On 28th November, Amy Studt will be headlining the Lending Room! We thought we would ask her a few questions in anticipation of the night….
Describe your music in 3 words.
Honest, dark, Hopeful.
Can you tell us a bit about you? How did you get into the music you are making today?
I grew up in Bournemouth in a musical family and was always a bit of a ‘strange’ kid i guess or at least I was told many times, who found it difficult to fit in. I started writing at at about 8 years old but there are recordings from much earlier.
For this particular album it really just came together by chance. Due to the nature of why I write. To document and understand, process the things I experience. It just so happened that the last 10 years were the hardest years of my life and instead of dying which I came so close to many times, I wrote and survived. Wrote and survived. Bit by bit. Breath by breath.
The music I make today is more about what interests me artistically and sonically. Perfection from a recording and production sense is not the aim as, in my opinion, perfection as in life doesn’t exist and certainly does not represent life and the human experience. So many people strive for that perfect production sound and maybe growing up from 14 in top studios with the big boy pop producers, that sound just seemed too easy to me and not enough of a challenge. I keep a lot of supposed ‘errors” in. I love the sound of mistakes, I love keeping life alive in a recording, keeping the honesty of it. The breath. It’s mostly live and I/we/the people I choose to work with and who are close with me are always trying to do things differently, if it’s “meant” to be done a certain way we test and turn things, do the opposite, see what happens, see if we capture any magic. Try to live by Joe Meeks quote of “If it sounds right, it’s right.”. But songs wise, they are still solid songs. Although more experimental by some tastes they still hold together and are touching and poignant. Vulnerable and violent.
Congratulations on the release of your new album ‘Happiest Girl in the Universe’ last month. How was the process of creating this and what has the response been like so far?
Well the process was a long one. With lots of stops due to serious illness. It was a confusing time. But somehow as I came together so did this as an album. I found I had been left with almost this autobiography of a decade of my life and each song was a chapter. So it tells the story of two main narratives. One is of love and the other is mental health. And eventually the story of coming out of it to …. Somewhere. Somewhere much better. Within a different person, chiseled and chipped away at, broken and shattered and reformed again into something new inside and out.
The response has literally been nothing but positive. Which I am kind of amazed at! I’ve never released music that has got 5 stars or 100/100 in reviews almost across the board. Even the journalists who have tried to write a negative article about it seem to struggle with themselves during the piece and it ends up sounding positive. I feel very proud of that. Honestly I really wasn’t expecting it. I’ve gone so long without any feedback or support that I have had to battle with a lot of self doubt but done circles in my mind then shouting back that it was valid and a beautiful album.
The other wonderful thing is that as the album is so honest and revealing of my life and experiences, it has meant that other people have come forward with their own stories and how it speaks to them in such a touching way. I love connecting with people and learning about their lives after shows etc. hearing their stories. I am not on some big fancy label and don’t have piles of money so only the people that hear it will hear it, maybe they might be recommended to come to a show, but it makes it all the more special. To those who discover it and connect.
We can’t wait to hear some of the album live. Any standout tracks for you that you are enjoying playing so far that we can expect?
The Water is a really fun one live. One of the more experimental songs but it feels so damn good to play,. Also ending the show with the song ‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’ because I think the audience comes on the journey with me and this final song brings some real relief and so full of hope and I can sometimes feel the room swell and move with me, it’s a very strange experience. Beautiful and hard to describe.
What were your main inspirations around the album? Who were you listening to in the build up to its creation?
I was listening to a lot of movie soundtracks which I have always been obsessed with (I’d love to write for film one day), soundtracks for films like Juno, Frances Ha, Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind (Jon Brion = Legend!).
Scott Walker who is one of my idols, his use of lyricism is mind blowing and brings me to tears. Mazzy Star, Nancy Sinatra, The Shangri-las, Talking Heads, Suicide, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, The Smiths, P.J Harvey (who is really just the queen of experimental female singer-songwriters and another idol of mine), Cat Power. Skeeter Davis. So so many. I was very hungry musically during this period. Possibility by Lykke Li – so heavenly.
Coming up from the deep South, how are you feeling about the Leeds show and the rest of your Northern dates? Will this be the first time you have ventured up here?
Ha! The deep south. I’m thrilled to be coming up! Last time I was up North was back in 2009 during my touring for my second album ‘My Paper Made Men’. Cold tho eh? Can’t wait! Ski’s at the ready ; ) Looking forward to it. x
And finally…..If a booking agent genie granted you one wish, which artist would you most like to support?
Ohh! Great question! Where is this agent genie! Ok, I can’t pick just one but there’s a few people:
28th NOV | DOORS 19:30 | 18+