Welcome to DMCWORLD! 2017…can you tell us about the highlights of your year so far?
My highlight has been supporting Omar at The Jazz Cafe and getting my first ever Radio 2 airplay courtesy of Clare Balding! Omar and I worked together on a track on my album a couple of years back and he also sung at my album launch. We’ve actually shared the stage a couple of times before in the past but this was the first time I was his official support act at his bi-annual Jazz Cafe Show. He even got me up on stage to do the Erykah Badu/Angie Stone verse on ‘Be Thankful’ which was amazing! Clare Balding played my track ‘Family Tree’ on her Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday Show for National Grandparents Day (the song was written about my late Grandma).
Selected as Caffe Nero’s Artist Of The Month this month, how did opportunity arise and how can we check you out here?
Caffé Nero have been playing my music in their stores for a couple of years now and I have performed at various stores around London as well as their stage at the Cornbury Festival with my band and the line up was great – http://www.cornburyfestival.com/line-up/ and it was apparently the last ever Cornbury Festival so I feel very honoured to have performed there. Earlier this year I also performed at the Nordoff Robbins charity event – with my guitarist Matt Waters at Caffé Nero Mayfair and that day artists performed in over 200 Caffe Nero stores across the UK all at the same time. It’s really great to be Artist Of The Month there will be a link to my new EP on their Wi-Fi log in homepage in all their stores plus the EP will be played at various times during the day in every store for the whole month of November. People will be able to shazam what they hear if they like it and it’s sure to create interest around the EP.
With your new ‘Love It or Leave It EP’ released shortly, do you have any personal favourites from this 5 track set and what makes that one so special for you?
I am probably most excited about the track ‘It’s True’ because I wrote it with my guitarist Matt ‘Mafro’ Waters who is an incredible up and coming producer. I love that it starts like an R’n’B slow jam and then just descends into a trap-infused edgy chorus. I think it is a nice crossover of my usual sound but with a more contemporary slant. Also the bonus track ‘Family Tree’ is a very special song. I wrote it about my Grandma before she passed away but the track is even more poignant to me now because my co-writer tragically died last year as well. It really means a lot to me..
You’ve played alongside Ed Sheeran and can you talk us through your association with him?
We used to be on the same live gig circuit when he first started out so were on the same bill several times. He even supported me at my very first EP launches and I supported him at one of his secret gigs just after he got signed. He is an extra in one of early music videos too! I’m also honoured that I’m mentioned in the ‘thank you’s’ section on his first album.
Always busy on the Live tip, can you tell us about some of your favourite Live shows including festivals and I understand you’ve also opened for George Benson, En Vogue, Roberta Flack and The Stylistics?
My favourite shows have been Glastonbury for the BBC Introducing stage where i performed the same year as Two Door Cinema Club and Speech Debelle. The opportunity arose after one of my tracks was Track of the Week on the Homegrown show with Ras Kwame on 1Xtra and Ras Kwame also appeared in the video for that song and the BBC Intro film crew came down to do a whole behind the scenes special on the video shoot. Other highlights include performing at the Isle Of Wight Festival, Bluesfest and London Jazz Festival. Also playing at iconic London venues such as the Jazz Cafe and Ronnie Scotts. The first time I performed at Ronnie Scotts it was at Natalie Williams’ very popular Soul Family Sunday. It was completely sold-out and my mum and dad came along too as it was a big milestone for me. I’ve performed many times at The Jazz Cafe since and it became a regular thing at a night called UK Soul Jam. Since then I’ve supported some big artists there and have played there at least twice a year since! I’ve also had the pleasure of opening for some big artists at some amazing venues, including George Benson at Kenwood which was the biggest audience I’ve performed to to date being around 6000 people!; Roberta Flack and En Vogue at Indigo2; the Stylistics on their UK tour; and Roy Ayers and Omar at the Jazz Cafe.
How do you write and produce your own songs – do you carry a notebook round and then get your ideas down electronically or do you prefer to work in a more collaborative style?
Sometimes I sit at the piano and start from the chords, sometimes I start with the melody and lyrics then work out what chords work underneath and other times I work with producers where they send me instrumental ideas and I write on top of them or start from scratch with a co-writer, a guitar and a piano! I often write lyric ideas as they come to me though…i have lots of lyrics that still haven’t made their way into songs yet..I don’t have a preference in the process and often it happens organically. I always have to record the melody ideas on my phone as soon as an idea comes to me in case I forget it! I have a proper recording set up at home so I can record ideas to send my ideas digitally to the co-writers/producers that I am working with.
You released you debut ‘Novel album two years ago which featured UK soul legend Omar and how have you developed musically since then?
I think my new EP is a twist on my usual neo Soul sound with a more contemporary edge. I’m working with different producers to create different sounds but without compromising my style or going completely off piste!
What’s next for you in terms of new musical projects? Do you have plans for a new EP or album and are there a dream list of producers to work with?
I am going to push the EP as much as possible for the rest of this year and going into next year and potentially get some remixes done to follow it up. Also I will be releasing a brand new single early next year which I’ve already shot the video for. I would also love to record a live album, which is definitely on the cards, Producer wise I’ve always wanted to work with The Neptunes!
How did you get your start as a singer and when did you get the desire to give it a try?
I always sang and danced growing up and performed in lots of musicals etc so I always knew that I wanted to perform for a living as I caught the ‘stage bug’ very early on. Then I started doing Jazz and Soul covers gigs for money at around the age of 16 and also started writing song ideas down. I then got asked to perform at a friend’s variety night at The Arts Depot in North Finchley, doing original songs only and I had to brave it and perform three of my own songs for the very first time in public! it went really well and that led to me booking more gigs….and the rest is history. i have a lot to thank that friend for and in fact every time I see her I tell her I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for her!
What’s been your motivation as a singer and what still drives you? and how would you describe your vocal style?
I still love performing. There is something magical about being on stage singing to a crowd and feeling like they are hanging on to your every word. Plus I’m honoured to have some incredible musicians who play at my live shows and we always have fun performing together so there is a great vibe and energy on stage between us and the audience pick up on this. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes especially when you’ve been doing it a long time and put your all in to it. I have been told I’m the hardest working woman in show business – lol. However all of my achievements over the years are what keeps me going and I must be doing something right to have had those opportunities, especially as I’ve done it all myself which I’m kind of proud of. My vocal style is soulful and slightly jazzy.
Of all the accolades/accomplishments you’ve achieved over the years – what would you say has been your proudest moment?
Oooh I have so many personal milestones and highlights it’s hard to say but working with Omar was very very special to me because he’s an artist I’ve admired for years and the fact he wanted to work with me was amazing too. One of my proudest moments was opening for George Benson at Kenwood House and it’s still the biggest crowd I’ve performed to to date too!
You’ve worked with some great producers, and can you tell us about your highlights and is there something about certain artists in particular that inspires you?
I approached Drew Horley who I’ve worked with for years now (who was nominated with longtime collaborator Ty for a Mercury Music Prize a few years ago because he had produced some artists I admired and knew his sound was right for my songwriting style. Also I worked with Aamir Yaqub for a track on my album ‘Novel’ and he won a Grammy for his work on Rihanna’s ‘Unapologetic’ album. So very honoured to have worked with these guys!! I get inspired by lots of different artists especially on the live music scene. There are some very very talented unsigned singers and songwriters I come across all the time. I love discovering new music. Last night I was at the new Pizza Express Live venue in Holborn (I’m playing there in December) and saw two amazing acts who genuinely blew me away. I felt very privileged to have been in the room watching them.
Things are looking really positive for you on both the UK and international front, and where do things go from here?
Thank you! I’ve been out to Hamburg, Germany, quite a few times and I want to do more gigs outside of the UK…there’s a whole world out there.
You’ve also worked with artists like Example, Newham Generals and are there any upcoming projects you’re working on and who have you enjoyed working with the most and why?
Yes it was really cool working with both acts. Example and I went to the same uni and he asked me to sing the hook on a track he was working on. Unfortunately it never made it onto his album as he changed his sound and went more dancey! I’m working on getting some remixes of my EP and I’m also writing for a couple of other artists and for film soundtracks!
What’s the best thing about your life at the moment?
As a completely independent artist I do like the fact that I am in control of all aspects of my career and I’m very excited about the stuff going on around the EP and the Caffe Nero opportunity.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I once sang on a global Vaseline moisturiser advert. I was ‘the voice of vaseline’!
Describe yourself in five words?
Small. Creative. Sociable. Driven. Passionate.
Could you also select 10 tracks through your life which were instrumental/inspirational in setting you on your path into music
‘Rescue Me‘ – Fontella Bass
I have this great memory of dancing around in the living room when I was an infant to my mum’s old Motown records.
‘Eye Know’ – De La Soul
My brother introduced me to Hip Hop and we had the 12 inch vinyl of their first album
‘Lucille’ – Kenny Rogers
My dad used to play the same Country music compilation albums when we went on long car trips as children. I loved some of the songs and lyrics with their beautiully written melodies.
‘This Is How We Do It’ – Montell Jordan
A golden era of R’n’B and still my favourite song to dance to when I’m out and I hear it in a club or party.
‘Senorita’ – Justin Timberlake
Neptunes production at its best.
‘Getting In The Way’ – Jill Scott
My first introduction to neo Soul and I just knew my voice and writing style was made for this sound
‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ – Roberta Flack
I used to do a cover of this in my set and when I got to support Roberta Flack at Indig02 hearing her sing it was just magical.
‘A Different Corner’ – George Michael
He was such an incredibly talented songwriter and this is one of my favourite songs of his.
‘Let It Go’ – James Bay
One of the best songwriting examples of recent years.
‘De Ja Vu’ – Omar
From his most recent album this song features an amazing singer called Mayra Andrade who does her verse in French. The combination of their voices and the groove of this song is brilliant.
Louise Golbey’s new EP ‘Love Me Or Leave It’ Deluxe Edition is out now. For all info go to…