FAULT catches up with Chlöe Howl as she gears up for a new era of music

Chlöe Howl is the comeback kid. After taking some time away from the music industry, the 22-year-old singer has been burrowed away in the studio working on new music and is almost ready to unleash more of her infectious pop bangers upon the world. FAULT Magazine caught up with the musician last week to see how it’s all going…

What have you been up to since we last heard from you?

The last thing I released was officially three years ago now, which is crazy, so since then I have had some time away from it to regroup and figure out what I wanted to do. In the last six months I’ve been working with this producer called Chris Zane and we’re writing an album – I think we’re going to work completely together on that, and that’s all I’ve been doing basically.

 

On Twitter you’ve teased a track called Magnetic, what can you tell me about that?

I wrote Magnetic a little while ago with this guy called Duncan Tootill. You’ve probably had this, when you break up with somebody but you keep getting back together, and it was at the point where I think we’d almost got together about four times and to convince myself that I wasn’t just an idiot who was foolishly falling for the same person over and over again I was like, ‘Maybe it’s fate, what if the reason we keep coming back together is because it’s meant to be?’ Which is obviously bullshit, but I was trying to validate it, so this song was me the final time we almost got back together being like, ‘Maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s destiny,’ and picking it apart.

 

Do you feel like your songwriting has evolved in between when you first started and now, or do you stick to the same process?

It’s definitely evolved because I started writing when I was 16 and now I’m 22 so it’s evolved because I’ve grown, and I’ve done so much of it now that I’ve honed in my skill. I’m very selective over melodies and lyrics and now I’ve got much quicker at finding melodies that I like, so the process is a lot smoother for me now than it was before. Before it would be a bit of a struggle because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I know what I like now so therefore the writing is a lot easier and better [laughs].

 

How much of a say do you get in production, are you hands on with that too?

Chris, who I am pretty much solely working with now, and I worked together when I was 17, so we’ve known each other for five years now – he produced one of my first singles, Rumour. We’ve known each other so long and the reason we’ve kept in contact is because we have a friendship, so this whole process is nice because he’s my collaborator, it’s a team effort. We both know what kind of sounds we want to create and what we want the songs to eventually sound like, it’s all pretty hands on.

 

Have you noticed many changes in the industry since you started?

Definitely, I think now there’s a lot more people going independent which is exciting. When I first started it was all about following suit, you had to have a label, then you had to get a feature and then you had to release the usual way, but I think that was sapping the soul out of new artists because you get signed and then a corporation has a say in what they believe you should be, but the reason that you got signed in the first place was because you were yourself and that’s what the label liked. Now a lot of artists are realising the control you can have by going independent, there’s a lot of people coming out, fucking the system and doing things exactly how they want to do them and it’s working better for them than it ever has before.

 

What about online streaming, is that becoming more beneficial to you as an artist?

It’s interesting with streaming because it’s really hard for new artists to chart now because streaming is such a big part of where you chart these days, so that is always going to be the battle. Everybody thinks it’s about getting on Spotify playlists and getting those numbers up but I’ve always been more interested in how many people come to my shows or how many fans I see face to face. That for me, even when I was doing it before, was the real stamp of success. Obviously the size is all relative but if I could sell out a venue full of people who love my music then that’s good with me.

 

Will your older singles still be making an appearance in your live show?

I haven’t even thought about live yet because I’ve been focusing so hard on getting a new selection of songs, but maybe, we’ll see.

 

What’s your opinion on fashion and music working together?

It’s interesting because when you think back to icons of the sixties like Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry, all of those fashion icons, they all had their fingers in all of the pies. They were all into fashion but it was also coupled with music, and all of the artistic scenes merged together. I always think it’s good when stuff happens like that, creativity needs to look out for other creativity.

 

Has your style been influenced by music in particular?

I’ve always been a bit obsessed with characters in films. The reason that I wear Dr Martens every day is because I got massively into This Is England and then I watched Almost Famous and then Annie Hall and The Craft. I loved films like that where the fashion was at the forefront of it and I think I am an amalgamation of characters I want to be basically. Mine didn’t necessarily come from music. I guess it does in a sense because I listened to a lot of guitar music and bands growing up and then I slowly got into pop, but the way I dress isn’t super poppy and clean cut because my initial introduction to music was a little bit more Reading Festival vibes [laughs].

 

Who were your favourite bands growing up?

All the ones you would expect when you were like 16 [laughs]. I loved The Maccabees, Arctic Monkeys and The Vaccines but I grew up listening to The Smiths, New Order and The Cure, just normal teenage grunge vibes.

Who are you listening to at the minute?

At the minute I really like Kehlani’s album. Whenever anyone asks me this question my mind goes blank, however I heard a song the other day called Something For Your M.I.N.D by a band called Superorganism, that’s pretty sick.

 

Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

I have had so many hobbies throughout my life but I have such a short attention span. The last hobby was rock climbing but I just give things up. At the minute I’m focusing on my pet rabbit, he is my life.

 

What’s he called?

He’s called Ziggy Sawdust and he’s a ginger Lion Head, so I don’t really go out because I have to feed him [laughs].

 

What’s your FAULT?

I’m really over-analytical, everything I do I overthink it, even with relationships or friendships, I’m always like, ‘Are we getting on as well as we used to? What if we aren’t? Does this mean it’s over?’ I can always ruin things by overthinking it and I can convince myself that somebody hates me even if they don’t, so that’s a nightmare. I’m also super lazy and a total slob so that’s a fault of mine too.

Chlöe’s comeback single ‘Magnetic’ is out today. Find it on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.

Words Shannon Cotton

Photography Jack Alexander

Beauty Rachel Raffety

An afternoon with Yuna – exclusive shoot and interview

At first glance, Yuna is a Malaysian singer-songwriter who’s released three studio albums internationally. But we think it’s safe to say that she’s actually more of a creative entrepreneur whose main focus is music. Yuna’s latest album, Chapters, features Usher on its lead single, but being a recording artist is just one of Yuna’s many ventures. She’s also the founder of an online clothing store called November Culture, and on top of that, Yuna’s in the process of starting a “creative agency” to help artists promote their work online. Oh, and in March, she organized and hosted a music festival in Kuala Lumpur.

Top – 2NDDAY / Jumpsuit – Sosander / Neckless – Lola&Grace

 

FAULT: What initially brought you to L.A.?

Yuna: I moved out here about six years ago. Back home, I wrote my own stuff, and I had a band, but it felt like: Aww I really want to create music, but I just cant, you know? The only way to do it is to find another place to grow.

Not to say that if I stayed in Malaysia I wouldn’t have been able to break through to international markets, but moving out here really changed the way I work. I’m learning a lot of things about myself and the industry. I’ve worked harder, and I feel like I became another person. So yeah, I needed a change, and I just needed to be better in everything I was doing before.

Earrings – Accessorise / Jacket – Emma Charles / Dress (worn as top) – 2NDDAY / Trouser – Scotch & Soda

FAULT: What was it like working with Usher on “Crush”?

Yuna: It was really cool. I’ve been a huge fan for the longest time. I used to listen to all his music growing up in Malaysia. I’m a huge R&B fan, and Usher has always been a name I never even thought about it getting to work with. As an artist and songwriter, you’re just like: “Hmm who do you want to have on this track?”

And in my mind, when I wrote “Crush,” I was like: “Okay, let’s just go for Usher. Not sure if he’s gonna say yes, but let’s just ask him.”

I was very lucky to have him as part of the album, and it turned out really, really great.

He was super supportive as well. I felt like I was really new in the industry, and to see that kind of humility in him, working with a new artist like myself is really cool.

Turban – Gudrun Sjödén / Kimono – Gudrun Sjödén

FAULT: You felt new to the business even though it was your third album?

Yuna: Yeah, I still feel very new. I’ve done this for 10 years; I started when I was 20 or 21 back home in Malaysia. When I moved out here, it felt like going back to square one, slowly learning and growing. I feel like that was a good thing.

I’m always excited about: “Ooh, what’s gonna happen next? Let’s try something new.”

I also feel that a lot of people are still out there, still discovering my music. I’m really happy that’s happening. It’s slow, but it’s very natural and organic. It’s pretty much just me making music and people finding out about me on Spotify or whatever. So it’s cool.

FAULT: When I listen to your song “Places To Go,” and especially when I watch the video, I can’t help but think about the Muslim ban or travel ban or whatever you want to call it. What should people be doing about the political climate at this point?

Yuna: The first big focus is being positive … There’s always a constant struggle, so you always have to have that fire inside of you and always believe that things are gonna get better. And always believe that whatever happens, you’re always gonna do the right thing.

Jumper – 2NDDAY / Dress – Samsoe & Samsoe / Earrings – Accesorise

FAULT: What is Lovelifest?

Yuna: Lovelifest is a music and arts festival that focuses on Malaysian local arts. It’s actually something I wanted to do for the longest time, because of a lot of people told me: “Oh you’re gonna do a music festival? That’s kinda crazy. You’re not gonna be able to do it.”

And I did it.

It was a lot of work, but it was very successful. It’s based in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, which is the capital city of Malaysia, where I grew up. I had all my friends come to perform, and all of their fans came to the festival and enjoyed themselves. I was just really happy that I managed to put that together. I had a great team; they were all super on-point with everything, so I was lucky to have them.

FAULT: What are the challenges of creating something that big? Not too long ago, the whole world saw how badly a festival can go. What goes into creating a good one?

Yuna: The biggest challenge would have to be teamwork. The reason why I managed to do this was that everyone was on board with what we wanted to do. I never once had a disagreement or a argument with anybody, whether it was an artist who was performing, or their manager, or my team. I was really lucky because these were the people I grew up with, and I kept a lot of positive people around me. So it went pretty well, I guess, for my first festival. We didn’t lose any money, and we had fun. It was like mini Coachella, which I’m really proud of. I love music festivals, and I go to a lot of music festivals, so to be able to create a similar vibe is pretty amazing.

Coat – Samsoe & Samsoe / Top & Trouser – Scotch and Soda / Shirt – Ghost / Earrings – Whistles

FAULT: Are there going to be more editions of it? Is it going to be a yearly thing?

Yuna: We want it to be a yearly thing, but for now, I think we’re trying to focus on making it maybe once every two years, because it’s a ton of work. It took a lot of time prepping for it, so we’ll see.

FAULT: What are your plans for the near future? I understand you’re doing Wireless and Glastonbury this summer?

Yuna: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting; I’ve never performed at any music festival in the U.K., so this will be my first time. I’m really excited about Glastonbury; I’ve never been, and it’s such a huge deal for me. And I’m really excited about Wireless because a lot of my friends have performed there, so it’s kind of cool when you’re able to share the stage with some of the people you know.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Yuna: I’m always late. I think a lot of people will agree that I’m always late for something. And I always have trouble sleeping, so I always end up being really late. Maybe I drink too much coffee. I need to change that.

 

Yuna’s third studio album ‘Chapters’ is out now. She performs at Wireless and Glastonbury festivals this summer.
Listen to Yuna – Chapters on Spotify here.

Words Cody Fitzpatrick

Photos Stephanie YT

Styling Edith Walker Millwood

MUA Abbie May

Fault sits down with Hey Violet

“You know what would be goals?” exclaimed Rena, the pink-haired vocalist and soul of the band. “What if we had holograms of ourselves? And then, if we were really tired, we could just send them out!” The outburst, met with cries of derision and glee alike, perfectly defines the spirit of pop-rock band Hey Violet – just a group of five friends from California determined to play music whilst encapsulating today’s youthful vision of a band on tour.

 

For those of you who haven’t heard of 5SOS’ first signing to Capitol Records, you probably should; and if you haven’t, your little sister definitely has. The young five-piece, consisting of sisters and founding members Rena and Nia Lovelis, Miranda Miller, Casey Moreta, and Iain Shipp, have been steadily taking over Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram with a Western hemisphere dominance counter-reflective of The Beatles’ rise to fame, albeit in a social media-led fashion.

Despite opening for prestigious bands such as Foo Fighters, Steel Panthers, and Lostprophets, and featuring at festivals such as Reading and Leeds Festival, the band haven’t let fame go to their head – at all. We’re interviewing the five in a hotel just off Shoreditch High Street and, despite their massive following, this feels merely like a casual sit-down with a couple of buddies. There’s none of the pretentious charades put on by other bands, or diva requests for no recording or certain questions. There’s just five relaxed friends, laughing, joking, and enjoying their time touring and seeing fans. Read on for our rapidfire Q&A with Hey Violet’s squad. Just a quick note: the interview has been edited for clarity. There was way too much bickering and squabbling over who’s who in How I Met Your Mother.

 

So, there’s five of you. If you had to choose five characters from Friends, who would you all be?

Rena: I’d be Rachel.

Nia: I’m Monica. [points at Miranda] You’re Phoebe. And Casey’s Chandler.

Iain: Which am I?

Rena: He’s not Ross.

Nia: I feel he’s more Ross than Joey. Joey’s kinda dumb.

Iain: But Ross is so naggy. Ross is annoying.

Nia: He is. But he plays keyboards though. Ross is a fuckboy.

Iain: Alright, I guess I’ll take the L?

Rena: I feel like both of them would be Chandler, with a little bit of Ross.

Nia: Yeah, you can both be Chandler.

Iain: What, no!

Casey: We’ll both be Chandler. No Ross.

Iain: Joey’s an actor, right?

Nia: Yeah, but he’s really dumb.

Iain: But he’s an artist. Career-wise, we’re both in a similar boat.

Rena: Okay, Iann’s Joey.

Iain: I guess I’ll take Joey, taking L’s left and right.

Nia: I’d rather be Joey to be honest.

Miranda: But nobody in this band is that dumb?

 

Same question, but How I Met Your Mother instead.

Nia: Thank you! I love How I Met Your Mother. It’s so much better than Friends.

Casey: Agreed, Friends sucks. HIMYM is life.

Rena: I think that Nia is Robin.

Casey: Nia is Robin.

Nia: I feel like, in a weird way, Casey is Barney Stinson.

Rena: What?! No way. Casey is Marshall.

Casey: I’m Barney Stinson in a funny way, not the player way.

Rena: Iann’s Ted Moseby. Casey is Marshall.

Nia: Rena and Iann are definitely Lily and Marshall!

Miranda: Who am I?

Nia: I need to figure that out.

Casey: I’m like funny Barney?

Miranda: I feel like I’m Robin?

Rena: Nia’s more Robin. We could argue about this forever.

But seriously, who’s who?

Nia: Iain’s Ted, I’m Robin, Casey’s Barney, Miranda’s Marshall, and Rena’s Lily.

 

What’s playing on your Spotify?

Iain: I’ve been listening to JoJe. He’s a little producer out of New York. He’s a bit like Frank Ocean? He’s not Frank Ocean, but that’s the closest thing I can describe him to. And probably Grimez, I love Grimez.

Nia: I like looking on the Spotify new releases and finding new things. I find myself going down a pit, and listening to the same thing, and I hate it.

Miranda: I’ve been listening to Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar.

Rena: Yaaaas gurl, new Kendrick!

Miranda: It’s so good. Daaamn, right?

Casey: Mine is Father John Misty?

Rena: Probably Dream Koala.

 

What TV series are you guys binging at the moment?

Nia: The Walking Dead. The Office US. I tried to watch the UK version, it’s too awkward.

Rena: Black Mirror.

Casey: Rick and Morty.

Iain: Mr Robot.

If you could design your dream live show, what would it be?

Iain: Mr Robot. Oh wait, live show?

Miranda: We actually have a group chat where we send each other ideas for stuff we can’t afford yet for our shows.

Iain: We literally do.

Miranda: We love, like, pinks and blues and very vibrant colours.

Nia: I think also Miranda showed us this documentary that explained this one particular stage designer’s process. Kind of rather than having a normal band set-up, she would have the stage levelled so that all the members were on platforms so that they were equal.

Miranda: She was just so out-of-the-box when she designed things that, I don’t know if it’s all of your dreams, but it’s my dream to work with somebody who thinks like that.

Rena: You know what would be goals? You know how when you get off a plane and we’re really tired? What if we had holograms of ourselves? And then, if we were really tired, we could just send them out.

Nia: I wouldn’t like that.

Miranda: Being on stage is the fun part of life.

Casey: That’s like one step away from lip-syncing – not only are you not singing, but you’re not even there. Like you could be at the hotel just like telling the tour manager what to do.

Iain: But check it out, The Gorillaz sell out stadiums and they’re like not even real.

Casey: But that’s a cultural thing. The characters aren’t people, y’know?

Miranda: But being on stage is the thing that we live for!

Rena: Well, we just want a cool show, y’know?

 

How did you choose Hey Violet as a name?

Rena: Everyone asks us that. It’s such a boring answer. We were searching through names, and going on band-generator.com and finding names, and we had terrible ones like banana pie and all that. We literally went through over 500 different names.

Nia: We counted them.

Rena: Sometimes the names that were coming up were Hey Velvet, or Violet Mouth, and those words kept on coming up. And then somebody shouted out ‘Hey Violet!’. And we just really liked the sound of it.

What’s the go-to hashtag?

Iain: #beastmode.

Rena: Oh my god.

Nia: #fromtheoutside

Casey: Two bad hashtags in a row.

Rena: I don’t know if it’s my favourite, because there’s a lot of good hashtags out there, but one of my favourite ones is when people would do selfies for Hey Violet to gain confidence.

Nia: Fans started it on Twitter. It wasn’t us, it was them doing it just for confidence really.

Rena: It was about seeing each other, and making friends. It was a very positive project, and I liked that. I really liked that. It wasn’t just about their looks, but we actually got to see the fans who loved our music. That was really cool.

 

What’s the one question you’d ask yourself?

Nia: Ooo, what do we never get asked?

Rena: You know, this one is kinda hard, but I like this one. Describe each other in one word. We’re gonna argue though.

Miranda: Can I go first? Iann: underground. Rena:…

Rena: Choose wisely.

Miranda: I’ll come back to you.Nia: Manic. Casey: cynical. Rena: You’re, uhm, hold up, what’s like a word for like you go after what you want? Focused. But not like in a way when you focus on things, because your focus isn’t that great. Driven?

Casey: Okay, uhm, Iann: indie. That’s all he gets. Hipster. I change it, he’s hipster. Rena: annoying? Nia: Also annoying. And you too Miranda.

[lots of arguing]

Rena: Iann is obscure. I’m fashionable. Nia: Very stubborn. Casey is, uhmm, hilarious? And Miranda is intelligent. How would you describe us?

[Writer’s note: I had to describe the band. Please don’t judge me too harshly HV fans, pretty please]

Fault: Am I allowed to piss off the band?

Rena: Yes. Definitely.

Nia: Please, we’ve never had this before. But be honest.

Iain: Roast us!

Nia: If anyone asks us why the band’s crying, we’ll say it’s just us.

Fault: Okay, this is going to be bad, isn’t it? Nia, definitely ‘Italian’.

Nia: Wait, did you know that? I am Italian!

Fault: Rena: ‘Tumblr’.

Rena: Am I?

Whole band: Yeah.

Iain: Roasted.

Fault: Casey would be ‘drummer’.

Casey: I get that a lot.

Nia: I’m offended by that. I’m the drummer!

Fault: Iann would probably be dark and mysterious. That’s not one word, but that’s what I’ve got.

Iain: I’ll take it.

Fault: And Miranda? I don’t know, academic?

Miranda: I do study. Like, a lot.

Iain: We asked him to roast us and he just boosted our confidence. Except from Casey.

 

Check out Hey Violet’s latest release From The Outside here.
Words Danny Judge

Dua Lipa dishes on debut album in exclusive Fault shoot and interview

FAULT first featured Dua Lipa as one of our ones to watch for 2016 back in Issue 23. Building a fiercely loyal fanbase, we all held our breath in anticipation for what would come in the future. Now it’s 2017 and Dua is a household name from her single releases alone and with the arrival of her debut album today, we caught back up with Dua to see what’s new, what’s changed and what’s still FAULTY.

It’s finally here, is it weird to know your album is finally out?

It’s exciting and I think it’ll be weird on the day. In fact, it’s the morning after that I think will be the most crazy as it’ll be out. I’ve not been able to add to it for a little while and it’s just been really exciting to see it come together.

 

You spoke to FAULT about a year ago and your mind-set was very much in the place of “I’m free to write about anything I want so I’m going to” – has your mind-set changed since then?

Now I’m really focussing on being present and mindful in everything I do, it’s all about enjoying the journey.

 

Back then you said your FAULT was that you overwork – would you say that’s changed since then?

I’m still working hard because I love what I do although I’m not overthinking anymore and that’s something I’ve consciously made a decision to do. It’s not worth dwelling over and for me, if it feels right at the time I might as well just go for it and live in the present and then move on to the next thing.

 

What’s been your favourite moment so far?

I’ve really enjoyed being on tour and I love being able to go on tour and see different places. I just came back from southeast Asia and it’s interesting to see and amazing to find that I have an audience over there. It’s been really great.

 

Are you the same Dua when you’re on stage compared to when you’re in the studio?

I’m not; when I’m in the studio I’m more contained and a lot of emotion goes into really telling my story through my vocal and my lyrics. When I’m on stage, it’s a lot about just having fun and it all goes in waves. You start dancing, then you have a cry but we always send you home dancing again and I feel like when I’m on stage and as much as I get my emotions across I also make sure my audience is having fun. I can feed off the audience more on stage also, if they’re having a good time then I’m having a good time.

 

You’ve just released your song with Miguel also – how did that come about?

He’s always been an artist that I loved and admired for his work as a songwriter so I reached out and he was lovely and got back and said “let’s do it!”. I’ve done collaborations with artists before ever meeting them but with Miguel, I was able to form that relationship with him through writing together in the studio.

 

Through much of your career music writers have described you as “the next big thing” and we’ve all been told your album “will be great” – now we draw closer to release do you feel a lot of pressure to live up to the hype placed on you?

I feel pressure; there’s always pressure that comes with people’s expectations of you but during my career I’ve been very lucky to have people put me on their ones to watch lists and it’s helped me get to where I am but also pushed me to tell myself “I have to make sure all these people are right”. I don’t want people to look back at those articles like “oh, whatever happened to Dua?”, so yes there’s pressure to work hard to prove them and myself right.

 

What’s your plan post-release?

The day the album comes out I fly to NYC for Governor’s Ball and I’ll be there for a couple days and then I play festival season until September. From October through the end of the year I’ll have my album tour and then I’m off on tour with Bruno Mars! As crazy as it sounds, I’ve already started work on the 2nd album and I’ll focus a bit on that in January.

 

Is writing still fluid?

I feel like so much has happened that I need to write about and when I get into the studio I just add those words to melody.

 

Favourite tongue twister?

Peter Piper Picked A Peck Of Pickled Peppers.

What is your FAULT?

The album not coming out in February, because it was completely my doing.

 

Was it the right decision?

Absolutely! I was upset, my fans were upset and it was entirely my FAULT but I’m really happy I did and because I released so many songs I’ve been able to put some new songs on the album and have it sounding brand new.

 

Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album is out today.

Words Miles Holder

Photography Jack Alexander

Makeup Francesca Brazzo

Hair Anna Cofone

Bundle of Joy: Burgeoning London-based songstress Joy Crookes Releases Third Single ‘Bad Feeling’

Despite being only 18-years young, seemingly everyone from the established indie blogosphere right through to Brooklyn Beckham are sitting up and taking notice of London-based trip-hop, soul-infused singer, Joy Crookes. Having released 60’s-soul inspired, twilight hour baroque-pop ballads in Sinatra and New Manhattan last year, Crookes releases third single ‘Bad Feeling’, a musical shift towards jazz-enthused, R&B grooves showing a tongue-in-cheek side to the singer who wears a myriad of cultural influences on her sleeve.

Citing a range of genres and artists as seemingly polarising as Lauryn Hill, Nancy Sinatra, The Clash, and Van Morrison as inspirations, Crookes’ has developed a mature, multi-faceted sound which bodes well for her forthcoming debut EP release, produced by Tev’n (SBTRKT, Celeste, Lily Allen). Sold out shows last year included a packed-to-the-rafters Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, with forthcoming gigs at Bushstock Festival in London and a performance at Live Nation’s renowned Source Night on 14th July offering must-see opportunities to see a star in the making.

We recently sat down with Crookes to discuss her intriguing background and how her influences have filtered into a distinctly signature sound.

Joy Crookes Bad Feeling

 

Many people are linking your music so far to Lauryn Hill – would you say that was a fair assessment?

I love Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Grace Jones. I love artists that seem real or authentic, so I can say I love their authenticity. I wouldn’t say I was directly inspired by Lauryn Hill. I think it’s more complex than saying I’m inspired by one female artist. I think it’s more that people want to understand what you’re about before they listen to you, and sometimes you get comparisons. I never thought I’d be compared with Lauryn Hill, it’s crazy! I grew up on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but I’m from a very eclectic background of music.

What would you say are the most prominent influences from your background?

I’m from South London, which is just a melting pot of cultures. I’m part of one of the biggest Latino communities in London, which is linked to Caribbean and West African communities, while my Dad is Irish. I’m an ethnic chic so I understand the comparisons with someone like Lauryn Hill, but when I’m making music I tend to think more of Nancy Sinatra and Eartha Kitt. I’m quite an emotional person, and I’ve had things happen with family and mental health issues so I think when you suffer experiences like that from an early age, you observe things differently and it can make you quite mature. You feel ten times more than anyone else feels at the time.

Tell us a bit more about the creative process behind your latest single ‘Bad Feeling’?

It’s very tongue in cheek and I wrote the chorus part in that vein. Eartha Kitt is incredible and she’s so cheeky, when she does her videos she looks like a lion or a tiger, so Bad Feeling was much the same in that it was a cheeky song and it was done very quickly. It’s a surface level song, you know, we’ve all been through it. It’s not about immigration or anything, it’s simple. I wrote it during a writing camp and there was a funny moment during the experience that I exaggerated and made it about myself.

You hear a lot of songs taking about relationships where the protagonist is worried the other person is going to leave them, while your take on romance on ‘Bad Feeling’ is more about not being sure of yourself.

I am such a cheeky character but I don’t think you grasp that on New Manhattan or Sinatra. New Manhattan reflects more my Irish emotional side, while Bad Feeling represents the charm and whit of my mum who moved over from Bengal when she was just sixteen. She inspired me to be memorable and I think when you meet people like that you get excited, so I wanted to reflect that side of my personality in the song, and show people that I can be funny and quite cheeky as well as being emotional.

 

Going back to previous releases such as New Manhattan and Sinatra, there seems to be a lot of dreamy, emotive, Lana Del Rey inspired imagery on those songs, was this a conscious direction in sound?

The one thing I can say about Lana is that if David Lynch made music the result would be her, with the themes of drugs and sex. I’m hugely into Massive Attack, as I grew up listening to the whole Bristol music scene. Their song ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ is a good example, where they have a soul singer with an orchestra and Latin percussion backing her. There is so much going on and so many influences in their music that I couldn’t replicate everything. New Manhattan is a commercially sounding track, but the guitar does have that Lynchian/Nancy Sinatra sound, while the drum beat is straight out of a Massive Attack song.

It’s amazing to be compared to people like Lana Del Rey because that means people are trying to understand the music from a commercial degree, but then if you look in more detail and learn the reasons behind why I added certain influences then it’s a little more complex. I’m 18 years old and a girl from South London who is sponge when it comes to life experiences, so anything my family or my boyfriend says, or even the music I listen to has an impact, so I’m as much of a melting pot as my location and cultural upbringing.

What’s the story behind New Manhattan?

It’s a place in Brussels that I visited with my boyfriend, and I just felt compelled to write an observational story about the area, which quickly developed into a love song. There was a red-light district, so that’s where the lyric ‘I took a picture with my eyes, and I’m frightened of girls in plastic heights’ came from. It hurt to be in an area like that and realise that a country home to the European Commission can also have streets that are filled with hookers and others which are family street markets in contrast, so it was quite difficult for someone who hadn’t been in an area like that before. The general idea with the song was that you can be anywhere and be comfortable as long as you have the right person next to you.

Although it’s still early days, what do you hope to achieve in music?

I would like to be known as iconic, and to feel like I’ve made a difference to people. My favourite subject at school was history, and I had this brilliant history teacher who taught me about different cultures and mental health, which was quite inspirational while growing up in Elephant and Castle at the time. The main issue I remember her talking about was American history and the misuse of power, which can happen to everyone no matter how big or small. I always wanted to write songs from the perspective of being a woman with colour and how it has shaped my life.

Words Jamie Boyd

 

Stream Joy’s new track BAD FEELING below:

Get to know rising star Olly Chamberlain

Brought up by classically trained parents, becoming a singer/songwriter was always on the cards for London-based artist Olly Chamberlain. With his new EP ready for release and great things on the horizon, Olly sits down to talk about career goals, collaborations and clarinets. Make sure you check out Olly’s irresistibly catchy new single ‘Fear’ with its R&B edge and captivating vocals.

How would you describe your sound?

These past couple of years I have been experimenting with my sound. I have an eclectic combination of genres, but I would say it’s a mixture of soul, pop and R&B. I play the guitar and piano so some tracks are more singer/songwriter.

 

Tell us about your track ‘Fear’?

Well, it’s basically about the current climate; you know, this world we find ourselves living in. Especially today, the media pushes a lot of what we know onto us and it is often warped. I try to put a human side into what I write, and ‘Fear’ is about wanting to leave all of this behind. It’s actually very ironic, I think it was the day after I penned the track in the studio, Trump won the presidency. It was clear to me then how much fear there is globally.

 

Who were your musical inspirations growing up?

A lot of the music I listened to was during long car journeys with my dad. My dad was also a musician so he had great taste. We would listen to Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road, Graceland by Paul Simon and Billy Joel, and then as I got older I discovered soul, blues and R&B.

Both of my parents were classically trained musicians; they met as students at The Royal Academy of Music. My mum was a pianist and my dad was a clarinettist, so they were also a huge inspiration – music was a core part of my upbringing.
I also played the clarinet and piano. I did my grade eight clarinet when I was 14 and then felt as though I had nothing to work towards so I began to teach. You wouldn’t believe how many clarinets I have at my parents’ house – there are probably around 40! I started to teach myself guitar when I was 15. My siblings were also musical – my twin was exceptionally talented and we used to jam a lot – but I was the only one who decided to make a career of it.

 

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would that be?

This is a tough one as it’s pretty much anyone I’ve been influenced by, like Stevie Wonder, Tracy Chapman, John Legend, John Mayer and Elton John. In terms of newer emerging acts, I would love to work with NAO, SOHN, Zac Abel and Glass Animals to name a few. I would also love to do a feature with Snakehips. I can really picture something amazing between us – I’m a big fan.

You have a gig on 1st June at The Bedford in Balham, London where you will be performing your new track ‘Fear’. Do you have any more shows or festivals coming up?

It’s early days but there might be a UK tour in the pipeline, which is exciting. I will be sure to make a big song and dance about it beforehand though.

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

I’m convinced most people don’t make it because they give up. It’s an unforgiving and tough industry which can leave you feeling deflated, but my advice would be don’t give up if you truly believe you can make it.

 

You say that you don’t get nervous before you go on stage but do you have any pre-gig rituals?

Yes, it’s a very odd one though; I make sure I don’t talk to anyone before I go on stage. It sounds silly but I want to protect my voice as much as I can and perform to my best ability. I will chat away to everyone after I’ve done my set.

I did Pixie Lott’s Presents Ella Guru, which is an acoustic night. A lot of my friends and supporters turned up which was amazing but I couldn’t talk to them. In the end I had to blank them as I couldn’t keep explaining why I was being odd! It’s a form of meditation really.

What are you career goals? Where would you like to see yourself in a few years?

Like every artist I just want to be heard. People will judge for themselves once they hear me so I just want to keep the momentum going and release more music. I want to play at all of the festivals, well most of them, I don’t think I would fit in at Download Festival. Saying that, I used to play in a heavy metal band when I was 14 years old, and we thought we were very cool. I think it’s a rite of passage to be in a terrible band as a teen!

 

You studied for a degree in philosophy. Do you think this helped with your song writing?

I get asked this a lot. You would think the degree would help me write deep and meaningful songs but I’m not sure it helped as much as you would think. I took philosophy because I hoped it would give me answers but it made me question everything a whole lot more. Now I’m really into physics – especially quantum mechanics. It’s challenged all my previous beliefs and changed my perception of reality. Imagine a computer that relies on the multiverse for it’s processing power – that’s pretty mental! That’s the sort of thing that really excites me. If I could find the spare time, I would love to study the subject at university level. It wouldn’t be a vocational decision as I still love to sing. I’m probably a bit of a nerd.

 

So, what is your Fault?

I’m gluten intolerant but here I am eating a croissant. I’m going to suffer big time for this but it’s my fault!

 

Find Olly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Words Flora Neighbour

Photography Stephanie YT

Styling Michael Grant

Rising star Raye is just getting started: Exclusive Fault shoot and interview

At just 19, South London songstress Raye is setting her sights on world domination. Featured on BBC Music’s Sound Of 2017 list – which aims to predict the most exciting new musicians of the year – the Brit School alumni’s distinctive, sultry vocals has won her collaborations with big name artists such as Nas, Stormzy and Charli XCX, the latter of whom co-wrote Raye’s breakthrough single ‘I, U, Us’.

Now signed to Polydor, Raye will be touring a number of UK festivals this year, including Parklife, Lovebox and V Festival. We spoke to the rising star about her musical influences, overcoming her fears, why guilty pleasures can be cool, and shooting for the stars.

Growing up in a music-loving family, was your decision to pursue a music career based more on nurture or nature?

I’d probably say both. All my sisters can sing, maybe it’s genetic, but also nurture because it [music] was always around me growing up. Being able to perform is a recent revelation; I’ve always had it in me but I’ve never quite been able to go for it. When I was doing my first support gig maybe one or two years ago, I was very much by the microphone, a bit scared of the stage and using the space. But I recently had a revelation that I could be myself. I think now, when I’m on stage, I really am myself.

Shirt – House of Sunny @ Utter Couture boutique / Jacket – Teatum Jones

 

Who do you look to for inspiration and influence musically?

I’m part African, I’m part Swiss and then British and I guess I’ve grown up hearing lots and lots of different styles and types [of music]. I think I take a lot from my African roots – I’m a quarter Ghanaian – and I was always brought up listening to gospel church music, but being from Ghana it always had these amazing afrobeats. I grew up listening to a lot of empowered, really proficient female songwriters: Natasha Bedingfield, Nelly Furtado, Jill Scott, Nina Simone. I had a really healthy dose growing up, but those were the things I latched on to most.

How would you describe your creative process?

I’ve been writing for quite a while. Five or six years full-time almost. I don’t like to have specific habits; I think the lyrics are very important, I like a strong lyric to come in with. Often, before I get to the session, however I’m travelling there, I’ll just do a little brainstorm before I get in, log some lyric and melody ideas, I’ll record some voice notes. My phone is all clogged up with voice notes and lyric ideas! Usually, I just go in, meet the people and present my ideas. It’s good to come prepared.

Shirt – House of Sunny @ Utter Couture boutique

You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists – Stormzy, Nas, Jonas Blue, Jax Jones and Charli XCX. How did these collabs come about?

Most of them were just being in the right place at the right time, honestly. This whole thing is just a bit of luck and hard work. I just thought to myself when I was a kid, if I’m in the studio enough and I meet people, then I’ll start to open doors for myself – and that’s exactly what kind of happened. With Charli, I became really good mates with her after we had sessions together and then she wanted to do more and ended up directing my music video for me.

You write a lot of your own material. Would you say your songs are predominantly autobiographical?

Most of them. I do act like an over dramatic 19-year-old girl, I over-exaggerate everything, but the songs are about dramatisations. Exaggerations of small issues. They’re mostly very personal and real to me.

Jacket – Teatum Jones

 

At your recent headline show at Heaven, you performed Britney’s Womaniser. Do you have any other guilty pleasures you love to listen to?

I’ve got hundreds, loads! You know what I really love? ‘Birthday’ by Katy Perry! I put it on when I’m doing my washing in the house. I love guilty pleasures; there’s so much naughty pop music that’s “not cool” to listen to but that’s why I wanted to do ‘Womaniser’ because I could dance round my living room to it. For weeks on end I’ve wanted nothing more than to do my own little karaoke version of it on stage, it was really fun. I did get a lot of stick for wanting to put that in from my management. I think it’s actually cool when you’re not trying to do something, you’re just having fun. On stage, that’s what it’s all about for me. You just want to have fun and you want people to have fun with you.

Do you have any pre-show rituals to psych yourself up before you go on stage?

I get ready, have my honey and lemon and then I just jump around really. We put a playlist on and just go a bit wild, American rap vibes, massively turn up. Before you go on stage, you need to feel like, “I’m the shit,” even though you’re not. I listen to JME, Giggs, Stormzy – just the big UK grime stuff before I go on stage.

Robe – Felder Felder / Dress – Just Hype

What’s your career goal? The feeling you’ll have when you know you’ve ‘made it’?

I have the biggest dreams. I really wanna achieve world bloody domination! I just wanna be a massive artist and I want everybody to play my songs. I know this is a really weird thing for a British artist to say because we’re so humble over here; you don’t say those things, it’s not cool, you know? Your Katy Perrys, your Taylor Swifts and Rihannas – they’re on the next level. I wanna reach that. I mean I’m 19 and if I work bloody hard enough, who knows?

What is your FAULT?

I can be very impatient. When you’re writing songs every day, there’s so many that never come out. [New song ‘The Line’] was written two years ago and it’s only just come out! I really do have to learn to be patient.

Raye’s new track THE LINE is out today. Find it here: https://raye.lnk.to/TheLinePR

Catch her on FacebookTwitterInstagram

Words: Aimee Phillips

Photography: Ashleigh Nayomi

Styling: Edith Walker Millwood

Make-Up: Abbie May using Inglot

Hair: Nick Peters @ Eighteen Management

Tove Styrke spills on comeback single ‘Say My Name’ and future plans

Swedish singer Tove Styrke dropped her latest single, “Say My Name,” in April via Sony Music. The track, produced by Elof Loelv, could potentially be a part of her third studio album, but for now, she’s taking things one song at a time.

FAULT: How does “Say My Name” compare with the songs you’ve made before?

Tove: On my last album, it was me looking on the world, sort of outrospect. The sound was very big kind of vibe. It was a lot of instruments and different things. This time it’s more introspect. It’s more about “the feeling”—those little things that go on inside you. It’s a love song. The sound is very minimal. I tried to strip it down as much as I possibly could.

FAULT: The title reminds me of two other songs: the Destiny’s Child track of the same name, and your 2011 single “Call My Name.” Did either of those influence this song?

Tove: They actually didn’t. But I love “Say My Name,” the original.

FAULT: What are your plans for the near future? Do you have a new album coming ?

Tove: No plans for an album yet. My ambition for this summer and fall is just to keep working on songs, simultaneously writing and releasing. We’ll see what comes of it. Maybe we’ll put it together later, but I’m keeping it quite open.

FAULT: Zara Larsson told Billboard that Swedish audiences are much more likely to use Spotify, which started in Sweden, than they are to purchase music or use another streaming service. Has that been your experience with the Swedish section of your audience as well?

Tove: We’ve had Spotify for a long time, so it’s been the main source for people here to listen to music for years now.

FAULT: What was your experience on Swedish Idol in 2009 like?

Tove: It was great for me. I don’t have any complicated feelings about it. I got a record deal, and it worked out well.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Tove: I think I assume that people don’t like me, which I need to stop doing. Because generally, people are nice.

 

Watch the video for ‘Say My Name’ below.

You can find Tove Styrke on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Words Cody Fitzpatrick

Photos Emma Svensson