1) So.. how did you get from Scotland to America to Scotland to London? That's quite a journey..
I jubilantly left school on my 17th birthday after managing to bag a scholarship to a very fancy American boarding school in Connecticut for a year where I formed my first band, started doing gigs, open mics, and busked alot. It was a very formative time for me & my music - i'd never really been to any gigs before, and the Grateful Dead in a football stadium was quite a first.
I returned to London for Uni at Royal Holloway where i expected to find a kick-arse band (i found one banjo player), but when that didn't happen i went home to sing with the guys who are now the Fence Collective. I lived up a hill with a dog for a few years, writing and gigging locally.
I decided to try and move the music forward - put together a band in Edinburgh for a year and had a great time, but i just didn't feel I was going in the right direction. I split the band up, came down to London and slept on a friends couch for a month, forced my way into various offices armed with my guitar, and finally got a deal.
2) At what point did you think 'hang on, this might just be worth a living'?
While i was in the states, travelling around Vermont and Chicago, i was getting such a positive response to my material and voice that i had to see how far i could take it. Also, the time i spent in Scotland led me to love the lifestyle of being a musician and the people you meet through it. Once I started writing at 16, I never really considered doing anything else
3) There's lots of it about... as they say; why are people going to hang their hat on you, as opposed to x female artist?
I think it's important to make a distinction between artists who write their own material, and those who essentially just sing. It's a different bag putting your own songs up for judgement, and putting yourself on the line at a gig than it is to sing words that aren't personal to you. After that, it just comes down to personal taste. I've made a record that's important to me, and i guess only time will tell wether anyone else feels that way about it too.
4) Armed with a guitar and the voice of an Ox (your quote), how disarming is it being up on stage? Do you ever feel utterly alone and exposed?
Now now, i did say LUNGS of an Ox...the voice of an Ox is something altogether sonically different...The reason i do what i do is to play live. I absolutely love it, love being able to share what I've made with people, and there's nothing like the feeling of communicating with other musicians when you're play a show and having a post-gig beer and a blether about it. However, I do feel exposed on ocassion. Some of the songs are deeply personal, and it can feel a little bizarre to express them sometimes. Like a room full of strangers watching you eat or something.
(Photo by Max Dodson)
5) Having purged yourself of teenage pap love songs (your quote again), what's there to talk about now?
Ah, many many things!! I've just written a song about the woman who's voice is used on all the emergency recorded phone messages. And another about concrete. And one about life being a big theatrical extravaganza, but there's a backstage...I'm not worried about inspiration yet anyway.
6) You're not a vegetarian, but in fact a pescatarian... how does this work with the morals and ethics of the modern world? Sounds very back to the old school...
I could catch a fish, kill it, and eat it. I came to the conclusion I couldn't kill any other animal, so i don't think i should eat them. There's also a family vibe with mammals...Fish do it, lay the eggs and swim off. I also find I can eat loads now. Brilliant.
7) How does a girl like you get to do a fancy European tour like the one you're doing?
I don't know! I'll have to ask a bigger girl coz I'm not doing a fancy European tour yet as far as I know! Cant wait though.
8) Tell us a secret.
I used to be married to Limahl when I was 8, but he didn't even know.
9) Tell us about a band we haven't heard of.
A chap from Orkney called Kevin Cormack goes by the name of Halfcousin, and produces beautiful, psychotic, junkyard folk music. His album is called The Function Room, and i was lucky enough to go on tour as part of his band late last year supporting The Earlies, another splendid new band. Buy and be wooed.
10) Did you know that Joni Mitchell was addicted to Southern Comfort? What's your vice of choice?
Good Joni fact! My vice of choice would have to be malt whisky. I used to work in a great wine and whisky shop in St.Andrews and we had to taste alot of booze (nightmare. hmm). I love Talisker, a fiery little monster from the Isle of Skye. But whoever came up with the idea to drink the stuff at the end of the night has alot to answer for.
11) DiS is (metaphorically) dying. Tell me about that record I need to hear before I hit the grave.
I'm sure DiS has heard it already, but Bowie's HunkyDory must be put beside you in the coffin. It was my favourite record after one listen (i only heard it for the first time about 2 years ago) and has raised the bar ridiculously high to the point where i'll question good music because it doesn't make me feel the way that record did first time round.
12) Is all about luck? Or love?
Luck is only being ready. Love Love Love...