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 wallisbird.com/live) 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.

Introducing Interview: Claire Pitt Wigmore

Having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for previous singles, ‘Dreaming (Where Did You Go?)’ and ‘Words’, Margate-based multi-instrumentalist Claire Pitt Wigmore has charmed our ears with her soulful, impassioned energy and sparkling, blues-infused musicality.

Having recently released gritty, yet instantly catchy, riff-filled single ‘Shades Of Green‘, we caught up with Claire to talk about what inspires her, her experience as a female artist in the music industry, and more. Have a read!

Hi Claire! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Hi Mari! Thanks so much for interviewing me. I certainly can! I’m a multi-instrumentalist from Margate, Kent. I predominately perform with my electric guitar, loop pedal and vocals. I create music ranging from indie, trip-hop and blues but that’s my own interpretation. I’ve always been a huge lead guitar blues fan. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
I always wanted to play the guitar. Electric guitar to be exact. I became fascinated by “shreddy” guitar solos from an early age and thought “if they can do that, why can’t I?” It was around about the time ‘Sk8er Boi’ by Avril Lavigne became a hit that I became inspired, but I didn’t start learning the guitar until I was about ten, which was six or seven years after this musical awakening. I played in a wide range of cover bands and original bands before venturing off as a solo artist. I played in indie bands, rap-rock bands, acoustic duos. All of which stood me in good stead as a performer. But it wasn’t until I started creating my own music that my musical abilities really started coming to life. I bought myself a loop pedal. It was only to track chord progressions and practise my improvisation skills, but I soon started creating original instrumental pieces with it. From there, I managed to create a unique blend of soulful chord progressions and bluesy guitar solos that would later become fully composed pieces of mine. 

I love your impassioned, shimmering sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! That’s very kind of you! I’ve been influenced by a number of genres and sounds over the years. It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific influence but I’ve definitely honed in on the genre of blues, regarding my guitar playing. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd has been a big influence of mine – that warm, psychedelic tone of his has always been a favourite of mine. I’ve also been influenced by guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. But speaking from a general musical point of view, I’ve gravitated towards artists like Massive Attack, Air, Portishead, Tash Sultana, Deftones. The list could go on really!

You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Shades Of Green’. Are you able to tell us a bit about the single? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
‘Shades of Green’ seems to be everyone’s new favourite at the moment. I think because I’ve branched out as an artist and started exploring different writing styles and genres, and it’s a little more upbeat than my previous releases. The track talks about the image that’s on the single artwork actually: it’s a photograph of me aged three wearing a lilac/mauve party dress and I just remember thinking “I hate this dress”. Which is also really sad because my mum must have thought it looked really sweet and pretty! I probably just wanted to wear something a little more “tomboyish” and I guess there was a mixture of emotions running riot at the time. It’s probably one of the first songs I’ve written where I’ve opened up about childhood emotions; I’ve tended to write in a rather cryptic way in the past to avoid people actually knowing what was going on in my head.

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 interesting you should ask this question actually because I recently wrote a blog, that was published by a local music charity, about my experiences as a female instrumentalist. I hadn’t really spoken up about the injustices I’d faced in a male dominated industry before, but I’m so glad I did. Especially being a “female guitarist”, which isn’t as common as a “male guitarist”, I felt like an outsider and unfortunately encountered a number of sexist and dismissive remarks. I do feel like things are changing though which is really positive. There are a number of queer/LGBTQ+ artists and bands on the scene at the moment and that’s also something that’s been embraced in my local music scene. 

You’re based in Margate – how is the music scene there? Do you feel that the live music community there has fully recovered since the pandemic? 
Margate really is the place to be now, isn’t it? I remember growing up, Margate was just another seaside ghost town but in the last five to ten years there’s been a huge change, especially in the creative scene. New and exciting venues such as Elsewhere have really turned things around and regenerated the music scene by not only putting on up and coming artists but welcoming local talent to its stage. Since the pandemic, I’ve actually been able to perform as a solo artist more than before. I think people were in desperate need of a music scene after nearly eighteen months of nothing. You never really appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone, I think is a very fitting phrase!

And what can fans expect from a Claire Pitt Wigmore live show? 
A lot of bluesy, psychedelic guitar solos, ambient vocals and an incredible amount of loop pedal use. The Boss RC-30 loop pedal has become a staple for every show.

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?
Good question! I supported a Northampton based band at Ramsgate Music Hall, back in July 2021, called Sarpa Salpa. Think ’80s disco/funk, mixed in with pop and a bit of alternative rock. I was very impressed. 

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
This is an interesting one because I’ve been quite unwell recently and have been diagnosed with a lymphoma that I’ll be starting treatment for very soon. A dark ending to this interview, but it is treatable! I’m still writing and releasing music and gigging as much as I can. I haven’t been able to gig as much as I hoped this year, but I’m doing as much as I can. I’m in the process of writing my second EP, that should be out later this year. It discusses my bout of ill health and the end of my relationship, that happened not long after I became ill at the beginning of the year. I’ve put my heart and soul into this body of work, so expect to get a real insight into my life.

Massive thanks to Claire for answering our questions!

‘Shades Of Green’, the latest single from Claire Pitt Wigmore, is out now:

Photo Credit: Nigel Martin Photography