When did the project begin?
I’ve played piano since the age of five and started singing when I was really young. I always wanted to be a musician and grew up listening to a wide range of artists – everything from The Clash to Eva Cassidy. When I was about 12, my dad bought a Red Hot Chili Peppers songbook and I realised that I could learn the chords and then write my own songs. I considered going to university to study music but none of the courses seemed quite right. Instead, I moved up to London a couple of days after turning 19 to start working on my debut EP and get my career going from there.
What song of yours is the one you like the most?
I think I’d have to say Shadows as it was kind of the song that started the process of recording my EP. I had come up to London for a day and recorded a demo of it with Sam Duckworth (Get Cape.Wear Cape. Fly), who then invited me to record my EP in his studio in Hoxton. This song carries a lot of history and memories for me.
Ghost, I see you standing in the shadows behind
I feel your glowing eyes
You taunt me with your circles and you ate away at my pride
And I sit in this house and hide
Walls, I feel you with me when I’m trying to find home
Protect me from the unknown
But windows, how you scare me when you’re showing me the world
Reveal that I am alone
Well, it hits me like thunder and I’m stranded in the rain
I never thought I’d revisit this pain
But you’ve crippled my body
You’ve stolen my mind
And I stand here in the rubble and the smoke you’ve left behind
I stand in the smoke you left behind
I see him in the morning and I hear him in the night
I huddle into my bed in fright
I’ve seen what he can do and I know he knows my plans
He’s a wolf in the body of a man
How do you write your music?
It all happens simultaneously – the chords, the melody and the lyrics. I really can’t sit down and force myself to write a song; it’s a very natural process for me. If I’m out and a phrase or melody comes into my head, I just write it down or record it on my phone to work on later.
What influences do you have?
I grew up listening to a huge, eclectic mix of music
. I was classically trained, had gone to a stage school for ten years singing in musicals, I was in my school jazz band as a pianist and singer
and then of course, had access to my parent’s music collection. I have always strived to have a balance of power and fragility in my songs – inspired by both the rock bands I love and the singer-songwriters that influence me. My main influences are Bon Iver, Eva Cassidy, Tori Amos and Daughter. I seem to be naturally drawn to a more melancholic side when I write – something I think comes from my theatrical background.
What´s the best experience you have had with your project?
I’ve had some amazing opportunities and feel very lucky to be in such a great group of musical friends here. Some particular highlights for me have been headlining the Leftfield Stage at Glastonbury 2013 with 30 other musicians as a huge collaborative project, going on tour with my friend’s Rumour Cubes in March and, as a personal achievement, releasing my debut EP in October last year – the launch was a great success and I felt very supported by everyone who came along.
What plans do you have this year?
I’ve just got a live band together so we’re rehearsing at the moment and have our first gig in June. I’m really excited about it because I’ve longed to play live and hear my music with a full band for such a long time and it’s sounding great! I’m also working on some new recordings with my producer, Duncan Pym, in our home studio.
Mention something you don´t like about your project.
I’ve felt quite lonely at times, especially when you turn up for gigs by yourself and then no one comes! But I’m looking forward to turning up with a band now and I learnt from going on tour that playing music with other people is not only much more fun, but really healing and good for the soul.
Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.
I guess making the decision not to go to university and move to London was a bit of a risk. I’ve had a couple of part time jobs which were sometimes time-consuming, but I’m starting to feel more settled now and have a better balance between work and music.
What band, music project or soloist from your city do you like?
I’ve met some amazing bands and musicians since moving to London. I started doing a bit of singing for Rumour Cubes on their second album, Appearances of Collections
, and then was invited to go on their tour as part of their band and as a support in March. They are all incredible musicians and the loveliest people – they’ve all taught me a lot. Their music is beautiful – I highly recommend giving it a listen!
If your project was a word, what would it be?
– Annie Rew Shaw, in my flat in North London.