PREMIERE: Robin Kester – ‘Cigarette Song’

Following her 2018 debut, and with plenty of plays on Spotify as well as US station KCRW, Netherlands artist Robin Kester has now announced the release of her upcoming EP This Is Not A Democracy. 

Taken from the EP and featuring Conor O’Brien from Villagers, new single ‘Cigarette Song’ reflects on a broken marriage. Propelled by the subtle ethereal power of Kester’s vocals alongside lilting twinkling melodies and a poignant reflective lyricism, it oozes a stirring, heartfelt emotion reminiscent of the likes of Laura Veirs or This Is The Kit. A truly dreamy ballad, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the swirling majestic splendour of ‘Cigarette Song’.

 

This Is Not A Democracy, the upcoming EP from Robin Kester, is out 11th September via independent label AT EASE.

Mari Lane
@marimindles 

Photo Credit: Lisa Brammer

 

Track Of The Day: Emma Kupa – ‘Nothing At All’

Having been a big fan of Mammoth Penguins for some time now, especially since they delivered a total dream of a set for us at The Finsbury last year, it’s lovely to see that front person Emma Kupa has now announced the release of her debut solo album.

Taken from the album, lead single ‘Nothing At All’ flows with Kupa’s distinctive luscious vocals, oozing a subtle gritty raw emotion, alongside twinkling folk-strewn melodies. Filled with a reflective, heartfelt lyrical storytelling, it’s impossible not to become utterly immersed in the song’s subtle passion that shines through amongst its effervescent uptempo musicality. As it builds with shimmering harmonies, the beauty of multiple voices coming together, uniting, creates a truly heartwarming slice of stirring indie-pop.

Of the track, Emma explains:

The song channels the emotions of being stuck in a relationship which is going nowhere. Frustrating and confusing, you feel lost because you don’t know what you can do about it. In fact, all you can do is nothing and let it move on without you.

It Will Come Easier, the upcoming album from Emma Kupa, is released on 18th September via Fika Recordings (UK) and Palo Santo (USA).

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Debbie at Wolf James Photography

Introducing Interview: Clare Kelly

Leeds born ‘Mermaid Musician’, Clare Kelly, has been charming our ears for a while now with the stirring, ethereal sounds of the likes of singles ‘Less Alone’ and ‘Radio’.

Now, with the upcoming release of the empowering ‘Breathe’, we caught up with Clare to find out more.

Hi Clare, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hello and thank you for having me! I’m Clare Kelly, an ocean inspired alt-folk artist from Leeds. I grew up listening to songwriters like Stevie Nicks and Carole King, who inspired me to tell my own stories through music and gave me the bravery to be open and honest in my lyrics. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music?
I’ve adored singing since birth, or that’s how long it feels like to me and I’m sure my family and friends. I’ve been belting out every Springsteen line of ‘Thunder Road’ or ‘The River’ ever since I could speak. I began singing lessons when I was eleven and sang in all kinds of performances through school – Motown, Beatles and musicals like Les Mis and Sweeney Todd. I fronted a band when I was fifteen, which is when I started writing my own lyrics (we did pretty well for kids – interviewed by Annie Mac on Radio 1!). I juggled student and music lives and taught myself guitar while studying Popular Music at Goldsmiths University, to enable me to write and perform solo around London. Since then I’ve been creating on my tod all over the place. 

Your single ‘Less Alone’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
I wrote ‘Less Alone’ when I got back to Yorkshire after eighteen months on a DIY tour across the US and Australia. Coming home and trying to adapt, returning to the same routines I had before my adventures, was difficult and strange. The song is a reflection on my incredible time travelling and the special relationships I formed with people. I may have only spent a couple of days with some of these people, but they had a huge impact on me and my experience. I felt closer to those people I’d had fleeting moments with than some of the familiar faces I was surrounded by in England. 

We love the dreamy alt-folk vibes of your songs, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Aside from the greats I’ve already mentioned, I adore and take my cues from Angel Olsen, Aldous Harding, Sharon Van Etten… I have too many to choose from! But what connects them all is the emotion they channel into every song. They have an incredible skill in describing a feeling or memory with concise and beautiful words which tend to linger in my mind. When I watch them perform, I see how their music is a continuation of themselves, and I hope that’s how my music is perceived as well. 

Of course, no one’s going to see live music right now, but – in more ‘normal’ times – how is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I miss live music so badly! I would usually be at three or four gigs a week across London. I managed to cram in a load of fantastic shows before the world went wild – over the course of one week I saw Angie McMahon, Julia Jacklin, Fenne Lily, Aldous Harding, Alaskalaska, Hot Chip, Imogen and Brooke Bentham. It was great, those were the days. When I’m in Leeds, I love seeing shows at Wharf Chambers and Oporto – these are smaller venues and their fate is really worrying right now. There’s nothing I want more than to be in a packed-out sweatbox of music lovers again. Shows at smaller venues are such an important support for local bands. It’s a scary prospect for when (and if) they can re-open – for the venues and the artists too. I hosted a Sofar Sounds-esque gig in my flat in South London for my single launch which worked really well, but at the moment we can’t do that either. It’s going to be interesting to see how events adapt and develop in the aftermath of the last few months.  

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
My music is hugely personal and quite confessional – it’s safe to say you will leave my gig feeling like you know me quite well! I find that my songs really enable me to re-live memories, so it’s a really immersive experience for me and I think for the audience. Expect my face to be scrunched up as I project my (‘weird’) vocal straight from my gut, especially at the moment – while I live stream performances on Facebook & Instagram every Sunday from my bathtub! Before lockdown, I had just started gigging with my full band which has allowed me to alternate my sound and given me freedom to play around with the arrangement and introduce a new vibe to my set. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I spend so many hours of the day scouring the internet for new music and welcome all recommendations. I supported Sofia Wolfson in Leeds earlier this year who is from California, and since then I’ve had a few LA based females on repeat such as A. O. Gerber, Allie Crow Buckley and Valley Queen. More local though – I love Katy J Pearson and Prima Queen. 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I’m just going to be really honest here because there’s no point doing anything else! It feels damn near impossible to get noticed – maybe I’m not meant to say that, but it’s such a slog without a label or management to help with contacts and funds; it’s a struggle to even get someone to open an email. It’s harder as a solo artist, without a group of band members to assist with all the admin (and keep you motivated through knock backs and un-read emails). You can play in pubs and bars and self-release records but to get a look into the window in which you can reach that larger audience and secure some great shows, sadly, you do still need a label. Spotify have a monopoly on emerging artists and what they choose is not eclectic enough for the varied genres of music being made. If Spotify doesn’t like you, it’s unlikely new listeners will find your music. It can be soul destroying when you pour yourself into your songs and then you’re constantly selling yourself the best you can, often to no response, and you’re just a drop in the ocean. But of course none of this is new and it hasn’t stopped me yet –  I continue to pour everything into my music because it’s what I love the most. I can’t imagine a life where I’m not performing and I can certainly say I’m learning more about the industry with every project! That’s why Get In Her Ears is such a fab platform for artist exposure – thank you for your fantastic playlists and shows. I’ve discovered some great artists through listening to your recommendations and you can tell that you genuinely care about the music you’re promoting. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?
I have a new single ‘Breathe’ coming out this week. Strangely, even though I didn’t write the song in lockdown, the meaning in the lyrics are now relevant to our current situation and I’m excited to think that listeners who are isolating will find some comfort in the words that explore liberation and independence. The song is about taking a breath and listening to what your mind wants. I also love the artwork (photos by Anxious Film Club) and there’s an incredible video to accompany the track. After this, when hopefully life has returned to some normality, I’m in the process of recording an EP with my all female band of songs which I’m really proud of. They’re quite angsty and it’s going to be a hoot performing them live. Obviously, everything is all up in the air right now, but I hope the EP will be released before the end of 2020. 

Big thanks to Clare for answering our questions!

‘Breathe’, the upcoming new single from Clare Kelly, is out this Friday 12th June.

Introducing Interview: Chloe Foy

Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, Manchester-based artist Chloe Foy has just released her enchanting new EP.

An introspective collection of reflective offerings, Callous Copper showcases Foy’s smooth, rich vocals and stirring heartfelt emotion alongside glistening sweeping string arrangements.

We caught up with Chloe to find out more…

Hi Chloe, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a singer-songwriter living in Manchester, originally from Gloucestershire, trying my best to do what I love.

How did you start creating music?
I had always been musical, and started off learning classical music, but then picked up a guitar when I was about 14, learnt a few basic chords and started to write my own songs. A lot was going on in my life then and it was my most instinctive form of expression.

Your new EP Callous Copper is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the album?
There’s not a lyrical theme as such, other than the fact my songs are all inspired by this weird thing we do called life. There’s themes of love and death and mental health too. Really, it was an opportunity for me to realise this idea of doing a record with a string quartet, which I had wanted to do for a while.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Laura Marling and Lucy Rose, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I think they are probably up there with some of the big ones, as well as Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Manchester is great for live music. There’s usually something going on every day of the week that you can go to. These days I’m busier, so I don’t get to see as much as I’d like but I still try and see a fair amount.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Heartbreak.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
There are some great North West artists who I love – Caoilfhionn Rose, Katie Mac, Hannah Ashcroft, Lindsay Munroe – all amazing female artists making diverse and beautiful music.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I think it’s tough. There’s an abundance of music out there so it’s hard to be heard above the noise. I think it’s easier than ever to get your music onto platforms like Spotify and start to make a few little waves, but to get further and make a sustainable living I think is tough without a strong team behind you.

Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for Chloe Foy?
A headline tour with my string trio in March, to get out and play songs from my forthcoming EP, and hopefully some trips further afield, as well as some festival slots to be announced!

 

Callous Copper is out now. Catch Chloe Foy live at The Islington on 4th March via AntiFraglie.