I Am Willow
MY love and respect for Maltese music is established and boundless…
in no small part due to the huge diversity and quality. Whilst Malta might not have a huge scene – something addressed in the interview – I Am Willow is someone who not only compels one to think deeply about Malta but music in general. Her debut single, Satellite, is out in December and has already gained the approval of a certain Annie Lennox. The Eurythmics legend has lauded I Am Willow and recongised her talent. It is early days but there are signs to suggest she will be a prominent and original talent of the future. I was lucky to ask her about Malta and the differences London provides; insight into Satellite and what we can expect over the coming months.
Hi. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m better than ever. My debut single is coming out in December and I’m already getting so much support. It’s been a week of preparation for my live shows and of songwriting. I’ve even had the chance to see my friends, which these days, doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. So it’s been a really good week!
For those new to your music: can you give us an introduction, please?
Of course. I consider my music Cinematic/Pop.
The concept to everything I write relates to being able to look at the world and see it through your own unique perspective.
In my opinion, this is what makes the world so interesting and so beautiful – but I don’t think we’re often encouraged to really be ourselves. I guess you could say my music represents a gentle protest to the limitations society often brings upon us.
You were born in Malta – a nation that has quite a thriving music scene. What was it like growing up there and how does the music scene differ to that of the U.K.?
Well. I wouldn’t call the Maltese music scene ‘thriving’ – although, I believe the island carries some incredibly talented singers and musicians. I often hear people say “there must be something in the water”. However, the Maltese are extremely rooted in
However, the Maltese are extremely rooted in tradition which, I feel, limits a certain creative way of thinking.
Before I moved to London I used to feel as if I had to fit into a box in order to be understood. In fact, London was quite the culture shock. It shook me awake! I believe I truly found myself here in London.
Now based out of London, you must notice a difference. What is the city like for a young musician? Does the pace and variation of the capital help the music in any way?
Absolutely! It’s a completely different life here. I love the diversity and integration of various communities – it’s inspiring, to say the least. It’s no surprise that comparing the rush and flavour of London life to the easy going, traditional Malta has inspired the very foundation of my music. To find that special space that’s all yours (mine is under a willow tree on top of a hill) and simply watch the world the way only you can see it. There’s no right or wrong way. This process has helped me connect with myself.
There are a lot of promising female singer-songwriters emerging at the moment. How would you say you differ from them?
All I know is that I’m not trying to be someone that I’m not – and I definitely know I’m the only me around.
Satellite is released on December 16th. What can you tell us about it and the inspiration behind it?
Satellite came about due to a chance encounter. In a way it was karma. I had found a phone lying alone on a café table so I took it to the café owner. He had seen the person at the table and knew who it belonged to. I was still at my table when the phone was returned and when the café owner pointed me out Jon walked up to me to say thanks. Turned out he was a songwriter and producer who lived on my block. We booked a session and wrote Satellite. This was definitely one of the most random things that has ever happened to me!
At the time I was also getting back with my boyfriend and had all sorts of mixed feelings about it.
Writing Satellite made me realise I had to break down my walls and trust that everything would work out – and that’s what the song is about.
Will we see any new material into 2017? What are your plans for the coming year?
There’s a lot more where Satellite came from. I’ll be putting out a few more singles in 2017 and planning the follow-up E.P. It’s nonstop!
Your vocals are particularly impressive and standout. Which singers and artists were you inspired by as a youngster?
I think the first artist that really woke me up was Kate Bush. I must have been around fifteen/sixteen at the time. She was doing something I had never heard before with her voice and her songs were equally unique. That’s when my journey really started.
Annie Lennox has come out as a fan of yours. How did that make you feel? Are you a fan of her music?
Of course I’m a fan. In fact, I love to cover the Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) at my live gigs – but I never thought I’d be called in to perform privately for her. That made me feel all kinds of nervous! But, after my shaky performance she gave me a hug and offered her studio space for a while. It was amazing!
The likes of Q, BBC Introducing and The Line of Best Fit have heralded and tipped you for big things. How important are accolades like that with regards your music and your development?
To be honest, I had been so focused on writing for other artists, that when that happened to me, I was kind of taken by surprise.
It’s such a big honour and it really makes me want to live up to their expectations. I’m working harder than ever not to disappoint!
Can we see you play live anywhere in the coming months?
I’ll be performing at The Hospital Club on the 12th November; A Vin’s Night In event. It’s guest list-only so P.M. me on my Facebook page to get on the list.
Which albums, in your opinion, have been most influential with regards your music and sound?
It’s not so much albums as much as individual songs – but artists like Kevin Garrett, M83; Woodkid, Seinabo Sey and Lana Del Ray certainly played a huge part in helping me develop my own sound.
Are there any new musicians coming through you recommend we check out?
It is Halloween. Did you get involved with it at all or avoided it?
Yeah. Actually, my housemates and I carved some wicked pumpkin faces and organised a little candlelit night with friends. Our neighbours set off some amazing fireworks so we watched from the garden. One of my favourite Halloween nights to date!
For any new musicians coming through: can you give them any advice or guidance?
The main advice is to persevere. Just trust that you’ll find where you need to be and never quit.
There’s more than one way to make it. If one doesn’t work, try another way.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song (rather than your own as I’ll include it) and I’ll play it here.
Kevin Garrett – Coloring
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