised on a steady diet of Disney Divas and divas in general – Aretha Franklin….Whitney Houston….Eisley and Aretha were a huge influences in helping me hone in on my voice and push my vocal range.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

New…hmmm….there’s a band in L.A. called Dead Sarah that I think is going places.  Lucius (based in N.Y.) is also a fave.   Otherwise on the whole, I don’t listen to too many female artists as I don’t want them influencing me.  So I stick with old rock bands and that keeps me happy.

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music?  If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

I’d say when it comes to gender inequality – the music industry is about 10 years behind.  I’ve been fortunate in L.A. that only one person has ever done anything inappropriate – but in San Diego – people weren’t so well-behaved.  I believe that sexual harassment laws should apply anywhere – even if you aren’t working in a building with walls.  My advice is: Keep the sexual commentary to yourself – and don’t try to make out with somebody at random without their verbal consent first. (Seriously.)

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

I’d say what defines me as a person (I’m human first – female second 😉 – is my need to do service for others.  I like to do nice things for people – I like to help people, and I’ve been that way since I was a teen.  In my songwriting – I always take care to write in a way that transcends gender – you won’t find many Little Dove songs making any gender references – they could easily be about a man or a woman. As a female – I feel that writing songs that way is important, since many people have this idea that females should write things that are “pretty” – I try to show that something can be aggressive and gritty and raw, but still be beautiful.

Most attractive qualities in people?  The ability to listen – and the ability to think things through.  Drive and passion are also huge – not everybody’s belly is burning with fire – but if you find people who have that – you can consider yourself lucky.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

I’m working on a jazz piano project (yes!) of all things with a friend of mine – we head into the studio next week and I look forward to having some new material to share.  We’re re-imagining Jazz versions of some of my favorite rock songs.  I’m pretty excited about it.

As far as Little Dove goes – I did a single a few months back with this awesome guitarist named Yogi Lonich.  The song is called Devil’s Breath. Devil’s Breath is a street drug in South America – and I saw a VICE documentary about it – and it inspired a song. It’s on our Bandcamp page. Check it out:

http://littledove.bandcamp.com/track/devils-breath

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Bee

 

Bee is an indie-folk singer/songwriter living in London. She grew up in Guildford, where she spent her free time dancing, singing and acting, having attended Italia Conti, Guildford School of Acting and the Academy of Contemporary Music. While at university Bee took up the guitar and began writing her own music and performing. She has continued ever since; recently at venues such as The Bedford in Balham and Dingwalls in Camden. She competed in the regional finals of Open Mic UK, was featured on 96.4 Eagle Radio and in the Surrey Advertiser, Guildford Dragon and Southwest Londoner newspapers.

Bee believes that music is a way to understand or escape life. For her, it is her way of understanding and expressing it, and so lyrics and melody are used to connect with the audience. With such bright things ahead of this artist, she is one to watch.

You are from my ‘neck of the woods’ (Surrey): Are there enough opportunities (for songwriters/singers in Surrey) – what would you say to new artists coming through (to encourage them)?

Guildford is a great place for musicians.  It’s the home of the Academy of Contemporary Music which I attended when I was younger and plenty of venues which hold live music, such as The Boileroom (sic.).   I would say to new artists to grab every opportunity to perform – there’s no such thing as too much practise and I know I improve every time and it’s great to try out any new material in front of live audiences.  Music isn’t an easy avenue but we are all in it because we love it and to be able to share that is so powerful.

I love your new material (and cover versions). Any plans for an E.P. or album?

Yes! I’m planning my first E.P. at the moment so watch this space…

Your social media numbers are rising; you have played some awesome gigs (this year): what have been your highlights from 2015?

It’s been a fantastic year so far. My favourite gig was playing at the Bedford.  It’s such a iconic venue where some incredible artists have played and I was so proud to be one of them.  At the same time, the year is only half way through, and it keeps getting better.

I know you have a great range of influences and favourite artists. Which act/acts have meant most to you/inspired you to take up music?

I’ve always had a huge passion for music; it’s always played such a pivotal role in my life, and there are so many artists who have influenced me throughout my life, however, the reason I have chosen to pursue music isn’t because of a particular artist.  It is because of how happy it truly makes me and I love to be able to share it with other people.

Your songwriting seems to resonate and speak (to everyone). What influences your writing process: heartache and relationships; dreams and ambitions- what would you say characterises a Bee composition?

I write about what’s going on in my life at the time.  My songs are incredibly personal and a true expression of my thoughts and feelings.  A typical ‘Bee composition’ usually goes like this… I sit down with my guitar and start playing around with chords.  Suddenly something just ‘fits’.  The lyrics then fall out onto the page as if out of nowhere.  I usually then reflect on what I have written, figuring out what it means to me and so every time I write a song- it reveals something and helps me grow.


Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

One of my oldest loves is Carole King.  Her life and talent is so inspiring and have a huge admiration for her.  I would also hugely recommend the musical Beautiful and definitely to any aspiring songwriters.  Favourite female album still goes to KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope. There are such beautiful lyrics and emotions in so many of her songs.  My other favourite female artist has to be Ellie Goulding – she is a great role model to all her fans and writes incredible music.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

I’m a huge fan of Lapsley and  Pheobe Ryan who are rising stars on the indie music scene – definitely give them a listen if you haven’t already!

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music? If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

I have come across various people in the industry who have tried to take advantage on the basis of my being young and female; however, I don’t believe that it is any different in any other industry or sector anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately sexism is still a fact of life even in the 21st century and a topic that I am very passionate about.  I believe we are a long way off eradicating sexism and it’s necessary to keep raising awareness and standing up to the problem.  To all young girls entering the industry, it is crucial to keep your wits about you and don’t be scared to say no if something doesn’t feel right.

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

There are certain aspects of femininity which I love: dressing up, painting my nails, going shopping; but in fact, I wouldn’t say I am defined by being a woman.  Actually, I would hope I am not defined by anything except my beliefs and values.  I believe I am constantly growing and developing and that we are also a part of everything around us.  I find the most attractive qualities are honesty, openness, integrity and most importantly, passion – that’s what keeps things interesting 😉

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

It’s Friday night and so there’s only 6 words I have for you: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture“…

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Abi Utley (One Half of Issimo)

 

For you (and Issimo: the duo she fronts with Marc Otway) is keeping you busy: what is life/plans like for you guys? What is coming up?

At the moment we are extremely busy, we are very lucky, we have recently shot our fan-funded music video for our next single The Coldest Queen– which I produced and acted in.  I am in the process of editing it at the moment (but we are busting at the seams to show everyone).  Shortly after its release we will be putting our first ever E.P. out there- so we are also busy preparing for that.  Plus, gigging and writing new material…

As a singer/writer you err towards positive and uplifting music- intended to get people singing. Do you worry about the amount of negative/heartbroken music about, or is it a necessary side (of music)?

Personally I love heartbreak tunes. I have a broad taste in music and enjoy Etta James, Otis Redding and Amy Winehouse- when I am alone or in a certain mood.  However a lot of the time, as you know Sam, I teach Zumba: I am hearing world sounds of Salsa, Reggeaton, Merengue and Cumbia -and it ignites a passion for rhythm in me that makes it hard for me to stand still.  Marc is an excellent pop writer and arranger, and together we fuse (our interests and create music) that hopefully takes our audience on an uplifting adventure- and gets them moving too.

Hailing from Yorkshire- a county that houses the likes of Jen Armstrong- it seems conducive to great/original music. What is it (about the county) that produces incredible music/musicians?

Maybe it’s the milk from the Yorkshire cows?  Yorkshire folk are very lucky (to have The Leeds College of Music).  Although I didn’t study there, most of our musicians do or did: Marc did (as did Jen); the tutors are some of the best in their field (and the courses are intense).  I have been for the odd singing lesson and found it was the (best thing I ever did for my vocal health) and technique.

You have inspired a lot of singers/artists around the U.K. (believe me). What would you say to anyone coming through: advice on how to approach music/the business?

Hmmm, really?  Ha.  Well, I suppose, you have to be willing to work hard (that’s a given) and be very thick-skinned.

A lot of female singers have rather samey/predictable voices- yours seems very unique and stand-out. What music inspired you growing up; who are your idols?

Ha ha, may have already answered this.  I watch Etta James live videos (on Youtube) and wish I had her voice.  Growing up I was really in to Alicia Keys and Bonnie Tyler.  I suffered with nodules from the age of about 19 – and didn’t sing again till I was 26.  It took me a while to find my voice: singing lessons really helped.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys and Norah Jones- all got me through certain times in my life. Oh not forgetting Tina Turner!  I can watch her early stuff (in awe) and want to be her- an amazing woman who had to put up with a lot of sh*t (but still gave out-of-this-world performances)

Any new female artists you would recommend?

I love Steph Fraser: her voice is so soothing and her songs are ace.

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music? If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

Yes, we are getting there, though more girls are picking up instruments and becoming good at them. Inspiration and role models are needed at grass roots.

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

I like to think I have a decent sense of humour: I like to laugh and like people who make me laugh and who also like to laugh.  I find kindness, compassion and reason attractive qualities.  As for qualities I desire from others?  Patience- as I can be a bit forgetful and dopey!

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

Fans of ISSIMO: thanks you for being supportive and patient with us; sit tight it’s coming -‘The Adventures of ISSIMO’.  Hey, I am always saying check them out (but go and check out) The Cat Empire right now.  Try Still Young… turn it up full-blast and skank out- then buy the albums! xxxxxxxxx

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Emily Kay

 

Hi Emily.  I have always loved your (very unique and distinct) voice: which artists/albums have inspired that?

I was definitely inspired by older Jazz and Soul artists: Billie Holiday, Etta James, Miles Davis; and then I discovered Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Erykah Badu.  I am definitely a ‘90s R&B music fan too; so Mary J. Blige .

There are a lot of (other) young, black (and Asian) artists coming through. How important do you (think it is) to have diversity in the music industry?

My inspirations are an example of why I feel music has no age limit.  Jill Scott, Angie Stone and Erykah Badu sing with such deep revelation (on love and relationships).  It’s about the lyrics and that’s all I care about.  You have a lot of young artists coming through that are releasing commercial music (to get you moving in the clubs).  However, within a week there is a new club hit out (and I’ve forgotten last week’s song).  It’s so important to have diversity in music.  It doesn’t matter what nationality you are but do you make ‘good’ music?!

Songs like Soldier and Hold Me Closely (released last year) were among my favourite (that year). Do you see a new E.P. or album on the horizon?

Oh thank you.  Soldier and Hold Me Closely were key releases.  It was important for me to express the progress of my music (and get people excited to hear more).  Soldier was intimate- some say slightly sad- but the lyrics are real and true to life.  Hold Me Closely was popular between both men and women, as it was sensual and pulled at your heart-strings.  Of course, I plan to release an album one-day soon- maybe even release another single; in the meantime, you just have to keep posted.

If you had to sum yourself up (to a new potential fan) or provide a lesser-known secret, what would that/those be?

Oh wow this is a hard question!  Well I’m quite a private person, so no lesser-known secrets ha-ha.  I would firstly (ask my potential fan) who are their inspirations, and then I can explain where I come from as an artist.  It’s important to express to your fans your story.  My story is a simple one.  I have been on the quest for real-love, but along the way I’ve been hurt so many times (but I never give up on love).

You are based out of London (and hail from Birmingham): how important is the city (to you as a musician) – does it inspire your creative processes?

London definitely helps artists/musicians get exposure, than I would if I still lived in Birmingham.  I love the London buzz.  There are so many live gigs and events (to help new artists) and give them a platform.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

Mary J Blige – Share My World and My Life, Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, Emelie Sande – Our Version of Events

Any new female artists you would recommend?

Yes: Emelie Sande, Mary J Blige and Sade

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music? If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

Of course there is a gender inequality in society (as well as) the music industry.  If you look in the work-place: how many women are company directors?  In the music industry, if you look at the iTunes chart (and count how many women are represented) vs. men.  You have female musicians out there (like myself) playing instruments- and yet this is not reflected in current charts.  The days of Alicia Keys was enough it seems.  We need to see that real musicians still make the charts- that’s why I love Rudimental.

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

Your character defines you. It is who you are.  What will people say about me tomorrow- if (God forbid) I died today? I have a bubbly character (and I’m very emotional) and deep at the same time.  I am a strong, black woman (with love for God and things that are ‘right’).  I dislike injustice and I feel the music industry is unequal.  It doesn’t represent society- where there are still sexy black female musicians out there with class and morals like the days of Lauryn Hill and India Irie, rather than black females with a big booty and great lyrics- consuming the commercial industry.  Life isn’t fair- I understand that- but as Dr. Maya Angelou says: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.  I continue in my lane- and those who relate to me- can follow my love and passion for music.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

This is a really good question. It would have to be the lyrics in Mary J. Blige’s – Be Happy.  Mary says “… How can I love somebody else if I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time to let go?”/“I just wanna be so, so happy but the answer lies in me”/“I ask for the sign from the sweet Lord above I know the answer is in front of me..”  So my words of wisdom are: God first; love yourself and believe in (yourself).  You can do whatever you dreamed to do, don’t let anyone stop you.

Thanks Sam for all your love and support over the years. You support never goes un-noticed. Thank you  (Sam: had to keep that in- obviously) xx

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Hannah Dorman

 

Your music is quite hard-hitting and Rock/Country-influenced.  What music/musicians do you particularly admire?  Who were your idols growing up?

I used to listen to a lot of Anastasia, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne and Delta Goodrem.  My grandparents lived in Cornwall (which was a 5-hour journey).  We’d often visit, and during these long journeys we’d always have those artists’ albums playing.  I got to know every word, every ad-lib, and would belt them out at the age of 7 (or so).  Not that I really had much of a singing voice at the time… but I definitely had the drive and ambition!  Latterly, KT Tunstall, Kelly Clarkson and The Pretty Reckless (have played a big part in my music direction)- strong females solo artists!

You have gained a lot of great press/support (from fans especially).  Has social media played a big part in that?

Yes, definitely!  Social media has always been a huge part of my musical career and I love it.  I’m good at keeping in touch with my fans.  I’ve found it helps keep me grounded too.  When I talk to fans who have followed me since I was 15, it really helps motivate me when things feel like they’re going no where.  Knowing I have people all over the world who have followed me from the beginning and have continually supported me is amazing.  I also used Kickstarter to fund the recording of my last EP, I wouldn’t have been able to raise the money if it wasn’t for my relationship with my supporters over social media!  Some people go home and play games on their phones… I update my social media and spend time promoting myself, I get the same buzz and ‘obsession’ (if you like) as people do from games!

Few songwriters have your take on life/that unique voice.  What inspires/compels you most (as a songwriter)?

I write about stuff that’s happened to me.  You’ll find that (like at the moment) I haven’t written as much because I’m pretty happy!  But when this happens I go about writing in a different way.  For example, I wrote a song about moving house years ago- but everyone thought it was a love song, because I wrote about the life I spent there and my sadness of letting go.  You’ll find a lot of my songs are a play on words and aren’t always what they obviously sound like!  I do very well writing when I’m upset though, it’s like therapy!

It is clear you have a good bond (with your band-mates).  Are you guys brewing some new music (an album maybe?) for 2015/’16?

Yes, I’ve had a number of band line-ups, but these guys I’ve studied with at A.C.M., and they’re my friends as well as work mates.  We spent a lot of time together in the studio in May, and my stomach was aching from laughing so much.  Not only are they good guys, they’re great musicians and they get everything about the ‘Hannah Dorman’ brand- I couldn’t ask for more really!  I’m releasing something in Autumn… keep your eyes peeled.. !

If you, Hannah Dorman, could choose a perfect life, answer me this: perfect city/location?  Five albums you would take with you?  One person you (would take) with you?

City: London

5 albums: McFly Radio:ACTIVE, You Me At Six Sinners Never Sleep, Mallory Knox Asymmetry, KT Tunstall Tiger Suit, Kings Of Leon Come Around Sundown.

Person: I couldn’t choose! I have such a close group of friends and family.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

KT Tunstall, Kelly Clarkson, The Pretty Reckless, Anastasia, Avril Lavigne.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

I haven’t listened to too many new female artists, but I’m intrigued by Tove Lo.  I’ve only listened to a couple of her songs on her album, mainly know her from her single Talking Body– but I think she’d be an interesting artist to follow over the next year or so!

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music?  If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

I know there was the whole thing about the Reading and Leeds line up- when someone left only the bands with females in on the poster- there weren’t many at all.  But, there are many female pop artists around and not as many solo males (that aren’t singer songwriters like Tom Odell, James Bay etc).  Then again, there’s so many male bands, but there aren’t many female-fronted bands that don’t sound like Paramore, so it swings both ways.  So I guess there’s a spot in the market for a pop/rocky singer songwriter like me, a mixture of the two!

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

As a female artist, my music and persona is very honest, on stage, off stage, in videos or in person I’m who I am. I think that’s what defines me best… me! I think honesty and being yourself is the best quality anyone can have.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

I’ve had Shut Up And Dance stuck in my head all day, and it’s a cracking tune- such a pick-me-up when you’re feeling down!

Follow:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/HannahDormanUK?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/hannahdorman

 

Ruby Lane

 

What attracted you (to take up) Vintage-edged Pop- as opposed to more traditional Pop/Rock sounds?

I’ve been singing Jazz and Blues for over a decade so can’t help but incorporate influences from those into my music, which often gives it a vintage edge without meaning to.  But also, while I love those traditional pop sounds, I just love the extra sass that comes with a bit of retro!  Vintage is timeless, and always comes back round, so fingers-crossed my music will stand the test of time too…

Your music is designed to put smiles on faces; get feet tapping: with so many (contemporaries) erring towards introspective/emotional, what keeps you so upbeat/optimistic?

Introspection is all very well, and there are so many songwriters who do a great job of making honest, emotional music, but to be honest I feel a bit of an indulgent bastard if I dwell too much on that sort of stuff.  Optimism comes much more naturally to me in my life and music.  I believe that being ‘glass half-full’ is a choice and it’s definitely how I prefer to live my life.

Leeds is producing a huge amount (of unique and spectacular musicians). What is it (about the city) that encourages this trend?

Agreed – there’s so much talent here.  The music college has a lot to answer for – it turns out hundreds of talented graduates every year, and it’s testament to Leeds that it keeps lots of those graduates in the city; adding new talent into the mix so it’s never stagnant.

Which artists/acts in the modern scene inspire you- and are catching your ears?

Well I love a great Electro. singer sort of act, but also have a thing for ’60s-inspired bands.  I’m in the midst of a hardcore festival season, and this week I’ve been watching Future Islands, Blur, Temples and Teleman – all were awesome.  On my hit list for Glastonbury next week are Future Islands again (the front man is worth seeing twice), Father John Misty, Ibeyi, FKA twigs; Mr. Lionel Richie and of course George Clinton and Parliament, Funkadelic and the Family Stone.

Any plans for new material: a new album or E.P. for 2015?

An E.P. is in order for this year I think!  I’ve got a ton of songs ready to go which is exciting – I’ve never had songs to choose from before!  It will include the couple of songs already on YouTube as well as some fully finger-clicking full band songs, which have more of a ’50s twist.  It’ll be ready before my birthday in November if it kills me.

Which female artists/albums- past or present- have inspired you?

Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone inspired me so much.  I learned every lyric, every inflection, researched the back catalogue, and I never stopped being amazing by their talent.  More recently Amy Winehouse, Caro Emerald and Lianne La Havas get massive kudos from me for all they did to bring Jazz and/or Swing into the mainstream.  And Lianne just because I love her too much.

Any new female artists you would recommend?

Ibeyi are top of my list of recommendations.  They’re twins, French-Cuban, but they sing in a mixture of English and Yoruba, an old Nigerian language . It’s sort of Electro. meets Afro-Jazz, super chilled and interesting – love it.  Also, not so new now but anyone who hasn’t checked out Agnes Obel must do.  Especially live – her band of gorgeous string playing goddesses must be seen!

There is (gender inequality) in society; do you think there (is the same issue) in music? If so, what (do we need to) do to change this?

There’s definitely gender inequality in music.  It’s just an amplified version of the problems in wider society; women are sexualised and objectified, a pretty face to be looked at, and with expectations of how we should look, act, dress.  So we’re stuck with a problem: do we play the game and dress in the sexy way audiences expect to make sure we get ahead?  Or do we eschew the norm, cover up, and make a stand?  I’m not sure we’re ready for the latter but that’s what should happen, and we, the audience, need to be prepared to look past it and seek out the talent, not just the sexy women..

What would you say defines you as a woman (and female musician); what qualities do you desire from others- what are the most attractive qualities in people?

What I hope defines me are energy and good vibes!  In life and in music, or at least that’s what I’m going for… I love adventure and that’s what I look for in others – people who are full of energy, and general up-for-it-ness.  I also find an instant friend in anyone who loves cat gifs.

Finally: if you can offer some words to your fans; you get to pick any song (either your favourite or the one that suits your current mood) – name it…

It’s too hard to pick a favourite song but listen to Age by Lianne La Havas right now!  It’s so simple and has the straightforward, straight-talking narrative that I like – and is sassy as fuck.  And once you’re finished with that, put on Kiss Me Quick by yours truly.

@rubylanemusic

Ruby is a singer-songwriter, lover of all things soul, jazz and blues, and vintage addict. She been singing for a couple of decades and writing music for at least one decade, performing as herself and also previously as one quarter of female barberpop group Scarlet Street.

Described once by BBC 6’s Tom Robinson as sounding like ‘a northern Lily Allen meets Ella’, she has shared stages with the likes of Ruby Turner, Mark Knopfler and the Sugababes. She trained at Leeds College of Music and frequently supports feminist and LGBTQ causes.

Ruby’s songs take inspiration from her misadventures in love and sex, are always finger clicking with an optional hint of sauce, with frequent winks and infrequent sentimentality.

A new E.P. is on its way in 2015

 

 

Follow:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/rubylanemusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/RubyLaneMusic

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/ruby-lane-music

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