Songwriter

Daisy Clark – Interview

Tuesday 6th June 2017

Daisy Clark recently became a YouTube sensation overnight with her cover of ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ which stacked up over 12 million views, and even knocked Ed Sheeran off the iTunes Singer Songwriter charts – twice!  Her channel is packed with an array of wonderful covers from the likes of Ella Henderson, Adele, Harry Styles, and The 1975; and after being picked up by Music Crowns and spending time in Mark Ronson’s studio, Daisy is now due to release her debut single ‘Worlds Away’.  Hailing from Cornwall and at the tender age of 18, Daisy has spent the majority of her youth emercing herself in music, and it’s easy to see why her talents are quickly emerging.  Being one to watch I speak with Daisy to find out more.

How long have you been singing and at what point did you realise you wanted a music career; was there anyone in particular who inspired you to pick up a guitar?

I’ve been singing since I can remember. I always participated in a lot of musical and theatrical things when I was younger, so I grew up always singing and performing and I loved it. Music was always my main focus though and I knew I wanted to be a singer. Throughout school I loved listening to Taylor Swift who is a singer songwriter… just her and a guitar which is what I wanted to do. She wrote all of her own songs which inspired me to do the same.  

Your debut single ‘Worlds Away’ has just been released, and was recorded in Mark Ronson’s studio.  How was the experience for you, and how are you feeling about the release of your single?

I love hearing songs come to life in the studio, the contrast between just me and my guitar and high quality recordings with other instruments added is amazing to see and hear. It’s been a great experience to be in such an exciting environment where amazing artists have recorded and gone on to do incredible things, so for Worlds Away to be released today on all major platforms is so exciting! I am known for my covers but I am a songwriter so being able to write my own original in such a prestigious place was so cool! I’m looking forward to hearing what my listeners think of Worlds Away as it’s quite different to my typical, mellow, acoustic songs.

How did you find the writing process, and were there any obstacles you had to overcome?

This was the first song I’ve co-written in the studio. 90% of my song are written at home in my bedroom with just me and my guitar so it was different, but it was fun to experience writing in a different way. Also, when I first started songwriting I was quite shy and didn’t like showing my songs to anyone, so to have to actually write with other people was quite intimidating at first, but it ended up being a great experience.

The single has been written through a personal experience.  How does it feel listening back knowing it represents a certain period in your life?

I wrote the song about a friend who was going through a tough relationship, and I really sympathized with this person, so decided to write some lyrics about it which I then took to the studio. A lot of my songs are written through personal experience but this one was inspired by a outside perspective. I like that as a songwriter I can write songs about other situations and experiences that listeners can interpret and relate to.

There are loads of great covers on your YouTube channel and they all sound fantastic.  Are there any personal favourites that you enjoy covering?

I recently did a cover of ‘Attention’ by Charlie Puth which I LOVE. The bass line is so funky and satisfying to play. I’m very into acoustic music, so I love being able to take and upbeat pop song, and strip it right back to show the simplistic beauty in the music and songwriting.

You covered ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and it knocked Ed Sheeran off the top of the iTunes singer songwriter charts – twice!  How did it feel to become a viral hit over night?

It was very strange waking up to a LOT of notifications and messages. I pretty much spent the day doing interviews and watching the track climb the iTunes charts which was so much fun but very surreal! Especially to be next to Ed Sheeran who is such an incredible songwriting inspiration to me. I had people like Dawn French and James Arthur contacting me, it was crazy!

Music Crowns have really helped and supported me along the way by putting me on a platform which pushed my cover on a global scale was incredible! For anyone who doesn’t know what Music Crowns is, it’s a platform for unsigned, newly signed and independent music artists to get great exposure through social media and various online platforms, I would definitely recommend that if you are an artist yourself and are looking for help in getting exposure to get in contact with Music Crowns.

If you could pick a song by any artist (past or present) that you could say you wish you had written, what would it be and why?

Probably ‘Put Your Records’ On by Corinne Bailey Rae. It’s such a good song that everyone can sing along to, and I adore the lyrics. For example: “Summer came like cinnamon, so sweet”… it’s just so good, haha.

Are there any artists that you would like to collaborate with if you had the opportunity?

Definitely Taylor Swift, as she inspired me to start songwriting and learn guitar! That would be amazing, however I would be very star struck to meet her in person, but it would be an incredible experience.

It looks as though you’ve got a busy schedule over the summer with many live dates and festivals planned.  Are there any venues in particular that you’re looking forward to performing at?

I love local festivals… I just performed at the Great Estate Festival which was incredible. I’m also super exited to play at Boardmasters and Tunes In The Dunes! They’re amazing festivals in Cornwall which are right on the beach. I am also getting to perform at the Royal Albert Hall at the end of the month, which really is a dream come true, there have been so many amazing artists perform there so to follow in their footsteps really is so great!

Finally a random question, but when viewing your blog my cursor turns in to a jar of Nutella.  Is there any reason for that? :)

Because who doesn’t love Nutella?? Haha, there’s no particular reason I just really like Nutella… and just food really!

Connect with Daisy via her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Daisy Clark is managed by Music Crowns, an online platform for independent and unsigned musicians. Worlds Away is available now on iTunes, Spotify and other major music distribution channels.

Chey – Interview

Thursday 18th May 2017

Hailing from South Wales, Chey is an outstanding singer/songwriter who has been on the music scene for many years.  From performing at charity gigs in her hometown to working with artists and producers from around the world, Chey is ready to really push things further and make a career out of her music.  Her latest single ‘She’s Got You’ has quickly picked up interest, and rightly so; it’s a soulful and heartfelt track with a stunning video to match.  I was completely taken in by Chey upon first listen so I had to take the opportunity to find out more – I’m certainly itching for an EP release and can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Please could you tell me about yourself, where it all started and how you came to be a singer/songwriter?

I come from a small Welsh village in South Wales and I started singing at a very young age. One of my earliest memories was aged 5, in a Christmas Carol service in a local church where I sang “little donkey”, I felt quite at home on a stage even back then. About fifteen years ago I started writing songs by putting my feelings and experiences down on paper and then putting them to music. Recently I’ve been working with artists from all around the world, I love to collaborate with other songwriters, there’s something quite magical about two people from different corners of the world coming together to make something special.

Your voice is simply wonderful. When did you realise you could sing and wanted to make something of it?

Oh thank you! I’ve been singing as far back as I can remember, singing has always been a big part of my life, it’s something I really enjoy and I’m very passionate about too! I’ve always wanted to make a career out of music but sometimes life just happens and dreams are put on hold. I’m ready to make it happen and show the world my music.

What’s your writing process and how do you draw upon your inspirations?

Usually during the writing process the music comes first, well most of the time, and inspiration comes sometimes in the most unusual places, inspiration is anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I can be in the studio for hours just catching up and having a good old chat with my producer and nothing happens. Then other times I can go in and he plays a chord and we write a song within an hour, that’s why I love music, it’s so unpredictable!

How do you know when a song is finished and is there anyone you can bounce ideas off to give you any advice?

Even when you think a song is finished there’s always something you can do to make it better. After a studio session I like to live with the track for a week or so to really feel the song, I play it to all my close friends and family to see what they think and then I go back to my producer and we bounce ideas off of each other to see if we can make it better.

Your latest single ‘She’s Got You’ has been released for a couple of weeks now. How are you finding the response so far?

She’s Got You was released on 27th April and was premiered in the Huff Post. So far the response to the new single has been amazing, it’s had over 41,000 streams on Spotify and I’m so grateful for all the support that I’ve had with it. I’ve also just released a club mix which is available to stream and download now on all digital platforms. There’s also a really cool lyric video to go with it, which you can check out on my YouTube channel now!

It comes across very expressive and personal as though it has been written from the heart. Have you drawn upon personal experiences?

When expressing a song the words and music must have passion and sincerity, even though this song isn’t from a personal experience I try and place myself in the moment and express how I would feel telling the story. People need to relate to the song and the best way to do that is to mean every word and sing it from the heart.

How did you come up with the idea with the video for the track, and how did it feel seeing it finished? It compliments the song really well.

First of all I got in touch with the guys from Video Ink, myself and the creative director then had a long conversation about the song and the meaning behind the song and how we could tie that into the video. We came up with the idea of contemporary dancers, which I really loved. All the choreography and shooting was done in one day, I think this brought out the best in the dancers and really allowed them to feel the song and just dance with the emotions they felt at that time, which I thought worked really well.

What’s next for you and have you been working on an EP or album release?

I’m back in the studio now working on new music and new ideas, and maybe an album release very soon!

Can we look forward to any tour dates? It would be great to catch you performing live.

There will definitely be tour dates coming soon, you can keep up to date with the latest news and performances on my social media.

Finally, what other artists are you listening to at the moment and do you have any recommendations?

I listen to lots of genres and lots of artists but my favourite at the moment is Rag and Bone Man, his voice is pure velvet.

Connect with Chey via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Calum Foad – Interview

Tuesday 14th March 2017

It’s not quite Spring just yet, but I’m sat here in my office looking out the window to bright blue skies and can’t help thinking how much I’ve missed the Summer sun.  Undecided on what to listen to on such a cheerful day, I’m introduced to Reading born Calum Foad and his latest single You & I.  Trying his hand at the pop scene, with plenty of charm and an uplifting sound, I’m quickly finding myself singing along to a very infectious song.  Likened to Jake Miller and Olly Murs, and inspired by chart-topper Ed Sheeran, it’s easy to understand why Calum aims to be destined for pop success.

Hello! Could you tell me a bit more about yourself? How long have you been playing music, and who or what inspired you to pursue it as a career.

Of course! I’m Calum, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Reading (almost feels like an introduction worthy of a Paddy McGuinness TV show). I started playing piano aged 5 and guitar aged 8, but I didn’t start singing until I was doing GCSE music though. As cliched as it is, in the current climate Ed Sheeran was the inspiration to pursue a career in music. I was very much doing the singer/songwriter thing as he released The A Team, had 1000 people turn up to a free show he played at Camden Barfly and subsequently signed a major label deal. He was THE man!

Your single ‘You & I’ has been out for almost a month now.  What have been the reactions so far and how responsive are you finding the audience to your new material?

The reaction has been amazing, far exceeded anything I could’ve expected. The reach has extended beyond just friends and friends of friends, which is amazing! People finding me off the back of things such as the ‘This Morning’ fashion VT is also incredible… Such a bizarre feeling! I hadn’t released anything in quite a few years, so very much went from a standing start but people are really getting on board.

What’s your writing process and how do you know when a song is ready?

It entirely depends on the track, if I’m writing on my own I tend to write very quickly in short bursts. I’m not someone who’ll sit at a piano and play until something comes out, I’ll have an idea pop into my head and run with it. If I’m in a co-writing session, however, it’s a very different dynamic as you bounce ideas off the other person. Generally speaking, I’m my own worst critic, so what I do now is demo anything I feel to be ‘half decent’ and then let my producer hear it.

Are you working on putting an EP or album together and what can we expect from it?

Now that would be telling! I will say, however, I’m heading back over to America to do some more recording with Marc later on in the year.

How was the experience of working with Marc McClusky, and how easy was it to get him on board to help produce your music?  

Marc’s an incredible producer and all round lovely guy! The Marc thing came about completely by accident… He’d had some involvement with an app used for triggering backing tracks/samples live – I added him on Facebook to ask some questions about it, he checked out my earlier music, it went from there.

Who did you work with to create the music video for your single ‘You & I’ and who came up with the idea for it? Did you work alongside a team or did you create the idea yourself.

Both the You & I video and the upcoming single video were directed by a dude called Chris Porter, he’s an absolute genius. He really likes to think outside of the box (even if that did involve me having powder paint fired at me whilst bouncing on a trampoline – health and safety eat your heart out). I wanted something vibrant and fun and that idea is what Chris brought to the table.

Being in the early stages of your music career, how are you finding the whole process and have you been given any lasting advice?

Trying to carve out a career in the music industry is no easy thing to do, it’s something that if you really want to pursue, you’ve got to pursue it at the cost of literally everything else. On the flip side, for all the down moments it’s such a gratifying feeling when someone comes up to you and says something as simple as ‘I really like your track’… I MADE that! It’s a feeling that I (imagine) is akin to having a child… You’ve got to take the moments of pride with the moments of them metaphorically sh*ting themselves. Best piece of advice I’ve been given is ‘if you won’t invest in yourself, then why would anyone else’!

Do you have any live dates scheduled for 2017 and where can we see you performing?

All live dates are to be announced, there won’t be a huge number, as I’m focusing on writing this year, so please make sure you come down to the dates that are posted!

What’s your ultimate aim and where do you hope your music will take you?

Truthfully, I just want to be able to support myself doing music full time. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I want to be able to say ‘I sing’… That’s the goal!

Finally, if you were invited to perform on the BBC Live Lounge which song would you cover and why?

Good question! I’m a huge lover of all things 80’s, so it’d have to be something of that era that’s not been on the live lounge before… I’m thinking Steve Winwood ‘Higher Love’ or Womack and Womack ‘Teardrops’.

Connect with Calum via his Website, Facebook and Twitter.

January – Interview

Tuesday 21st February 2017

I have to be honest and say that this genre of music isn’t something that I know too much about, or often listen to, but when the new single by January Thompson ‘Too Soon’ arrived in my mailbox I was quite simply stunned.  I had a good click around YouTube and SoundCloud and found myself listening to something very beautiful and enthralling.  Born in LA but now living in London, I had to catch a moment with January to find out more about her music.

january-1

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself, and how you came to be a singer/songwriter.

Hello! Would be my pleasure. I was born in Los Angeles to a musical household, my mother is a classical pianist, so playing the piano and singing came quite naturally to me. I always knew or had a feeling that was what I was born to do though I didn’t start writing songs until I was 20. I suppose I had to gain some life experience to really feel I had something to say.

You have the most beautiful voice and there are clear classical influences in your songs. How were you influenced by this genre?

Thank you again, that would be my mother. I grew up listening to her play Chopin and Bach, my favorites, for hours. I studied classical singing as well, though I was drawn to my own sound and style of singing. Classical is a bit regimented. I didn’t find there was much room for experimentation, but it is still very much my foundation in my writing and singing.

How would you describe your music, and where do you take your inspiration from for writing your songs?

I would describe my sound as subtle and atmospheric whilst being lyrically and song driven. I’d love for the listener to be enveloped in the sound and the stories that go with it. My inspiration for my songs always comes from relating to others, primarily in love.

Your new single ‘Too Soon’ is just wonderful.  Could you tell me about your writing process. Being a solo artist, do you have anyone to bounce ideas from, or do you just know when a song feels right?

Thank you again, I’m happy you like it. My writing process is always a bit different. Generally starts with a few piano chords and what I’m feeling at the moment. ‘Too Soon’ was a tricky one. I had the idea which was one of showing up ‘Too Soon’ and waiting but the rest of the lyrics were a bit tricky to fit with a melody. So yes, in this case I did reach out to the producers and their fellow composers. It is hard sometimes when it’s just you in a room alone and you get stuck on a song.  They aren’t all just flashes of inspiration.

What instruments do you play, and are you the one playing them in your songs?

I play the piano and on the album yes it is myself, also my mother Deanna Thompson, and the keyboards were both producers as well, Steffen Aaskoven and Thor Finland.

Your album ‘Whelmed’ has been out for a few weeks now. How are you finding the response to the release?

So far I’ve had some lovely support from local radio and fans. I’m hoping the momentum continues through radio and live shows. Fingers crossed!

When you first heard the complete album, how did that make you feel?

It’s an incredible feeling hearing something that you’ve poured your heart and soul into reach completion. It always comes out a bit different then you plan but this album kept growing into something quite beautiful. I am so grateful for all the musicians and the producers that were a part of this with me.

Having never been out to LA, I’m interested to find out how the music scene is out there for up and coming artists, and where else you enjoy performing?

I was never really fond of the music scene in LA, that’s what drove me to work in the UK. I found I could really explore my sound and I could think outside the box with producers abroad.  My experience is that the scene in LA is very pop driven. That being said most things are now and I have friends that are in bands and DJs that love it and have done well.

What do you get up to when your not writing or performing.  Are there any particular hobbies you enjoy?

I try to stay pretty connected to nature and am passionate about wildlife conservation and the extinction crisis. I try to visit the elephants orphaned by ivory poaching at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya every year and this year I will also be going to Borneo to spend time with the Orangutans orphaned due to the Palm Oil industry and deforestation.

Do you have a goal, and where do you hope your music will take you?

I’ve had the same goal since I was little, to be a part of and create beautiful music. I hope it takes me into ever widening circles of that dream.

Connect with January via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.