Introducing Interview: Lena Morris

Having released six singles over the last few years, French artist Lena Morris has now released her debut EP New Blood. Exploring themes of female sexuality, empowerment and vulnerability, the collection showcases Morris’ catchy soulful sounds and heartfelt splendour perfectly. Taking us on an emotion-strewn journey through feelings of anxiety to hope and joy, it’s a truly captivating offering.

We caught up with Lena Morris to find out more…

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a Blues-Rock singer-songwriter-bassist. I’m a French 23 year old. I grew up in Hong Kong, but I’m now based in Brighton. I have just released my first EP New Blood, after releasing six singles. My cat is called Bowie, I’ll leave you to understand this choice of name. And I love cats. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music?
When I was fourteen years old it was the real turning point where I decided to be true to myself and to others by finally saying I wanted to make of music my life. Before then I was very shy about it, even in front of my parents I wouldn’t sing. I listened to ‘Oh! Darling’ by The Beatles and it’s this McCartney song that was like a kind of wake up call. So I immediately bought a bass, started singing and after a couple of months I had my first gig at Hong Kong’s legendary live music bar: The Wanch. Automatically I started writing my own songs. It all came very quickly after this realisation. 

You’re about to release your debut EP New Blood – are there any particular themes running throughout it? 
Yes, definitely. In the songs’ order, we have a woman taking ownership over her sexuality in ‘Little Bird’. ‘Lonely Hunter’ depicts loneliness and love hopelessness. ‘Never (Is An Awfully Long Time)’ portrays anxiety caused by low self-esteem. ‘Phaedra’ was written after Jean Racine’s tragedy of the same name, it’s in the theme of sin and tragic fate. Last but not least, ‘Dance In My Arms’ finishes the album on a more positive note. It’s a song about comfort, hope and a journey to getting better. We go from confidence to loneliness, anxiety, tragedy to finally end up on healing and hope. I believe in our society there are still too many taboos about these issues and I don’t think this is healthy, that’s why I like to sing about it. I modestly try to untwine some thoughts on these topics.

We love your catchy soulful sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! My biggest direct influences would be The Beatles, Queen and David Bowie (yes, that explains my cat’s name!). They’re the artists I’ve got under my skin. With them and that we can maybe hear more in my music there’s Rickie Lee Jones, The Pretenders… Powerplay Magazine recently reviewed my EP and they found some Sheryl Crow and Janis Joplin similarities too, which are extremely flattering and I’ll take! 

How are you connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
I guess like everyone else, I’ve had to become a little more active on social media, which does give us a chance to maintain a contact even if I’m not too crazy about talking/playing to my phone. I’m more at ease in a good old pub, where we can discuss and drink pints with the beautiful audience.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
I know it was very hard for a lot of people and I truly felt for them so I need to be honest as these times weren’t very complicated for me. I had the huge chance of keeping my everyday job by working from home. It sucks big time that we can’t play live or rehearse etc, but I’d rather focus on what I can do rather than on what I can’t. So, that’s why you’ve got an EP you can listen to today! A Covid baby we could say… and the release of an EP for an independent musician is extreme work! So, between this and my full time job, I don’t have much time to think about the situation. Also, even if I’ve been alone a significant amount of time over the past year, I’ve got great people in my life like my family and my close friends. Virtual calls are never the same, but they were good enough to keep me sane. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
I recommend you check out Rosin. She released a beautiful single ‘Honest’ on the same day of my EP (26/03/2021). I highly recommend you check her out cause she’s got big things coming up. I also recommend you to keep an eye on Daniel Borschel- he’s the guitarist and producer on ‘Lonely Hunter’. He’s got big projects he’s working on at the moment and trust me you would want to hear it. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for you, music-wise?
In the rest of 2021 I’m planning on going back on stage (fingers crossed). I am also focussing a lot on new collaborations for a new album. So a lot of songwriting, recording, promoting and gigging hopefully!

Massive thanks to Lena for answering our questions!

New Blood, the new EP from Lena Morris, is out now. Listen on Spotify.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Maud – ‘Nobody’

A shadowy electro-pop gem that champions personal growth and self-autonomy, Norwegian producer & songwriter Maud has shared her a new video to accompany her latest single ‘Nobody’. Directed by Danish video artist Signe Dige (Chinah), the visuals combine acidic colours with surreal photo-negative-style close ups to reflect the track’s themes of emotional resilience and finding your inner strength.

“Signe and I had one short phone call before we started working together and the rest of our communication was through WhatsApp,” Maud explains about the video. “The threshold for collaborating with people digitally is so low right now, and I love how I can just find inspiring artists in other countries through Instagram and instantly be able to connect with them.”

“The idea behind the video was to portray the intimate and sincere self-love described in ‘Nobody’ by combining playful close-ups of me in a dark visual landscape,” Maud continues. “I shot some videos on my phone in my apartment in Kristiansand, sent it to Signe in Denmark and then she edited it together with some crazy good animations that she made. The result is dreamy and organic, but also a raw and dramatic video which fits my single perfectly.”

Watch the video for ‘Nobody’ below.

Follow Maud on SpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Francis Of Delirium

Creators of swirling, grunge-infused guitar tunes, Luxembourg-based duo Francis Of Delirium write songs about the ever-evolving nature of human emotion. Together, songwriter & guitarist Jana Bahrich and her collaborator Chris Hewett have released two EPs via Dalliance Records, with their most recent offering, Wading, continuing Jana’s narratives of personal resilience and enlightenment.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jana to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired the band’s song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to Francis Of Delirium’s latest single ‘I Think I’m Losing’ at the end of this post.

1. Arca – KiCk i
I found Arca through the newest Euphoria episode. There’s this one scene where they use Arca’s music and it’s this crazy gunshot type beat and it sounds so smoke and it is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I spent weeks trying to figure out where I could hear it in full but it turns out it’s not released. In the process though, I became obsessed with her album KiCk i. I’m trying to get better at electronic production and I like to use Kick i as my north star, less as a template to copy but more as the realization that anything is possible. She’s so creative in everything that she does which I find very inspiring, plus her songs just do something to my body that makes it feel like it’s exploding. I love you Arca.

2. Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People
Hoping this will pass as an “album” even though it’s an EP! This is my favourite Sufjan project, easily. I feel like in this era Sufjan Stevens was making music for kids who were in the school brass band and so I felt very seen. I love the way he uses horns and trombones in All Delighted PeOple and the song-writing is still so strong, he also just gives you so much time to settle into each song which I love. The first Sufjan Stevens song I ever heard was ‘Casmir Pulaski Day’, my friends showed it to me. I went home that day and then learned it on the banjo. I spent a lot of my teens consuming solely his music. Then I realized his music was in Little Miss Sunshine which was my favourite movie then, so it felt like Sufjan was the man for me.

3. Half Waif – The Caretaker
Half Waif has such a wonderful ear for melody and uses vocal harmonies so wonderfully. Even on the first track, you’re almost immediately hit with those harmonies and they’re so beautiful and her delivery is heart-breaking and pulls at your chest. I couldn’t tell you how she’s influenced my song-writing but she must have because I’ve probably listened to The Caretaker everyday since it came out. Similarly to Arca, I often reference Nandi’s production choices, she has an incredible ability to make electronic sounds feel so tactile and warm and human, I just love everything she does. I first found Half Waif through her Tiny Desk which is also incredible, I say it a lot but I just love when artists give you their whole voice and body in a performance, it becomes so easy to connect with them through that.

4. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy
I don’t know how much I can express how much I love this album. When it comes to rock music and I look at someone like Car Seat Headrest, it’s just a reminder that you can and should keep making music on your own and you should make whatever it is you want to make. Especially since Chris and I record our own music, I found it really helpful to look to other artists that were making music on their own and read articles from them to try and figure out how to do it on their own. Then lyrically and performance wise the album is perfect to me, I find a kind of peace whenever I listen to Twin Fantasy. There’s always something unexpected in a Car Seat Headrest song when you listen to it the first time and I really value that, I feel like you are walking along some dark long winding road whenever you jump into a Car Seat Headrest record.

5. Heart – Dreamboat Annie
A lot of my favourite songs and albums I’ve actively disliked before I love them. For some reason, I couldn’t get into ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ when I was young and then I turned 14 and it was the greatest song I’d ever heard. I have a specific memory of this one rock station in Vancouver that would always play Heart all the time whenever my dad and I would drive to Taekwondo, and I thought it was some of the worst music I’d ever heard. After maybe 5 car rides, I was obsessed with Heart. If my dad and I go on a drive anywhere now, we definitely scream and sing along to ‘Crazy On You’, that song is so good, and they’re both so talented it’s crazy. They give everything to all the songs they play and that is something I try to do with every performance of our songs.

Thanks to Jana for sharing her favourites with us!

Follow Francis Of Delirium on bandcampSpotifyFacebookTwitter & Instagram

Photo Credit: Lynn Theisen

Five Favourites: Becky CJ

Having received support from the likes of 1883 Magazine and Amazing Radio, as well as being featured in the likes of The Independent and Huffington Post for her ‘Tinder Nightmares’ TikTok series, queer artist Becky CJ has now shared her poignant new single. Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP next month, ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ oozes a heartfelt splendour and twinkling emotion, creating a shimmering and stirring slice of alt-pop.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Becky to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums or songs that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ at the end of the feature.

Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs
Hearing Susanne Sundfør for the first time was a big moment for me. She truly epitomises what I love in music; drama, musicality, unpredictability and emotion. This album has been on repeat for me for years, in particular ‘Delirious’ and ‘Fade Away’. The way she explores this ’80s synth pop sound but pairs it with her classical influence and singer/songwriter style is just magical to my ears. Each song on the album does something different and takes you somewhere else emotionally. I predominantly remember seeing her play most of the album at Latitude Festival in 2015 and literally just crying throughout. I think she felt like one of the first contemporary female artists that I felt represented the musical world that I wanted to inhabit.

Alison Krauss and Union Station –  Paper Aeroplane
Alison Krauss was an artist who we listened to a lot growing up; both my parents were massive fans of her beautiful voice and songs. This album for me is one that I can listen to from beginning to end and I never get bored. I think I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for country/bluegrass music and this album marries those elements perfectly for me. Alison Krauss’s voice is one of my all time favourites and on this album it just melts me. My favourite track is ‘Lay My Burden Down’, which is a song about releasing yourself of worries, and it’s just super feel good.

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
This is another album I can listen to from start to end, sing along to most of the lyrics and never ever get bored of. There is literally just no one like Frank Ocean, his songwriting is mesmerising. I feel this album covers a whole host of genres and experiments so much with song form but somehow still feels like a cohesive piece of art. ‘Bad Religion’ was the song that I think initially gripped me the most, the lyrics were so vulnerable and the melody so emotional, but it was still so cool. That has to be the perfect combination for any song, right?! I think the common denominator for me in loving something is connecting to the vocal performance and me oh my, Frank’s is something else.

James Blake – ‘Into The Red’
I really love the whole Assume Form album but I wanted to highlight this song in particular as it has such a special place in my heart. I know that sounds super cringe but I don’t know how else to describe my love for this song. The lyrical concept is just genius, the idea that you love someone so much that you’d go into the ‘red’ (debt) for them is so unique but somehow so relatable!? I connect so deeply to the lyrics and then add to that James’ incredible vocals, production that is out of this world and a super unique arrangement, and I am sold. I was getting together with my partner around the same time as listening to this song on repeat so it always reminds me of her. We went to see him play at the Brixton Academy and were GUTTED because he didn’t play this one live.

Joni Mitchell – Rainy Night House
My dad played me this song when we were on holiday when I was about 13 or 14. I remember curling up on the sofa, putting the headphones on and begrudgingly listening in that way you do when your parents want to show you something at that age. I listened to the whole song, then listened again and then again. I had never properly listened to any Joni Mitchell, I knew the classics but hadn’t taken the time to get to know any more. The storytelling was so absorbing, I couldn’t believe that in this three minute song she’d basically told me the beginning, middle and end of a story and I felt I knew all the characters. Since then I’ve always gone back to listen to this song when I’m feeling introspective or in need of a reminder of true, classic song writing.

Massive thanks to Becky for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP Woman next month, listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ now: