Music has always been a part of my life. Apparently I’ve been singing since before my memory began. I come from a musical family and there were always instruments around the house – most notably, my dad’s acoustic guitar. When I was around eight or nine I would ask him how to play a few songs and swiftly he’d work them out and show me. Around the same time I was writing songs too; the kind that, with maturity and self-criticism due to an increased sense of self-awareness, make you want to cringe and/or puke with embarrassment. About a year later my dad bought me my very first acoustic guitar (which I still use! — although one of the tuning pegs did just break the other day…) and I think the rest – to me – is sort of history.

It was common for people to have their preferences, but growing up I always loved a lot of different types of music. I guess nowadays that’s pretty common too. R&B was laced with style and passion, gospel was a staple, pop made me feel a part of the world, rock, indie and alternative music was so alive and youthful. And all the genres in between – whatever I liked, I liked. It was all just music to me.

I never grew up listening to jazz, yet my stuff has a slight “jazz” sound to it. I know nothing of soul music, even less of the folk scene, past or present – yet, my voice is very often described as “soulful” and my compositions “folk-like”. They do say that if you want to know where an artist developed a portion of their sound from you should listen to their influences (and even their influences’ influences). That seems pretty logical to me so here – in alphabetical order – are some of mine:

Fiona Apple, India.Arie, Torun Eriksen, Imogen Heap, Lauryn Hill, JoJo, Rachael Lampa, Anaïs Mitchell, Prince, KT Tunstall. (I like that most of these influences are female. I value male and female artists the same, but as a woman, I do recognize the importance of having cool, tough and talented female artists to look up to, and I’m fortunate to have grown up in a time when that was more normal than before.)

Coming into my teens, I knew that I had what it took to embark on a musical career, but I never fully considered it. Up until I was 17, I always assumed I’d study and then I’d figure the music stuff out; perhaps I’d do it on the side in the meantime. But as is fate’s custom, it arrived early – and very unexpectedly. Just a month into my A-level studies, I suddenly realized that being there was the last thing I wanted. It was a tough decision – well, knowing myself, it was the only decision: I left school.

I took some time to figure out what exactly I wanted, how I might plan to get it and as you can imagine, everything went according to plan and there was no stopping or starting. As if. It’s all been difficult, rough and unsteady. But it’s also all been a blessing, an honour and so worth it.

During that time of hiccup-plagued respiration, I played a lot of gigs, wrote a tonne of songs, sang regularly in a Mexican restaurant, released my first album, changed my stage name, met some great musicians, went on my first tour… and most importantly learned a lot about myself, my purpose and this profession I find myself in.

And now we’re here. I’m writing new material. It feels really good to be inspired. It feels great to be musically active again. I cannot wait to share it with you.

Eleanor VS. 29.10.16 The Arts House Bristol