Guest Blog: Bloom Sessions

Priding themselves on supporting women and people of marginalised genders within the music scene across Yorkshire, Bloom Sessions was founded in October last year. Originally funded by charity NYMAZ, they now work in collaboration with Come Play With Me and have also worked with Girls Can Play Guitar. Both a publication spotlighting different artists and illustrators, and a live events organiser, Bloom Sessions have proved themselves to be a vital, innovative part of the North West music scene.

Ahead of their last event of the year at Headrow House tomorrow afternoon, we caught up Claire Hamilton from Bloom Sessions to find more about what they do, why they do it, and what they have planned for the gig tomorrow…

Since October 2020, Bloom Sessions has been supporting women and people of marginalised genders across Yorkshire by hosting live sessions, commissioning artwork and generating digital content. This December, we close off the year with an afternoon of soothing soul, jazz and R&B on Sunday 12th at Headrow House in Leeds, alongside Rumbi Tauro, Pixie Cola and Shantelle King

Originally funded by youth development charity NYMAZ, Bloom Sessions has gone on to be supported by the likes of Leeds Inspired and are currently in collaboration with Come Play With Me. The project started as two friends with a common interest in championing local creatives, a love of music and a drive to see change in the industry. We’re currently a team of three, Cheïma, Izzy and Claire, and we’re more inspired than ever to continue working with fantastic creatives across Yorkshire. 

Frustrated by underrepresentation and dismissal across the industry (boo), as well as personal experiences of a lack of respect and responsibility (double boo), we set our main goal as aiming to be a safe, respectful, fun space for women and people of marginalised genders to express themselves and be paid fairly. 

Bloom Sesh vol.1 spotlighted one illustrator and one musician/band per month between Oct 2020 – Feb 2021, with a super special bumper edition in March ’21 for International Women’s Day in collaboration with Oporto TV and Girls Can Play Guitar. Vol. 2 placed us directly in the live music scene as we hosted two gigs at the heart of Leeds in cooperative club Wharf Chambers. We worked with 8 incredible artists including the likes of Sofa King, The Sound of Modesty, illustrator Janice Leung, and super talented local photographer, Fev

But let’s talk December! We wanted to finish the year on a high, and to counterbalance the frantic festive szn we’ve programmed a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon that is guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. Expect to be swayed (quite literally) by sounds of soul, jazz and R&B as we welcome three superb women to the stage at Headrow House, Leeds. P.S – check out that poster design by the wicked Tanya Shanduka!

With doors at 1pm, we open with Shantelle King, a Bradford based neo-soul artist who has made everything happen for herself, being her own agent, manager and promoter. A certified force to be reckoned with, Shantelle only commands more respect once you listen to her music – it’s smooth, intimate and utterly captivating. Following this, we’ll be hearing from Leeds legend Pixie Cola. Residing between the realms of jazz and hip-hop, Pixie holds one of our favourite local releases of the year. Her debut EP, You’re Living In A Pixie World,Vol.1, combines her powerful lyricism with fragrant beats and dreamy melodies. 

Last but definitely not least, our headliner is the effervescent Rumbi Tauro. Rumbi has had a strong 2021, going from strength to strength with the release of her latest whopper ‘Run Run’, collaborations with The Leadmill and Hope Works as well as festival slots at Long Division and Tramlines. Rumbi’s powerful energy translates into her music and the end result is creative, warm and dynamic – in her own words, she leaves ‘no emotional stone unturned’. We can’t wait to see what she brings to the stage, it’s her first headline here in the city and we want to give a warm reception!

So, if you’re based in the Leeds area, clear your schedule. Join us from 1pm at Headrow House, and even if you’re hungover, this’ll be the perfect remedy to cure those ‘Sunday scaries’. Tickets are only a fiver, but if you’re not in a position to pay that – DM us on Instagram, or email, and we can work something out. 

Come say hi, support some underrepresented artists and wrap yourselves up in some dreamy melodies to chase away those wintery chills!

Poster by: Tanya Shanduka 

Guest Blog: Nuala Honan

Having just released her latest album Doubt & Reckoning last month, Australian Bristol-based Nuala Honan has been evolving her songwriting over the years from acoustic folk artist to a grittier, more eclectic, sound, whilst losing none of her reflective lyrical storytelling.

A collection of lilting, heartfelt offerings, the new album showcases a soaring, emotion-strewn splendour and the subtle, stirring power of Honan’s rich vocals.

Following the album’s release, Nuala has reflected on the influence of water on her music, and the strong feelings it evokes in her. Read her guest blog below:


When I was a kid growing up in Australia, I spent a lot of time at the beach. I had so much to love and cherish in life then, but I was also often unhappy. On walks down the beach by myself, once out of earshot, I would shout at the sea. Long, musical wailing, improvising words and melodies about my woes and teenage crushes, writing my first songs. I still shout at the sea when I get the chance.

The landscape where I grew up is big, and flat, and the sky and sea goes on forever. Something about bigness soothes my soul, keeps me grounded, and speaks to me in a way that I speak back and write songs. I honestly can’t think of anything more spiritual to me than water and music, hand in hand. Since moving to England’s South West sixteen years ago, I’ve transferred that love of the ocean to England’s cold, stretching network of rivers and lakes.

In the ’90s, the Eyre Peninsula – my dusty corner of South Australia – had no accessible live music, no DIY or riot grrrl culture, and no internet to seek it out. Gifted an acoustic guitar for my fifteenth birthday, I fell into folk and eventually country. It was satisfying and leant itself to my autobiographical musings. I ended up making a living that way, often playing alone, but after a decade I ended up in a rut. Not just creatively but physically and mentally in my work and self, so I took the step into counselling.

Very quickly my therapy revealed a desire to take a break from my music and the unsustainable DIY artist grind that I’d wound up living, and I applied to be a lifeguard at an outdoor swimming lake, an old flooded quarry in North Bristol.

The most interesting thing I’ve learned working at the lake is the power of being bored (not so bored I get distracted from the task, you are in safe hands!). But I spend hours on end without a phone or the internet, surrounded by trees and wildlife and water, listening. I process ideas for songs, and have the time to repeat and reinforce them. I feel safe to ask myself why I make music, and what I want to communicate. I sing when I think no one’s listening, and I quite literally stared across the lake at the big willow tree for months, planning the photoshoot for my album artwork.

The space and balance the lake brought to my life made room for me to consider themes from my counselling and re-examine my creativity. The track ‘How to Shame You’ from my new album is an ode to my childhood bully. I wrote it consciously, to cast off and free myself from pain I was holding onto. It marked a transition, where I cast aside my old way of writing and weaved myself outside my comfort zone. You can hear the country sound in the verses sweeping into the new belting psychedelic sound in the chorus.

People are often surprised to hear I suffer with self-doubt and anxiety; they only see the confident gig or final version of a song (the studio stage might be the only place in the world I love more than the water!). It took a lot of practice in courage to pull myself, this band, and this album together, and I learned a lot about courage from winter swimming at the lake. Lowering your body into water is totally mad. It takes a mindset of courage and acceptance to get in. The sensation of catching my breath, feeling the blood move to my core, the needles and fizzing on the surface of my skin makes me feel totally alive. Then getting out of the water is a whole other feeling. Because my body is essentially in stress response, all my senses are heightened, I feel a bit like a superhero for two minutes as I stand beside the lake!

I think it’s the same experience making music. It’s terrifying, but it’s courageous and magical and human and even though you’re afraid, you have to do it anyway, and then you feel alive, and you make something beautiful.

Massive thanks to Nuala Honan for sharing her thoughts with us!

Doubt & Reckoning is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Photo Credit: Paul Blakemore

Guest Blog: Lazy Queen

Having received acclaim from the likes of Wonderland and Nylon, Oslo-based Lazy Queen have recently caught our ears’ attention with the hooky surf-rock energy and jangly scuzz of latest single ‘Sober’. Reflecting on the complex nature of addition, it explores the ongoing struggle of sobriety in an addictive personality.

Having struggled with displacement throughout their life, Lazy Queen front-person Henrik has now moved from the US to Oslo, and is starting to feel in a better place. As a Non-Binary artist, they are a huge advocate of supporting the LGBTQ+ creative community and have performed at local Pride events a number of times.

Here, in our latest Guest Blog feature, Henrik reflects on their journey to self acceptance through music… 

I’ve been asked to write about my journey to self-acceptance through music, but I’m finding it increasingly hard to get anything down on this page. It feels similar to being at the hairdresser, having no choice but to stare at yourself in the mirror for an hour straight, and all of a sudden everything just looks.. odd, out of place and not like you. I honestly think it would be hard to write an article about how I achieved being comfortable with myself, because I still don’t know if that’s something I can claim to be. I don’t think I’d be far off in saying that I experience at least a moment of some shade of self hatred every day, but it’s got better, and along the way I’ve come to realise that for me it’s as much about the work as the end point. And obviously, writing and creating in Lazy Queen and other projects has been a major part of the process. 

Music has always been my form of expression in some way or another. My notebook is where I process my thoughts, feelings and impressions; in the rehearsal space, or in the tour van is where I get to be close, open and honest with my closest friends/family; and the stage is where I get to fully express myself in ways I’m not always able to in real life. For having been a fairly private and closed off person for most my life, I find it endlessly confusing and amusing that I now often end up airing out personal insights, struggles and developments in songs to be heard by, for the most part, strangers, before I actually open up about it to the people around me. My process has always been to internalise, but music showed me that there was an alternative, where the end-point isn’t necessarily completely closed off and isolated. 

Growing up, I used to envy people who could unashamed – confidently and eloquently expressing their inner thoughts and ideas at any given time, feeling like I would never be able to do that; I felt like I lacked something very integral to relationships. Now, with a bit more life experience, and a somewhat more nuanced view of people in general, I realise that I’ll probably never get to that same space, that that’s totally fine, and also that maybe those people weren’t quite as straightforward  as they might’ve seemed at the time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, in the way that I thought it did.

Writing and performing has given me a safe space to process, and a door to open when I was ready for it, and it’s a practice that has slowly followed me into my everyday life. I’ve always been an introspective and shielded person, and at the same time pretty invested in picking apart my own thoughts and patterns – though it took me hitting some major lows before I did anything about it. After a brush with death a couple of years ago I started to realise that I absolutely needed to open myself up more, also outside of the music. I think I’ve come a long way since then, but it’s still still far from easy. I feel like I fuck up every other day, and on those days I feel like a fucking hypocrite trying to write things like this.

I was talking to my friend Chloe (our tour manager) the other day, and she said something to the effect of: you’re at the same time one of the most open and closed off people I know. I’m not sure what to do with that, but it sure feels like the shoe fits. I don’t hold the answers, but if anything, I believe honesty, openness and an attitude of “fuck the taboos” have saved my life.

Massive thanks to Henrik for sharing his thoughts with us! 

Lazy Queen’s latest single ‘Sober‘ is out now.

Photo Credit: Lukka Fogie

Guest Blog: Deux Furieuses

Covid 19 and the necessary restrictions surrounding it have brought about a number of cancellations of music events, including what would have been Get In Her Ears’ very first festival. Taking place tomorrow, Saturday 18th July, it was set to be a pretty special day, filled with some of our favourite female and non binary artists. Fingers crossed we can finally make it happen next year…

One of the bands set to play was post-punk duo Deux Furieuses. Having previously blown us away live at The Finsbury with their explosive gritty energy and raw emotion, they’ve become firm favourites of ours over the last few years and we were really looking forward to hosting them once again.

In the absence of our festival, and any gigs, at the moment, Ros from the band has written a poignant guest blog for us about changing priorities in the current situation, and the importance of having a quiet space to write. Have a read, and be reminded of the duo’s incredible power with the video for ‘Let It Burn’ at the end of the article!

A Room Of One’s Own… 

Deux Furieuses should have been playing Get In Her Ears Festival tomorrow. Instead, I have moved to the countryside in search of a place to breath and make music without thumps and texts from the flat above every time I strum my guitar.

I am writing this at night in a gatehouse lodge cottage designed in 1869 by Quaker architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also built the National History Museum and the red brick universities, for abolitionist MP Thomas Foxwell Buxton. I wonder who else has lived here over the past 150 years and what troubles they knew.

The neighbours on one side are a black and white horse in a field and a rabbit who munches grass outside the kitchen window every evening at the same time. There are red kites and buzzards swooping over head, nettles everywhere and a space where a shed used to be before it blew away. I can hear the sound of the London train which makes me smile every time it blows its horn, calling me back to London to rehearse with Vas.

Deux Furieuses were working on third album material before Covid 19, London lockdown and the death of someone close upended everything. It was Vas who found this cottage when I said I had to live some other way. No time in our living memory has been this uncertain. We have to do what we can to survive. For me it’s about being free to write music and having a ‘room of one’s own’. We intend to start demoing our third album as soon as I am settled.

Get In Her Ears’ first festival would have been a joyous celebration of female and non binary talent and is another missed gathering of our tribe. Playing live to an audience is a fading memory but we have to find our collective way back.