Interview | Wolfie [Jul 2016]

A lot has changed since the last time I sat down for a conversation with Wolfie. For instance, on this occasion, we are sat in the living room of her relatively new place of residence tucked away in South London. After she gives me the tour and introduces me to Michelle (or Shelly, as she is better known by visitors), her pet tortoise, we pick up from where we left of at the back end of last year.

“It’s weird”, she declares when asked about her overall state of mind at present. “I’m in a bit of limbo, I think, just in general, because I was working so much in the run up to the [release of the] EP, and now it’s more of a release, it’s been like a release of tension”. Wolfie is referring to her 8 Ball EP, which has been available since May 6th. “Now, it’s more just connecting with my thoughts and planning out what’s next and what I want to talk about on the next project, what I want to touch on that I haven’t touch on instrumentally”. Wolfie then explains the slight predicament she is in following the completion of her EP, saying, “I want to keep active and I want to keep working – and I have been – but, I think now it’s about making sure the EP is getting to every place we can get it to”.

Prior to the release of 8 Ball, Wolfie built a tremendous amount of excitement around her music due to a run of successful singles that gained the interest of listeners, as well as various companies within the industry. “In the grand scheme of things, there were 4 songs that near enough got me my deal – ‘I Be Ghost’, ‘Come Over’, ’Seeds’ and ‘Drifting’ – they’re the songs that got me that buzz, got me those meetings with the labels. I was very lucky at that point. I was lucky enough to have those four tunes buzz and sign that deal”, she says modestly. But, with seemingly fierce competition ensuing over her signature, Wolfie had some important decisions to make. Her consideration eventually resulted in putting pen to paper on a publishing deal with BMG; a move she certainly feels was the best one. In addition to the effect the deal has had on her personal life, more significantly, it has opened doors professionally, “[BMG are] getting me sick sessions with people that I don’t think I would have got in with at this point in my career. In terms of the publishing deal, that’s really helped in the respect that I’ve been in session with talented people”.

Now that certain elements of her musical career are bound by contractual obligation, it would be understandable if Wolfie fell under a newfound veil of pressure. The idea of pressure is a topic that we’ve discussed in the past, which is recognised by a groan of acknowledgement and a knowing grin before I can even conclude my question. After she allows me to finish my sentence examining whether the deal with BMG affects the amount of pressure she feels under, Wolfie confirms, “Of course it does. Not pressure for me – I’m under just as much pressure as I was before I signed the publishing deal, personally – but you know that about me, anyway”, she says, alluding to our conversational history. “Obviously there is pressure on me now that I’ve got more people to answer to than myself. I’ve got certain expectations that I’ve got to live up to because I’ve signed a deal, I’m with BMG now. Legally and in general I need to make sure I’m delivering, but I know that, anyway, and I know that I’m not going to do something that I feel like is half-hearted, that’s just the sort of person I am”.

Any pressure Wolfie may be feeling will have been somewhat alleviated due to the encouraging response that her latest EP has received thus far. “It’s been so, so good”, she reveals regarding the feedback. “It’s been a gradual pick up but it’s been exciting. It was going to be how I’ve been doing it the past year – dropping a song a month – but really I just wanted to release an EP and let it sit there for the summer. I just want the music to be out there now and see what it does by itself, as well as making sure that certain people are getting it in their emails”. The concept for the 8 Ball title and the EP’s overall content was built on a combination of Wolfie’s habits, heritage and spiritual beliefs. “I smoke, so that obviously influenced the 8 Ball [title]. I wanted it to be something that has a play on words, in the respect that it’s an 8 ball, but also you get those [magic] 8 balls – the 8 ball toys. That toy was taken from crystal balls, from Gypsies and that’s my heritage, Romany Gypsies, so that also played on that. Eight being the number of infinity and in numerology, which is the language of numbers in numeric form, it means infinite and balance and balance is a big thing throughout the EP, every single song will have some sort of balance”. Wolfie proceeds to give examples of this idea of balance that is embedded throughout 8 Ball, using ‘Outta Earth’ (“it’s talking about balancing a relationship”), ‘100’ (“keep it 100 with me, either you’re on it or you’re not”) and ‘Sweet N Sour’ (“being in a situation where physically it’s suiting you, but emotional it’s not”) as her selected examples.

For an artist in Wolfie’s position, the natural progression after releasing two EP’s and signing a publishing deal would be to think about a full-length album, something that has always been on her mind. “I think you’re always writing an album” she reveals. “There are songs that I wrote ages ago that I know are album songs, because I can feel them. Sometimes when you write a song or you produce a song and you get a feeling afterwards and you keep going back and keep listening to it over and over and over again, and you still get that same feeling. Those tunes, they’re rare”. Another aspect of her music that she has always been part of her thoughts is production, and she is preparing to expand on that further too. “I’ve always produced stuff, it was very early on that I started learning about Logic when I was about 15, anyway, so I’ve always been producing, but I think now that I’ve got time to experiment more – like what I’ve been doing recently is producing ideas, vocalising ideas over it, with very basic chords and basic drums – creating skeletons of it, and being able to send it to someone”, she explains. “It’s a fun experience because when you’re in sessions with people, either you’re building a song there together, or they’ve got the idea and you’re taking that and pulling it apart, adding you’re bit and meshing that [together]. But when it’s you producing and sending your idea off, it’s nice to have your own initial stamp on that”.

Aside from the creation of music itself, Wolfie has ambitions to develop a series of books based on what she has learned about music throughout her time in education. “It’s a music theory book, but I want it to be from a vocalist’s perspective, as well, because I feel like there’s certain things in music theory that we could all know as musicians, just in order to have that knowledge and be able to work from it”, she states. “There are very basic things that I would like to put in a book, just so my mind is refreshed from it, because it helps me remember what I’ve learnt at university. Also, the way that I’m writing it is very much from a vocalist’s perspective, adapting it like that because a lot of music theory books, I feel, are mainly developed by musicians”. This idea, which has been in the works for two or three years, will be set over multiple volumes, covering numerous aspects of subjects related to music, but is without a completion date at present.

In the future, there is a mental list of objectives that Wolfie is intending to complete during the course of her career, but she admits that the difficulty of accomplishing these objectives often take her by surprise, “A lot of things that I have accomplished, I thought that they’d be difficult, but they just turned out not being difficult, not being what I expected”, she shares, before informing me of some of the other events she aims to be a part of. “There are certain things. I’d like to go back to BBC Big Weekend next year and do the ‘In New Music We Trust’ stage, do that step up. I’d like to go on Jools Holland eventually, I’d like to do [BBC] Live Lounge. I don’t know if I’m worried about it being difficult – if it’s meant to happen, it will”. Something that seems destined to happen is that Wolfie continues to ascend musically, with the potential prospects looking brighter each time we converse.

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