Naomi Wollacott


FAULT: You describe you sound as Alternative / Folk Rock / Pop. How do
you keep your sound so unique?

Naomi: The songs I write are a fusion of all the musical influences that have touched my life; from pop and rock, to classical and jazz. I think it is inevitable that all these different musical ideas inspire me and come together when I compose. I never really have a fixed idea of what style of song I want to write, I rather let the song mould itself and go where it wants. So in that sense, my music is built upon my influences and experiences and is quite simply and uniquely ‘me!’ It is also for these reasons that I describe my sound more generally under the banners of ‘alternative, folk rock and pop,’ as I find it hard to pigeon hole my music into one box. I like to feel unrestricted when composing.

FAULT: What does the word pop mean to you?

Naomi:The word ‘pop’ essentially refers to popular music. It’s a style that has absorbed influences from all other forms of music with the aim of appealing to a general audience. To me, ‘pop’ has to be flexible, changing and evolving with current trends, and aiming to produce something new and different.

FAULT: Who did you grow up listening to?

Naomi:I was very lucky to be brought up surrounded by lots of different styles of music. I have memories of The Beatles blasting out at home and my dad playing the likes of Mozart in the car! As I’m sure most girls do in their teens, I went through a boy band stage and loved The Backstreet Boys and Take That (now of course a guilty pleasure!) At the same time though, I’ve always been keen to seek out songwriters that write with a strong lyrical focus, and can remember the excitement of discovering singer songwriters like Sarah McLachlan, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.

FAULT: Do you come from a musical family?

Naomi:I absolutely do. Both my parents are music teachers so music has also been a strong presence in my life from an early age. I think music must be in my blood, because I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to sing or play the piano. My family have always encouraged me to pursue my music, by taking music exams when I was younger, getting involved in local events and making the best of opportunities that come my away as well as creating them for myself. This kind of support and positivity is invaluable, especially in an industry where you typically face numerous obstacles and knock backs.

FAULT: What can we expect from Naomi Wollacott in 2011?

Naomi:I hope that you will certainly hear more about me this year and hear more of my songs. In terms of promotional material, I have a 5 track EP that I am circulating at the moment, and I have a catalogue of songs that just seems to grow and grow. I am trying to get my music out there to a wider audience and am putting all my efforts into publicising who I am and the music I write. The Music Industry is such a hard industry to break into, so I try not to have fixed expectations as I think that can be limiting and disappointing. Instead, I am hopeful and have lots of expectancy about this year.

FAULT: You have lots of live shows coming up, how do you prepare?

Naomi:I think I just try to keep calm about things and retain the ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ hopefulness. I’ve been doing a number of radio interviews recently, and I’ve found that you can’t really prepare too much for them as you don’t know what questions you will get asked and what response you will get. But I think if I’m happy with my songs then I’m as fully prepared as I can be, and sometimes they do a lot of the talking for you.

FAULT: What is it like being based in Nottingham?

Naomi:Nottingham is a great city and offers everything you could really want. There are some great songwriters and bands, and a strong network of musicians. It’s in a good location in the Midlands too which makes travelling easy, but I’m always happy to return home.

FAULT: Are you inspired by your surroundings?

Naomi:There’s definitely something inspiring about a thriving ‘big city’ feel. It’s exciting, it’s always changing and you never know who you will meet that day when you wake up in the morning. It’s something I’ve written about before in my songs. For example, in the song ‘Butterflies,’ I try to capture the sometimes negative hustle and bustle of city life: “There’s a cold grey pavement underneath my shoes, I’m passing blank faces and city morning queues. The early mist is rising as if to try to lift my blues, but I won’t be smiling until I get to you.” I think it’s not just what I see around me that inspires me to write though, it’s also my imagination. Sometimes it’s nice to escape from things and create something different. That’s what I like about song writing. It’s like drama in the sense that you can create any character, situation or feeling, and try to portray that through music to engage people emotionally. You can draw people in to your little world, show them a snapshot, and let them use their imagination to build their own unique picture and understanding. People always seem to find it particularly interesting that I have an MSc in Psychology and have chosen to pursue a career as a singer songwriter. For me, it’s a deeply embedded and irremovable dream, and the best form of self-expression. My song writing is undoubtedly inspired by the fundamental psychological questions of why we are the way we are, and why we do things the way we do. I think if I can touch people emotionally with my music, then I will continue to be inspired.

FAULT: What is the creative process of your sound?

Naomi:It doesn’t fit a concrete mould. Sometimes the lyrics come first and the music afterwards, and other times I find myself with an interesting melody or chord progression and no lyrics. Whichever way, I try to write with a mood, feeling or situation in mind. The piano part is recorded on an electric keyboard with a demo vocal track and then the fun begins. In the age of technology, I am able to play in numerous parts on the keyboard and select which instruments I would like to have play them. All the parts come together to create a layering of sounds. I’m lucky to have met the great Producer, Joe Sharp, as he understands my vision for my music and is able to help me translate that. With his skill, I feel able to compose unrestricted in the knowledge that it will have that extra layer of sparkle! I’m also lucky that Bassists Pete Delf and Darren Fretwell have played on my tracks with charisma and insight.

FAULT: What was the inspiration behind Broken Glass?

Naomi:Broken Glass is one of those songs that I hope everyone can identify with as it’s about a rocky relationship. The song describes how difficult it can be when love gets hard and things aren’t working out. There are a few images in the song that I hope really help to paint the picture, such as: “…I don’t wanna see my face in the bar light, trying to resolve another fight. Drinking too fast and talking too slow, you walked and I let you go.” This is one of the few songs that isn’t lead musically by the piano. Guitars take the lead with a good old flick of passion from the electric organ, giving it an overall soft rock feel.

FAULT: What do you think of modern day pop?

Naomi:I think there is some great music out there at the moment, but at the same time there are some songs which fall into a very set ‘pop’ formula. The latter tend to blast from the radio one day and are gone the next. I would love to help to draw the focus of attention back to earthy song writing, and the diversity it naturally brings.

FAULT: Who is overrated?

Naomi:I think music is very subjective and ratings are always based on personal taste. I find it hard to criticise other artists as I have a great respect for what they do in such a demanding and often judgemental climate.

FAULT: Who is underrated?

Naomi:I think people often forget the many musicians that work behind the scenes to help to pull off amazing songs, arrangements and performances. Kudos should also be given to the talented Producers without whom songs would never shine the way they do. I would also want to draw attention to all those who work with passion to inspire others to enjoy and get involved in music. In terms of my music, I would love to thank Producer Joe Sharp; Musicians Darren Fretwell, Pete Delf and Joe Sharp; as well as Photographers John Nicol and Nigel Gibson.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Naomi:I think I’m my own worst critic! If I write a song and I’m not one hundred percent happy with how it sounds, then I won’t record it. I have a huge book full of discarded songs. I hope that one day I am confident enough to re-open Aladdin’s cave!

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Photographers: John Nicol and Nigel Gibson