Autumn 2016: New Directions

Me and My Career

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Following the release of my first EP, Not Stupid Anymore, in June 2016, I thought it was time for a change in my music.  Since the time that I wrote and recorded that music, I have been through many changes in my life and in myself, which made me feel like this music wasn’t completely true to the person I had become.  So I’m going to give a little insight into the reasons behind my new music and image and, also, what to expect from the new musical offerings!

Recap! Who am I and what do I do?

I’m a 23 year old pop artist from Manchester who has been writing songs since I was 15 and releasing music for the past year.

How would I describe the EPs and singles I have already released?

The singles and the EP, Not Stupid Anymore,  featured the original mixes of the tracks, which were very poppy and girly, along with house, dub house and garage mixes.  The lyrics were all inspired by personal experiences and my emotions, making them very honest and easy to relate to, in my opinion.  There was also a running theme of relationships, love and heartbreak.

 

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Why the change?

Although I was proud of the music I had created, I felt it wasn’t entirely the right direction for me as an artist.  As the original mixes and the remixes covered so many individual genres, I thought it seemed a little unfocused.  When I wrote the songs for ‘Not Stupid Anymore’ I was in a relationship, that I had been in for four years, so this influenced a lot of my ideas for song concepts.  However, I am now single, so my perspective on a lot of things has changed, and I wanted to put that into my music.  In addition I am a bit older now, so I felt like a more mature sound and image would suit me better and be more true to my personality.

I became very influenced by producers such as Chase and Status, The Chainsmokers and Cheat Codes and wanted to draw some inspiration from the electronic genres those artists were rooted in.  I started working with Division Productions in early summer and immediately the creative juices were flowing.

I then travelled down the East Coast of America for 5 weeks with my best friend, hitting 12 different destinations on the way and visiting 10 states.  Included in our stops were some very musical places such as New York, Nashville, Miami and New Orleans, which gave me a lot of appreciation for different genres, new directions and sounds to include in my songwriting.

 

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What has stayed the same?

The main reason I write songs is because I like to share my feelings and stories with other people, in the hope they can empathise.  I believe music has the power to unite and inspire when it is truly heartfelt, and this is what I aim to achieve as an artist, so this underlying philosophy remains intact in my material.  The emphasis I put on the vocal line within my compositions is also very similar to my previous work, as is the pop feel to my melodies.

 

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What to expect from my new music?

The music itself is rooted within the genre of pop, but takes influences on the production side from many other genres, giving it a bit more of an edge.  The focus has been on bringing the other genres I am influenced by, such as tropical house and drum and bass, into the actual pop songs themselves, rather than using remixes as with my previous EPs and singles.  I think this has helped to push my music to a new level and made for a selection of songs that are varied whilst remaining connected by my songwriting style.  The music has quite a commercial feel to it because I have the intention that people will want to sing along and dance to it, however, my lyrics are still heartfelt.  I want people to be able to empathise with the emotion behind my music but also have fun listening to it.

 

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When to expect a new release…

The first single off the EP I have been working on is called Take It All and will be released on November 17th on all major retailers and available to preorder on iTunes on October 20th.  The music video to Take It All, which was shot at the start of my America trip in New York,  will also premiere on October 20th.  Following that, the EP should hopefully be released around Easter 2017 and the title will be Experiments.  I am currently writing new songs for my debut album and hope to have news on the progress of that very soon!  I shall be performing live as much as possible to promote my new sound, so check out when you can see me next!

 

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Not Stupid Anymore (Deluxe Version)

Me and My Career

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The deluxe version of my EP, Not Stupid Anymore, was released in August 2016 and featured five new original songs along with two remixes of Not Stupid Anymore.  I released the single ‘Call Me Whatever You Want‘ as the lead for this EP as I thought it would be a perfect poppy song for summer!  The EP features all the songs I recorded with The Next Room Productions in London, which all have a similar youthful, girly sound, so if you are into Katy Perry, Taylor Swift or Meghan Trainor, I think you would enjoy this EP!  Not Stupid Anymore (Deluxe Version) is available to buy or stream on all major retailers, including iTunesSpotify and Amazon Music… so get your copy now!  My favourite tracks are Not Stupid Anymore, No Going Back and Love’s Willing Prisoner.

Wish It Was You

Me and My Career

This is most of my friends and family’s favourite of my songs, I think because it’s so upbeat and catchy!  At the risk of sounding like a serial dater or something, I wrote this song about two different guys and merged my issues with each of them together to make an exaggerated character. The lyrics of the song are about when you have moved on from someone and then they come to try and win you back, but you aren’t interested anymore.  It refers to the point after a break up where you are finally in the acceptance phase and are ready to leave that person behind, but then they come to you and they say they feel the way you always wanted them to.  In the case of the guys I wrote this song about, they were both scared of commitment and didn’t want to give up being single and all the freedom they thought they had, until it was too late.  It’s basically a song about staying strong, respecting yourself and knowing when it is time to leave someone behind.  This song will appear on my upcoming EP this year as both a house version and a garage version, but for the time being, check out me performing the original in the studio below!

After That Night

Me and My Career

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This song is going to be on my upcoming EP and is unique as it’s the only song I have ever written where the lyrics were the component written last. Me and my producers decided we wanted to do a song with a chilled ambient house type feel, so they sent me a backing track to write to and see what I could come up with.  It was a bit of an experiment to be honest as I had no idea if I would be able to write a song this way, as I usually write at the piano and sort the lyrics before the melody and accompaniment! However, I actually really enjoyed challenging myself and pushing my writing to a new level!

The subject matter of the song is also unique in relation to my other songs as it is completely fabricated and not based on my own personal experiences.  I decided I wanted to write about cheating in a relationship but not condemning it in a black and white way, so I added the complication of a friendship into the mix.  The story is about two friends who, whilst both in relationships with other people, cross the line and spend the night together. The song is about the consequences of a flirty friendship going too far and the implications on the relationships they are in.  It’s about not being able to forget what happened and not knowing whether the friendship could go back how it was before.  Anyway….. I really hope you enjoy the song and stay tuned for the house and garage remixes which will be coming soon…..

Stuck In Limbo

Me and My Career

Stuck In Limbo is a song that is very close to my heart and also happens to be the song me and my producers have chosen to be my first ever single.  There are three versions of the track that have currently been produced: the original song as I wrote it, a house remix and a garage remix.  I can be seen performing the original on my YouTube Channel or below, however, it is the house remix that we have selected to be the debut track off the EP, as it’s just so upbeat and catchy.

The song is about a very intense relationship with lots of ups and downs. Like most of my original songs, it is written from a place of personal experience and genuine emotions.  At the time of writing the song I felt like I had no idea where a relationship was going and how to resolve all the issues, despite still loving the other person.  This led me to feel like we were ‘stuck in limbo’ because I didn’t know whether we would or should break up or stay together.  I tried to get across the feelings of confusion and hurt through the lyrics of the song and the awkward position of being trapped in a middle place between being happy together and being happy apart.  The song is one of the slowest and most ballad-like that I have written, with a slow, soulful feel to it.  Below is a video of me performing the original version of this song in the studio in London…. I hope you like it!

My Upcoming Music Video

Me and My Career

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I would like to talk about the video that is being planned for one of my songs at the moment!  The plan is to release a ten track EP consisting of both a house and garage remix of five of the songs I have written and this should hopefully be happening this summer.  It has been decided the lead track will likely be the house remix of a song I wrote called ‘Stuck In Limbo’, so a video is now in the works!

Stuck In Limbo is about a volatile relationship, which was going through a particularly rough patch, so I wanted a video that managed to get this story across.  I have been working on potential scripts with the producers of my EP and we have come up with a video idea focussing on a young couple in a relationship that is on the rocks.  In the video they will be shown at the start as disinterested in each other and unhappy, whilst contrasted against a loved up new couple.  As the video develops, the couple becomes further and further apart and this builds to a climax.  In the end the couple have the option to either fight for what they have and patch things up or to leave the relationship behind… and I will leave the ending to be revealed when the song and video are released.

The video will also have some art effects employed in order to intensify the feeling that the couple have lost their passion and their way.  The title ‘Stuck In Limbo’ refers to them being lost and not knowing whether the relationship can or should be saved.  The idea is to have a time lapse effect that makes it seem like the main characters are moving much more slowly than their surroundings to make them seem isolated and in ‘limbo’. The colour saturation of the video will be lower than normal too to give a dull and faded feel to the scenes in order to convey the loss of passion.

So excited to finally start planned things like videos and EP releases in order to try and realise my dream of being a singer as soon as I can! Below is a link to me performing the original version of ‘Stuck In Limbo’ in a studio in London.  Fingers crossed that I will be posting the finished music video on here next!

Get To Know Me Q & A

Me and My Career

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Favourite Artist/Band?

This is a difficult question as there are so so many artists I admire and love but if I had to pick three, I would pick John Mayer, Nirvana and Fleetwood Mac.

 Favourite Album?

This is easy for me as there is one album I will play all the way through whenever I need to relax, and that is John Mayer – Where The Light Is.  The album is the whole of his concert in LA live, so has all of his best tracks along with the audience reactions and great guitar solos linking the songs.  For me it’s just perfect!

Favourite Song?

I have two favourite songs and they are both a bit odd! One is Len – Steal My Sunshine, as it just cheers me up whenever I listen to it and it’s perfect for a sunny day.  The other is Sufjan Stevens – For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti.  I just think that song is so beautiful and the banjo part is so relaxing and lovely.

Best Performer I Have Seen Live?

I have seen many great artists in concert, such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Sam Smith, but hands down the best was London Grammar.  I saw them at a festival in Nottingham called No Tomorrow and they were just amazing!  The whole band is so talented, with great songs and Hannah Reid’s voice is mesmerising.  The album is great, but live they are out of this world!

What Instruments Do I Play?

I mainly sing and play piano to accompany myself, but I also play saxophone (badly nowadays!).

How Do I Write My Songs?

I’m a strong believer that you can’t force song-writing or the song won’t have feeling and will be pretty crap.  I carry a notebook with me a lot of the time and always take one on holiday, just in case any ideas hit me when I’m on the go.  Then I go to the piano and work out a melody and chords.  Usually I write lyrics first, then melody and then accompaniment, although occasionally I think of the melody and lyrics together.

How Would I Describe My Original Music?

If I had to label my songs with a genre I would probably say Pop, but I would like to think that they aren’t superficial even though they are upbeat.  I write mostly about my own experiences and emotions, which I think makes my songs heartfelt and easy for others to relate to.

My Music Career So Far?

I’m really just getting started as I have spent the last three years concentrating on my academics, whilst doing music on the side.  My parents wanted me to have a back up plan, in the form of a degree, in case singing doesn’t work out, so I have been at university studying for the past three years, whilst writing music and travelling down to London to record.  At the end of these three years I now have a 1st Class Honours Degree in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, a fully produced 10 track pop album and a 10 track EP of house and garage remixes of my songs ready to release this summer (hopefully!), so I’m ready to tackle whatever life throws my way!

And Finally, Why Do I Want To Be A Musician?

I’ve always loved singing ever since I was young and when I was 18 I decided I wanted to make the transition from hobby to career.  I’ve spent the last three years focusing on my back up plan, so now I’m ready to give what I really love a shot! Music has got me through some rough times and I love the idea of being able to touch people with my music and maybe provide the same sort of peace for someone else.  The absolute dream would be to perform and have a crowd singing my lyrics back to me; I think that would be the most amazing feeling in the world!

Not Stupid Anymore

Me and My Career

Not Stupid Anymore was the first song I decided to perform for my YouTube channel and it is still one of my favourites of my own compositions. When I wrote the song I was almost ranting on paper about how I felt about someone at the time and it was a release to just get it all out!

The story behind the lyrics is how no matter how hard you work to get over someone who is bad for you and no matter how hard you try to shut them out of your life, sometimes it can be impossible to let go of all your feelings for them completely.  It’s about feeling conflicted between the desire to forgive them when it seems like they have changed their ways and the need to turn them away in order to protect yourself from the inevitable fall out when they change back.  Ultimately I was trying to write a positive and upbeat pop song with a deeper message about the issues of breakups when there are unresolved feelings.

On my YouTube channel, Sally Caitlin, the video of this song is me performing a garage remix live in a studio in London.  I really hope you enjoy it…. so go check out Not Stupid Anymore!