Introducing Interview: Ch’Lu

Having received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins, and with her music featured on the award-winning Unreported World TV Series, British-Romanian artist Ch’Lu is now set to release her new album this Summer. Ahead of the album’s release she’s recently shared her witty, yet poignant, insight into online dating with ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit And Swipe‘ – showcasing her ability to layer twinkling musicality alongside her celestial vocals, creating immersive ethereal soundscapes.

We caught up with Ch’Lu to find out more about what inspires her, her experience of the music industry and her upcoming plans… Have a read and watch the video for ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit and Swipe’ below!

Hi Ch’Lu! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
So, I’m Ch’Lu. A British/Romanian multi-lingual classical guitarist, singer, actress and ninja. My ethereal harmonies, conscious lyrics and guitar arpeggiation are the foundation to my signature Cosmic Chanson meets Fairy Folktronica sound. Taking you on a conscious and entertaining journey, blending the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist. So far my work (some under Camilla Mathias) has spanned thirteen languages, varying from performing live for BBC6 Music (with Chris Hawkins describing as “a beautiful, captivating and delicious chanteuse“), providing guitar for the award-winning Unreported World TV series, composing and performing my songs in the new London stage adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding, and having my Romanian-Language track ‘Sunt Româncâ’ selected for charity album Mitra Music For Nepal, produced by Annie Hogan (Marc Almond).

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
A decade ago, song-writing and meditation both gave me not only beautiful ways to heal from the sudden loss of my musician father, but rapidly also showed me I could engage and help others though the sharing of such life-experiences. It has always been clear to me that the stories that form our greatest growth are the stories we have to share. Although I trained in classical guitar and singing, I only ever used my guitar as an actress, never to perform my own music. However, in 2010 I started writing and performing my own songs, (under my birth name Camilla Mathias), mostly as a means to process the passing of my dad. Very soon I started doing gigs in French as part of the cabaret circuit in London, and then moved to Switzerland and took on the stage name Diva de la Guitare. I then lived in Spain and eventually came back to the UK, in time for Covid, during which I rebranded as Ch’Lu. Pronounced ChooLOO,  the unique Sanskrit name was conceived by my Jyotisha (The Vedic study of timing) mentor, specifically for my work as a performer. It’s all about the vibration (hence my social media handle is @ChLuVibration). This Sanskrit name activates my spiritual and creative paths, and is very much altering the shape and direction my performance work takes me

We love your eclectic art-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
My most common comparison is Kate Bush. And I would say she is a strong inspiration, especially her iconic ‘Wuthering Heights’. Other influences vary between Joan Baez, Bach, Villa Lobos, Madonna, Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Manu Chao, Amanda Palmer, Agnes Obel, Max Richter, Scylla and Woodkid.

You recently released your new single ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit and Swipe’. Are you able to tell us a bit about it?
It’s a painfully honest song entering the hideous and ridiculous universe of dating apps. Everyone knows someone who has – if they have not had a go themselves – sat swiping on a phone to find love. Or to not feel alone. It’s about desperation, loneliness, and seeking validation. What happened to romance? And treating people with respect? I actually started writing the song a few years ago when I first started using Bumble and Tinder, and was recovering from surgery on a sports’ injury. Although it helped me at the time get the confidence to get out and about on crutches, I have noticed the behaviour get dramatically worse in recent years. It now seems to be the norm to match someone with no intention of writing to them, or to message non-stop but not want to actually meet. What a waste of time. It is just vile in my opinion, and this song expresses all the levels I have experienced. There are a few good-uns out there, but not enough for it to be worth the doubt and madness that comes from swiping and texting and waiting and being disappointed endlessly. It’s far better to focus on self-love and being happy with yourself.

Being based in London, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
I actually move between Bucks and London, as I have my recording space in my Mum’s wonderfully remote place surrounded by woodland and hills. But I make sure I am in London regularly to get my culture fix! I need the balance of nature and silence with action and what’s happening. I would definitely not say the live music scene has recovered – there are many challenges with people not buying tickets in advance, so shows get cancelled; and audiences are smaller for gigs I’ve been to. Though music festivals I went to this summer were doing well. Touring is another issue – I used to gig a lot abroad, but with Brexit, that right now is not an option (unless you have a large-sized tour management to take on costs and admin) with all the restrictions, visa-requirements and controls on bringing merch. I am helping support the campaigning and lobbying the Musician’s Union are doing to improve the situation and a possible “Musicians’s Passport” for artists who want to play live outside the UK.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?  
I will have my first physical London show since before the pandemic this Summer, to celebrate the release of my debut album under the Ch’Lu umbrella. A Ch’Lu live show has a Campfire-meets-Kirtan-meets-Club vibe. It’s intimate, theatrical, fun and transformational. The way I blend the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist means you can expect lyrics in a whole range of languages, live-looped classical guitar and electronic beats, and audience engagement and relatability to make you howl. The first Ch’Lu tour (USA and Europe) is already under preparation and will be a physical version of the “Ch’Lu Campfire” streams I have been moulding online for the last 18 months. For me, the audience are very much part of the performance, and this tour is going to be designed by and for, my devoted fans. Every online show I do touches me greatly, and my followers tell me how I’ve helped get them out of bed, or through an emergency situation or given them hope… So I can’t wait to meet the fans I’ve got to know virtually on this physical fan-led tour. I feel very much that the Ch’Lu Campfire family is out there, and growing. Together we are finding where the Ch’Lu flame is heading next!

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists? 
It’s harder than ever in most ways to be a new artist. Technology in some ways makes it easier to reach fans, but it also presents so much pressure. I am grateful for my martial arts and meditation practice, which helps relieve the stress of maintaining and growing a constant social media presence. And the fact that to get my music out there, I have to take on at least ten people’s jobs from sound engineer to mixer to producer to PR/marketing guru to show booker to merch designer, to name but a few, in addition to simply writing, composing and performing my music. I believe it is getting slightly better for female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists, but I am still faced regularly with the assumption that all I can do is sing, and that I need assistance with anything else. And that I am ok to be addressed as “love/darling/honey” in a working environment. Male bookers, engineers and producers are often surprised when they discover I record, mix and produce my music, compose in multiple languages and play classical guitar. As for the obsession with the age and appearance of female identifying artists, that is still a monumental barrier that I am passionate about obliterating. I want to see as many older and multi-shaped women performing as I do men. Of course there are exceptions, but it is all too often I am treated differently because I’m a woman.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
I recently saw Carol Grimes in concert (at a lovely London venue called Piano Smithfield where I will be playing on June 14th) who is approaching 80, and in her band she had two female guitarists who were in their late 60/70s. I have never seen that before and it was so incredible to witness. They were all amazing. It blew me away. I vowed to do all I can to help this to become the norm for female artists out there. I also recently saw Spirit of Sundaze Ensemble do their debut live appearance at London’s Southbank – the stage was packed with musicians ranging from live classical to the electronic and DJs. And it was the first time I have seen the QEH turn into a nightclub with everyone on their feet and screaming. I love the unexpected and genre-fusion – this was that.

Finally, what does the near future have in store for Ch’Lu?
I’m getting ready for the release of my Arts Council of England and Help Musicians UK funded album, The Goddess Within on 10th June, Global Wellness Day. It fuses together my binaural field-recordings, hypnotic Sanskrit vocals, classical guitar arpeggiation and electronic soundscapes – the foundations to the album are the Sanskrit words of the ancient and sacred “Mandukya Upanishads”. It will be a journey into consciousness fusing the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist with a launch concert at London’s Piano Smithfield on 14th June (get early bird tickets here).

Many thanks to Ch’Lu for answering our questions!

Introducing Interview: Tina Boonstra

Having previously charmed our ears with her heartwarming 2020 EP, City Of Doubt, and received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson and BBC Introducing, alt-pop artist Tina Boonstra has now returned with a beautiful new single. A stirring reflection on female friendships and how life rarely meets your expectations, ‘Martha’ flows with lilting melodies and a shimmering, heartfelt lyricism, showcasing the raw, immersive emotion of Boonstra’s vocals.

We caught up with Tina Boonstra to find out more about what inspires her and her experience of the industry… Have a read, and listen to ‘Martha‘ now!

Hi Tina, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m an artist based just outside of London. I’m really interested in songs that tell stories, and I’ve been trying to write them since I was a kid.

How did you initially start creating music?
I think I was eleven or twelve when I wrote my first song. My sister played guitar at the time so I tried to get her to work out the chords to play along, but she couldn’t figure them out. That’s when I started playing guitar. After that I just kept on writing new songs, and that fuelled me to practice playing. I was never really very interested in playing covers – it was the writing that really excited me and still does now

Your new single ‘Martha’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s a story about getting to know someone. And how first impressions aren’t always that accurate., When you meet someone for the first time, you almost never start at the beginning. You start somewhere in the middle and travel simultaneously forwards and backwards together as you begin to build a picture of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The way this song developed, it took me by surprise; it takes a pretty dark turn when Martha starts telling her story. But I suppose that’s true for a lot of us – there’s the self we show when we meet someone, but then over time we share more of the things that have shaped us, the good stuff and the hard stuff. 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Sam Fender, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love songs that tell a story. So artists like Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac have really had a big influence on me over the past few years. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
It’s been difficult over the past few years, but it’s exciting to see things start to happen again. There’s this incredible record store not far from where I live called LP Cafe. It’s a tiny place, but they host some great events, they do a lot to support the local scene and they make a mean flat white too.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I love playing these songs live – there’s nothing like the energy of a room full of people singing songs you wrote in your bedroom. Expect all the emotion, joy, pain, heartache that you hear on the record times a hundred. Expect to dance, sing, cry and maybe even make some new friends. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’m really looking forward to hearing Nadine Yomi‘s new EP – she’s just released a new single, ‘Bloom’. I love her songwriting and her voice. Definitely go and check her out.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The times when I’ve focused on making music instead of ‘making it’ in music have always been a lot more fun for me. As an artist I have an amazing opportunity to introduce fans of my music to other great artists. I love curating nights, sharing great music with people I love and giving other artists the opportunity to share their story. I think if we could do more of that as artists, the better the world would be. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Tina Boonstra?
I’m working on an album at the moment. It’s my first one, and I’m very excited about it. There are a lot of stories to tell. Mostly stories of older women, which kind of surprised me in the writing process, but I hope it will connect people. Also, me and my band are playing at Between the Trees Festival later this month!

Massive thanks to Tina for answering our questions!

Introducing Interview: Wallis Bird

Following the acclaim of 2019’s poignant Woman, Irish born/Berlin based artist Wallis Bird has now released her seventh studio album, Hands. Showcasing Bird’s unique, vibrant brand of alt-pop – combining fizzing ’80s-inspired blissful soundscapes with an empowering energy and stirring sentiment -, it reflects heartfelt and resonant themes with a raw emotion, delivered through an uplifting, cinematic musicality.

We caught up with Bird to find out more about the album; her live shows; her thoughts on the music industry today, and more. Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the stirring sounds of Hands at the earliest opportunity!

Hi Wallis Bird! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hiya, I’m Wallis. I’m intelligent, funny, very handsome and talented. Most of all I’m humble. Everything else is wiki.

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
Before I could talk I was whistling, before I could stand I got my first guitar. I’ve been writing songs since before I knew what songs were, so it’s actually been something I’ve followed my whole life without question. I wrote my first song as a toddler and I distinctly remember the feeling of comfort and excitement it gave me to sing a lullaby or poem. At around eleven I realised that my friends were singing my songs and since then I suppose I’ve been writing with others in mind, to gather people socially or for posterity. I’ve realised in the last decade that my music is there to inspire, and encourage solutions and conversation through respect and patience and positivity.

We love your vibrant yet gritty pop-infused sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
As a baby it was Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Sharon Shannon, Rory Gallagher, as a teen it was Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple. As an adult it was Björk, Radiohead, Villagers, classical. Nowadays I’m leaning towards jamming again and writing for comfort and collaboration.

You released your seventh album Hands earlier this year… Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes that run throughout it?
Spiritual connection, asking for and offering help, the unknown future, exciting and terrifying new beginnings, giving up alcohol and going to therapy, adulting. Obsession and control, and taking care that it doesn’t own me. It’s in support of migrants and defiance of racism. Positivity and powerful vulnerability, and wanting to fucking sweat dance.

Being based in Berlin, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
It finally has, but only in the last two months. Usually Berlin crowds are either tough as fuck, or wild and welcoming, but they seem to have lost their critical edge and are just extremely happy to see their favourite artist on stage again. It’s a golden age at the moment!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Tonnes of power. Power power power. I can’t ever tame it or hide it, it always comes out. Ugh!

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists? 
I feel that new artists are defining the industry because there seemed to be no love for them, so they did it their way and are now defining the industry under their terms – it is revolutionary, and the labels are having to catch up. I love it. It has bred new and exciting artists who are fully aware of and in control of their worth and not taking any less than that – which hasn’t happened in my time on this earth. I’m all for it! In terms of queer artists, man I’m so excited at the normalised lyrics of same sex relationships in stories, something previously disguised and dangerous in my short lifetime. Across all genres, even the known homophobic genres like modern hip-hop or trap specifically, it’s just so powerful to see people laying their heart out in this vulnerable way. To be vulnerable takes the most strength, I love where the youth is going. Healing with abandon.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists you’re loving right now that you’d recommend, we check out?
Síomha just released her debut album, Infinite Space, made over two years with the people from Vulfpeck. Irish traditional mixed with NY ’80s pop jazz cats – it’s deep and relentless in its adventures. Caoi De Barra is my bandmate and she’s just released a beautiful EP called Thicket – think private R&B Jeff Buckley Sin-è sessions. And I can highly recommend Landers – hi-fi lo-tunes from atmospheric jazz nerds.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
A ton! I don’t know about you, but it’s as if life happened all at once again. I’m renovating a farm house I bought with five other people and I’m also going on a European tour with my band for three months from September on (tickets are at It’s all nice things!

Massive thanks to Wallis Bird for taking the time to answer our questions!

Hands, the latest album from Wallis Bird, is out now via Virgin Records / Mount Silver Records.

Introducing Interview: Wyse

Having previously received praise from the likes of Gold Flake Paint and BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Bradley, Portsmouth-based artist WYSE has now announced the release of her sophomore EP this summer. Taken from the EP, gritty latest single ‘Run Away‘ oozes a raw, impassioned splendour with a catchy, pop-punk energy.

We caught up with WYSE to talk about what inspires her, her local music scene, the industry today and more… Have a read!

Hi WYSE, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me! I’m a Portsmouth based artist, producer and songwriter. I love contrast, exploring the space between pop and progressive music, the unexpected, and long walks on the beach…!

How did you initially start creating music?
I had violin lessons when I was eight and got “fired” from my lessons because I didn’t practice my scales or stick to written music. I then taught myself the drums at home on some pots and pans… And, after a lot of insistence that lessons would DEFINITELY go differently with guitar, my parents gave in and let me have guitar lessons at the age of ten. My teacher Jonathan really encouraged me to write and create, realising very quickly that my eyes would glaze over as soon as notated music appeared. 

Your fantastic single ‘Run Away’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
I’ve always found that resentment is seen as this really “ugly” emotion. When I was turned down by somebody I was dating, I felt ashamed for feeling resentful about it. I wanted to stuff that feeling in a box before anyone could see it and pretend it didn’t exist. In ‘Run Away’, I am caught between trying to quite literally “run away” from myself – my sexuality, and my insecurities over being rejected, and my need to let it all out.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Wolf Alice and Anna Calvi, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I was quite sheltered from popular culture growing up (my family mostly listened to Christian-related music and hymns), so most of my early inspirations probably came from being exposed at school to the noughties pop-punk artists such as Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Paramore and, later, bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead and AWOLNATION. I found it quite embarrassing at times, the number of seriously iconic artists I had never heard of or listened to. People would always find that funny, especially since I am a musician. So, I had a lot of fun finding iconic artists out for myself over the last few years, and their influence has started seeping into my music – including Anna Calvi, Janelle Monae, David Bowie, Portishead and Queen.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I’ve really enjoyed being so close to The Wedgewood Rooms and other venues recently. Now we are able to go to gigs again, I am going to more than I ever did before the pandemic started! The music scene in Portsmouth has grown unrecognisably since I started out playing in the area in mid 2010s. I moved away for a few years and returned last year, and there seems to be a much greater variety of bands, venues, events, festivals and promoters than ever.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I really want my performances to feel like a journey for the audience, and for them to have the best possible time. I want my songs to evoke a whole range of emotions for them – from energetic to melancholic; nostalgic, thoughtful, excited… I want there to be unexpected moments throughout the set.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
To name a few off the top of my head: Hunting Hearts, Lauran Hibberd, Rose’s Diary, BERRIES, South Coast Ghosts, Deva St. John, Split The Dealer, Ivy Eye, Little Victories…

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Very – I think it’s been this way for a long time. It’s been said a lot, but as an artist you have to be multi-skilled. We cannot rely on just having a natural musical talent because that will get an artist absolutely nowhere, except by some freak chance for a few. At times this can be very frustrating and demotivating. In other ways it can be a good challenge to learn new skills and become more well-rounded as a creative.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for WYSE?
I’m releasing a lot more music this year, including an EP. There will be focus tracks in June and July and the next five-track EP shortly after. I’ve already nearly finished writing the EP that will follow in 2023, so it’s back to the studio in June to start tracking! I’ve also got more exciting shows and festivals coming up – including being part of Icebreaker Festival on 9th July. I’m also developing my solo set and a ‘noisy duo’ set where the gig vibe warrants it.

Massive thanks to WYSE for answering our questions!

Listen to ‘Run Away’, the latest single from WYSE, here:

Allusions, the upcoming new EP from WYSE, is set for release on 29th July.