Introducing Interview: Liv Austen

Following the release of two EPs and support from the likes of BBC Radio 2 and Pop Dust, Norwegian born singer-songwriter Liv Austen has now shared an uplifting new single.

An anthem for anyone who’s made mistakes in love, ‘Don’t Regret A Single One’ is an utterly infectious and wonderfully charming slice of glistening country-pop.

We caught up with Liv to find out more…

Hi Liv, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you! I’m a singer-songwriter living in London. I am originally from Norway, but moved to the UK seven years ago and fell in love with it – and I now call it my home! I started writing songs as a teenager and released my first EP independently in 2014. The songs I released at the time were quite country inspired, as that was what I was in to at the time, but now my music reflects both country and a lot of other influences I have musically.

How did you initially start creating music?
I went to school in Brussels; we had an amazing music program at my school, but I think I was the one who was the most serious about it. I often stayed behind after school in this amazing room in a little “tower” in my school (it was a really old, cool building that looked like a castle!) and play piano and sing. Suddenly the songs just started coming to me. I realised that I had these phrases in me, both lyrically and melodically, that perfectly described how I was feeling – much more so than I could just by speaking to someone, and it had to come out (Inside Wants Out is the most relatable album title for me, ever!). So I just kept writing, and the songs kept coming. And I haven’t stopped since.

Your new single ‘Don’t Regret A Single One’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the song?
‘Don’t Regret A Single One’ is about my past love interests. I had to kiss a few frogs and fall flat on my face several times to learn about myself, and I wanted to celebrate the (many!) mistakes I have made in love, and emphasise to others how that is a positive thing. It is a bit of a defiant anthem too – the chorus is quite strong and unapologetic, and as I say in the song: “if I stayed with my high school sweetheart, I wouldn’t be who I am today”. I needed to make those mistakes to be the person I now am. And I won’t apologise for not being a perfect, flawless girl who got it right the first time, and I will not be ashamed of having had several partners in my life. That’s essentially what the song is about.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Those are very flattering comparisons, I have to say! I am a huge fan of both Carrie and LBT. Carrie was my gateway drug into country music, so she will always have a special place in my heart. I love some of the more pop-leaning country too, there are some absolutely fabulous songwriters and artists doing it at the moment: Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris and Sam Hunt for example. As a songwriter I always come back to Alicia Keys, she had a huge influence on me from a very young age and my love for songwriting definitely comes in large part from her. Shania Twain is another big influence for me.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I feel like I’m always at gigs! A few years ago, when country was still small but growing here in the UK, I would be so excited whenever an American artist I loved would come over and gig here, and I’d go to everything – now that country is back big time, there are not enough hours in the day to catch all of the gigs, but I try to focus more on UK acts now. There are so many unbelievably great homegrown acts, and I love being able to call myself their colleague.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Just that; a show. My fans know that I am a songwriter and that I can do acoustic solo gigs with my guitar or a whole evening with just me on the piano; but that’s not really my main aim as an artist, I want to put on a show. When I have my whole band with me I rarely play an instrument, I love just getting up there with the microphone and connect directly with the audience. We want to have fun and help create that collective “high” that fans and audiences can experience at live gigs, because it leaves you feeling so great about life!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I will seem totally biased in this because I am mentioning people I know, but I wouldn’t bring them up if I didn’t think they were great. If you are in to contemporary country/pop I would recommend you check out Lisa Wright and Clara Bond, Robbie Cavanagh is brilliant too if you like a more Americana type sound.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It does take a lot of constant work for sure, and it is a full time job whether you have time for that or not, but the great thing is that people do love good music and will be your loyal fans if you keep them happy by doing live gigs and connecting with them on a regular basis!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Liv Austen?
I am very excited to be playing Country2Country at the O2 in March (9-11.03), the UK’s biggest country music festival, and I am excited to see how far Don’t Regret a Single One can go. I am working on an album that I am very proud of, and if all goes well that will come out later in the year!

Huge thanks to Liv for answering our questions! 

‘Don’t Regret A Single One’ is out now.


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