Where are you born and what could you tell us about your childhood?
Born in Ely and grew up about 20 minutes away in a small fenland village called Haddenham.
Both my parents worked at a factory and we lived on a friendly council estate, all the children played together. Both my Mum and Dad brought alot of creativity and wonder to my sisters and I's childhood. We liked to write plays and musicals and design the costumes for the actors (they were terrible) I was speaking to her recently about a memory I have of us being detectives and putting our rucksacks on at about 7 years old going to explore the back garden to solve the case of who or what killed a worm.
What was your relationship with music during this first period of your life?
I've always loved the radio and I remember being about 5 and waking up on Christmas eve to see my parents lugging a massive stereo upstairs, saying Father Christmas was in a rush so they were helping him and telling me go back to sleep, the speakers were huge and I remember sitting so close to it and listening and feeling all my favourite songs.
Family occasions (we have a very large extended family) were always based around singalongs and people playing together. My mum has a story about my cousins telling her I was singing out of key when I was about 3 years old but when she heard me she realised I was singing harmonies.
What was the first song which touched you then convinced you that music would be your own future?
At about 17 I started hanging around with a musician who introduced me to artists like Pentagle and PJ Harvey and I guess that was the time when I really started to open my eyes to the possibility of writing. It developed first as a coping mechanism, and by default I knew music was something that I needed to do in the future. The pleasure element came a bit later. It's not meant to sound that heavy but that's how it was. I don't think there was a particular song, it was more about the process and the purpose that music served.
What is your musical background?
I wish I could read music and to have had some kind of formal training. It's still on my 'to do' list.
Nature and landscapes inspire your work, and lead to a folk music which is soft, aerial, ethereal. This music is reminiscent of Aldous Harding's, Feral and Stray's. Suzanne Vega's too, through your voice which reminds me an echo of hers. What do you think about these references ?
I don't know Aldous Harding....5 mins later - ok so i'm watching her now, it's such a pleasure! She's dynamic and atmospheric, she's much more of a performer, it reminds me of my Dad actually with her facial expressions! Very cabaret. Thank you i've just found my new obsession for this month!
Suzanne Vega is a master story teller and I went through a real Vega stage at about 22, when I was listening to Luca, and Maggie May, I think it was the album Retrospective and getting into the arrangements of those songs.
I'm happy with references but I also find it intriguing when I've not heard the artists music. It helps me to discover.
Lines in the landscape talks about a love which is not reciprocal. The Fenland fields, in which an uncertain cohabitation between earth and sea takes place, become the theatre of the conflict of feelings. Is this story connected to a personal experience? If yes, could you share it with us ? If no, who inspired you this story?
My grandfather was a dowser and was very sensitive to water and i've always been drawn to water. When you're standing within that landscape there's a powerful sense between both land and water. It's a feeling difficult to describe, it's like a yearning for something but you're not quite sure what and I felt this made for a good analogy of a friendship that was developing at the time. I was very much drawn to this person, but there were no reasons why. We had big differences between us which created unease. I found it overwhelming to feel so at home with him, as he was pretty much a stranger. The mystery of that connection and where it came from for me had a great impact. Relationships are a bit like landscapes, if you're a river and your partner is a forest, then you have a chance together, but if you're the sea and your partner is a desert or the snow then it's not going to work. Here though, the fens were underwater up until the 1600's and since then were slowly drained. The land is really meant to be underwater.
What do you think about people who say that we don't write about love when it's all right?
I'd say they were wrong, (if i'm understanding the question correctly, please forgive me if I haven't!) there are loads of songs about the joys of being in love. I think heartache though can be traumatic and that's why there's a more urgent need to comfort through those types of songs and why it may seem like the sad love songs outweigh the happy love songs. I personally have written both and the 2nd album, which i'm currently writing has a couple more of those happy love songs on it.
Away from Mountains, the album song, made me shiver. One of the most beautiful declaration of love I've ever heard. Which can also be dedicated to a child by his mother. Did you think of somebody in particular when you wrote this song? Who? Why this person?
The meaning of the song changes for me as I get older. Now it's more about choosing what's best for me, which should hopefully have a positive knock on affect to the people around me. I think people, especially women put themselves last alot. We give away our kindness too easily and we have to question that sometimes. Initially though it was about the process of dealing with being let down by someone and recognising with certain people (and I can't explain why) there are no pre requisites to loving them, you just do and saying that you love and accept someone after a disloyalty I think is one of the most freeing things. It's weird looking at that idea now though, of course it was a transient feeling, but I like the message in the song, it's one of forgiveness and acceptance and I think that's important in any love whether it be a parent to child or vise versa. Things are messy but ultimately we're all trying our best.
Closed Roads deals with the end of a friendship, and in parallel, with the madness of you grandfather. In other words, with these situations which close some doors and rythm life. According to you, how do the spirit and the body find their way of subsistence to go through these situations ?
Closed Roads is predominately about a friendship that was a very big part of my twenties, he would talk about the idea of 'closed roads' - situations that you can never return too. He was preparing me for those moments in life. We spent a lot of time together in the fens, he's in a lot of lines.
I don't really know yet how the spirit and body find their way, through these times. Practice, rest and being gentle to ourselves is how I think we cope through the deterioration and death of a loved on. I was very close to my grandfather, but pain is as important as joy. He has given me both and I get something from that, that's key for me personally. To use it to create and be productive.