PHOTO CREDIT: @richard.burke
SHE is, as her Twitter bio will attest…
a “Music Maker, Photo Taker, Booty Shaker”. More than that; Kiera Court is one of the most exciting young talents I am hearing right now. Days after announcing a new E.P., Angry Shoes & Boat Face, I was curious, not only about the title itself, but the kind of songs that will appear on the collection. Previous tracks such as Wolf have found Kiera favourably compared with Laura Marling – which I ask about in the interview. I get an insight into the upbringing and musical education of a stunning young talent who has impressed critics, gig-goers and fans alike.
Kiera discusses her hometown, Chelmsford, and whether there is a good scene for musicians. She gives her reaction to the General Election result and reveals if she is a more confident artist than previously; the albums that have affected her most (as a human and songwriter) and some great advice for any new songwriters emerging at the moment.
Hi Kiera. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m not too bad. It’s been pretty good thank you!
What was your reaction to the General Election result? Were you quite disappointed? How do you think it will affect young musicians?
I think my reaction mirrors the nations. I gawped a lot and thought “What the actual fresh hell have we got going on here, then.”
British politics is like a really bad joke except I’m struggling to fake a smile. It leaves young musicians in limbo. There’s an undertone of fear – but it’s mainly upset.
Being able to grant your music legs is hard enough: you don’t need a political party to sh*t on them too.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Kiera Court and I’m a singer-songwriter from Chelmsford, Essex.
I am, basically, the least-Essex-thing in Chelmsford (apart from John Lewis).
PHOTO CREDIT: @richardjburke
You have an E.P. coming up, Angry Shoes & Boat Face. What can you tell us about that? Where did THAT title come from?!
I knew this title would raise multiple eyebrows! It’s baffling, right?
It’s, basically, a Twitter meme that went a little too far. I posted a photo from a gig, trying out the E.P. songs, and it just so happened I was sporting an angry face and boat shoes.
A follower picked up on it and it occurred to me that, actually, that was my permanent state whilst singing the songs.
I guess it’s comically-personal. I always look pissed off when I’m enthused and dislike trainers.
Has it been quite hard putting it together? What kind of themes and ideas will be included on the E.P.?
It’s taken up a lot of energy and been a challenge-and-a-half to independently write and put together an E.P. I’ve been dabbling in and out of an industry bubble and a creative one; which some may argue isn’t fair – they’re right. But it’s okay because I’ve learnt how to balance it.
There are three songs on Angry Face & Boat Shoes: Joanna, Breath and Hot Mess. Each song is about a person who had a sufficient amount of impact on shaping the emotional side of my early-twenties – I’m nearly twenty-one now.
They’re all compiled into addictive Indie-Pop songs which, on the surface, can seem light-heartened – but each person, each song, also addresses a wider social concept faced by a millennial – in a world where the way we interact has changed so much. For example, modern love, friendship and our work ethic.
How would you say your new E.P. differs to your previous work? Are you a more confident artist than you were a matter of months ago?
There are similarities but a definite noticeable change and improvement in confidence. I’m growing all the time and believe that I will have grown even more in a couple of years – and that’s exciting. The songs are different in the sense that I’m playing with a full-band – a mixture of different instruments are carrying my voice though which creates a different listening experience as opposed to just a girl with an electric guitar.
You played Bassment a couple of weeks back. What was that experience like? Any cool gigs in the pipeline?
Bassment was great.
I supported Secret Company for the second time – it was their final show as a band; unfortunately, which is a shame, but they went with a bang. Bloody love playing with them. I always love playing Bassment as it’s round the corner from my mum’s and the sound engineer – Kristan Polley – is ace. He helped record my E.P., actually, at his studio in Essex – so I’m explicitly bias and he won’t let me come round again and play with his brother’s dog if I don’t plug Motionsonic Music at the iStage Studio. SO THERE WE GO, KRISTAN. HAPPY NOW?!
As for future gigs…yes! I’m excited to play another Sofar soon – I volunteer for them, too, and they’re like an extended family. I’m supporting my friends Youth Club and Martin Luke Brown at Chinnery’s, Southend in July (21st) and playing the festival 110 Above in August (5th) alongside some other pals – and just all-round talented humans.
Can you reveal the artists that inspired you growing up and how you came into music?
I wish I could say I grew up in a musical environment – where my family would encourage singing at Christmas and my dad had a massive record collection, but it’d be far from the truth. It’s not a bad thing: it’s just something that’s obvious when I chat to other musicians whose parents were in a band or something in school.
I learnt electric guitar before acoustic when I was twelve-years-old – purely off the basis of fancying anyone who knew how to play one and Billie Joe Armstrong. I had a huge poster of him in my room holding the American Idiot grenade, alongside my dolls. Quite the contrast, really. Probably licked it once or twice too. The poster, not the dolls.
My mum listened to a lot of Norah Jones so I stole her album and uploaded it onto my MP3 – and instantly fell in love.
My MP3 player only a small amount of memory so I was restricted to a two-album cap: Norah Jones – Feels Like Home and Avril Lavigne – Let Go. This was still my Emo. phase.
I stopped playing the guitar throughout my teens the more self-aware I became; which is a tragedy in itself really. Still, I basked in Queen, Elvis Presley; Roxette… that’s what my parents listened to. Although, it all went a bit tits-up when my mum put on The Corrs.
I played a little through my teens – in the background at school concerts – but fully picked up the guitar again at eighteen. I paired it with adolescent diary notes; transforming them into songs. I, then, plucked up the courage to travel to London with a friend and try them out at my first open mic. night in a gay pub.
Some have compared your voice to Laura Marling. Is she someone who you are a big fan of and have a connection with?
That is a huge thing for people to say. I adore Laura Marling – mainly for her writing ability. She is so poetic and lyrically outstanding.
Her words interlock and fit perfectly and paint pictures; she tells stories and her voice is, quite literally, Soothing. I have no physical connection but most definitely an emotional one.
Chelmsford is your home. What is the music scene like there? Is it quite active or are there more opportunities in London?
The Chelmsford music scene is a bit on the dead-side in the sense that it’s basically already deceased. The only credible thing about Chelmsford is the Bassment. They host wicked blues nights, too. We get V Festival but that’s V Festival. There’s definitely more opportunities in London which is part of why I moved.
In terms of the venues and vibe of Chelmsford; where would you suggest musicians and music-lovers go if they want to check out hot new artists?
I can really only say the Bassment in Chelmsford. We’ve had a home-grown talent such as Ratboy play there – as well as Maverick Sabre coming to jam for us, too.
It’s really close to the station and main taxi area so you can safely stumble home. I’m all about the safety.
What does the future hold in terms of new recordings and general plans?
I’m aiming to gig as much as I can really: play my new music live and just get around a bit because the most thrilling part of being a musician is the live performance and the possibility of where you’re able to take it. I’m always writing.
This summer will just be spent indulging in festivals, playing and going. I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I know it involves music.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I recommend checking out The Amazons – although you’ve probably already heard of them, hopefully.
Dermot Kennedy, too – he’s a mesmerising Irish musician.
Ten Tonnes is another one to watch.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most; which would they be and why?
Norah Jones – Feels Like Home
This woman’s voice generates enough warmth (that it) lights mine. Cheesy I know. It’s ironic as, because this album reminds me of my mum, it really does feel like home.
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
THIS MAN IS SO, SO UTTERLY MUSICALLY COMPELLING AND DIVERSE. Oh, my. I remember waiting all night for this album to be released.
He creates euphoric and holy experiences when he performs and creates an enigmatic tenderness with his voice.
The Lumineers – The Lumineers
The first gig I went to with a non-related acquaintance was The Lumineers at Brixton Academy. Langhorne Slim and The Law were the support and they were exceptional. The Lumineers were something else though – Wesley Schultz was an outstanding frontman throughout the entire night and was so humble. The majority of phones were turned off – which for a gig is rare these days. Everyone was simply enchanted.
I know most of the words to the whole album. They cleverly yet daintily sing about a variety of subjects I’m unfamiliar with so they’re pretty educating.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
It is what it is.
It’s going to be tough as that’s the music industry for you so I would say to just please (please, please) be creating music for the right reasons: because you love it; because it’s your passion and it’s how you feel you translate best.
Music is hardly something you can pursue halfheartedly and you must have a strong head on your shoulders. There will be a lot of nos and a few yes’. Both will shape you.
PHOTO CREDIT: @richard.burke
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Little Comets – My Boy William
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