Freya Ridings X FAULT Magazine
Words by Jack Lloyd
At only 23 years old, London singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has caught the ear of millions of listeners worldwide. Her single, ‘Lost Without You’, resonates with such authenticity and hits with such devastating fragility that it has received over 37 million streams on Spotify and was featured on ITV2’s most watched show Love Island.
Last week, Freya performed ‘Lost Without You’ on BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge and on C4’s annual fundraising show, Stand Up To Cancer.
FAULT: How’s your year been so far?
Freya Ridings: It’s been a whirlwind and kind of unbelievable. I’ve been touring around the world, releasing a couple of live albums as well as focusing on my debut album. It’s been an incredible journey so far.
Your single Lost Without You has gone on to be hugely successful; what’s the story behind the song?
Freya Ridings: I always write from personal experience and I think one of the reason’s ‘Lost Without You’ may have connected with people more is because it really happened.
It’s that feeling where you’re emotionally exposing yourself and feels almost too raw to share with people. You have that feeling of isolation and heartbreak and you’re not sure if you’re ever going to get past that and writing was a way for me to deal with that.
I was quite scared at the idea of sharing it with people but I’m so happy I did because I’ve had a really overwhelming response from people and it’s really touched me. I feel extremely lucky now but at the time I felt like I couldn’t share those stories in my songs and it took a while for me to do that so I’m really happy it’s connected with people.
It was also featured Love Island; how did you feel when that happened?
Freya Ridings: I had no idea it was going to be used on the show. I’m a massive fan of the show and when it came on I got all these messages from my friends freaking out. It was an incredible moment having one of my songs being played on one of the biggest TV shows and the response after on Instagram and Facebook was incredible, I feel so lucky.
What was it about the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song ‘Maps’ that you wanted to cover?
Freya Ridings: I feel like choosing a cover song is not just about finding a song you like it’s about finding one that you connect with on an emotional level. It’s like choosing a Pokemon, they kind of choose you as opposed to you choosing them.
If I’m playing a song that isn’t mine, it either gets me or it doesn’t in that first moment and when I first sung that song I was going through a really hard breakup at the time and it hit me like a lightning bolt and I just really resonated with the story and felt like I needed to share it with people.
Being raised in London, has it influenced you in any way?
Freya Ridings: Hugely, at school I was heavily dyslexic and really struggled academically so music was my safe haven. Growing up when I started to do open mic nights around London, it was where I started making friends with other musicians that shaped me and shaped the kind of artist that I wanted to be. I feel like London can be hard when you’re younger but then when you turn into a teenager it’s suddenly the best place to live.
When I started doing open mic nights, I would focus on doing upbeat covers because that’s what I thought people wanted. It was actually the songs I would come home and play on piano that felt like the real me and it was a journey to realise that I can actually share the songs I was writing on the piano and it was only when I started to that everything started to change for me.
It’s been a rewarding experience to be more authentic and raw and less scared to share.
What was it about the Omeara and St Pancreas Old Church that you wanted to record your live albums?
Freya Ridings: I’ve been playing live for so many years and being in the room you can feel this sort of magic, especially in venues like churches or venues that have a bit more character to them. I didn’t want to do something where you hold everything back until it’s perfect, I wanted to share the songs in their raw exposed authentic form and I’m so happy we did that because feel like it’s a way to let people in instead of holding the at arm’s length. I feel like people have really resonated and connected with that which means the world to me and have people come and sing the lyrics with you is just another level.
Is there any artists that you never get tired of listening to?
Freya Ridings: Florence and Adele are huge influences because I feel they’re very heart driven songwriters that I resonate with on another level. Tom Odell is huge influence who I adore, I actually saw him recently and wanted to tell him how much I was fangirling.
Hozier is another one, I love really honest storytellers. Ray Lamontagne’s voice transcends like no other voice I’ve heard live, Trouble was the album that made me want to write and play songs to begin with.
I adore Taylor Swift too, she put me on her Apple Music playlist and I literally dropped my phone.
What’s next for you?
Freya Ridings: We’ve just come out the studio and I’m excited because we’re in the final stages of finishing the album. I can’t wait to share the songs with everyone, I’ve been so used to playing them on my own so it’s great to hear them with all the other instruments and choirs because it changes the whole feel. I just never thought I would have the opportunity to share that with people so I’m really really excited.
What is your fault?
Freya Ridings: There’s too many, I would say up until now not living in the moment enough. I’ve really been trying to work on that mindfulness and gratitude just so I can appreciate all that’s going on and be grateful for the things I have.