Wolverhampton based artist Bryony Williams has been busy building self-confidence and exploring new territories on her upcoming EP, State I’m In. Set for release via Beth Shalom Records on 18th September, the songwriter has crafted a collection of her boldest sounds to date, and latest single ‘I Can Be’ is a shining example of this.
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 Bryony to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her new EP. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her single ‘I Can Be’ at the end of this post.
1. Julia Jacklin – ‘Pressure to Party’
After seeing Julia perform live at the Castle & Falcon in Birmingham last year or so, she absolutely floored me. I was only aware of this single of hers, yet I was so transfixed with her presence. Julia was herself, she didn’t feel the need to excite the crowd through body movement or any stage tactics. Her songs were simply enough. That was a pivotal point for me when reflecting on how I approach my own music. ‘Pressure to Party’ will always be a reminder of that, and when you trace back the lyrics through the dry production, she’s telling you a story that we all know too well. But we don’t mind being told again, because she tells it so forgivingly.
2. Jen Cloher – ‘Forgot Myself’
To choose one song from Jen’s self-titled album is hard, but this particular track just goes that extra little bit further for me. It’s self-deprecating and whiney, yet so poetic and raw. It’s a direct reflection of how she was feeling towards herself at the time and she’s brutally honest about that, yet the guitars almost give Jen an opportunity to show her inner-strength and that this negative spout she’s going through is only temporary. It shows guts and I like that. I actually interviewed Jen a couple years ago for the Grrrl Groannn publication when she was touring this album, and let me tell you, it has been my favourite interview since. We spoke all things music for a good hour while drinking Guinness (okay, it was only me drinking Guinness). But the things she said were just so honest and true, to take a quote from our interview, “When you’re younger you do worry about what people think. It’s just human. But as you evolve as a person you care less and less and with this album, I’m not worried about what people will think.” And so with this record of mine coming out, that’s exactly the energy that I have adopted.
3. Chastity Belt – ‘Different Now’
This SONG. It humbles me. My personal memory of this song was when I was being driven to the New Orleans airport in a beach buggy?? After just being broken up with half way across the world, and this song came on as we were all wistfully and awkwardly watching the Louisianan landscape pass us by in our final moments together. That was a hard time. But this song to me represents change, and yeah that can suck, but you have to make light of whatever you’ve got and grow from that. Just like Chastity Belt say: “You’re hard on yourself / Well you can’t always be right / All those little things that keep you up at night / You should take some time to figure out your life”.
4. Clairo – ‘Bags’
Taking it down a little for a moment now… The storytelling here just blows me away. On a surface level it can seem quite easy, yet with every line there is meaning behind it whether that’s hidden or not. You can tell it comes from a place of deep emotion and that really grabs you. I always find it interesting when an artist can write something so open and heart on their sleeve and have it listened to anyone and everyone, yet it could be a situation from their personal life that showcases them being the opposite of that. So these juxtapositions really compel me and I’ve not been afraid to lyrically story tell my inner-demons through song in the past, but if you unpick this track, it’s just genius. Plus my mum really digs this track too so, thanks Clairo!
5. Anna Burch – ‘Tea-Soaked Letter’
Okay, so Anna Burch is my current no.1 inspiration. All these tracks have all contributed to the making of my upcoming EP, from drum rhythms to the lyrical storytelling, but this track takes the cake! I am just so jealous that I didn’t think to write this song! The lyrics really make me think about how I want to move forward with my self-portrayal and I’m kind of sick of writing sad songs. I’m just not that person anymore. So Anna has really drawn out a different lyrical direction for me in order to express myself in perhaps more of a nonchalant way.