Interview | Paige Bea [Apr 2018]

Paige Bea is passionate about words. This is confirmed by her journalist alter-ego in addition to her declaration that she views herself as a writer more than anything else. This fascination with words eventually spanned into music, with the talented singer, songwriter and instrumentalist bursting into the consciousness of music listeners last year with her momentous debut single ‘Pick Up Your Heart’.

Paige was kind enough to speak to about the impact of her debut single, her developing relationship with music and what she hopes the future holds for her career.

For those who may not know you, how would you describe yourself as an artist and as a person?

“Creative, outgoing, hardworking, open-minded and hopefully pretty funny too. I don’t take myself seriously, but I take what I do very seriously.”

How did you start writing & when did you realise music was something you wanted to pursue as a career?

“It’s always been at the back of my mind, as singing and communicating with people are my two biggest passions. It’s not been an entirely linear route, but I think those two things have stood by me always, and I’m really passionate about words, whether that be journalism, books, poetry or lyrics. So at the moment, I’m focusing on lyricism and music, but I see myself as a writer, then a singer, and probably then a musician.”

Who are your main musical influences and how were you exposed to them?

“[This is] always a tough question – I have such myriad tastes. Songwriting-wise it’s hard to say, I really do listen to everything. At home, my mum would often be playing Dinah Washington, Phoebe Snow, Janis Ian, Roberta Flack. Anyone that got me to feel something. I’m quite melodramatic as a person so I love Romani music and very traditional folk music too. Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares is one of the most stunning albums I’ve ever listened to, and I go back to it a lot if I need harmonic inspiration. Currently, I would say Rosie Lowe, Charlotte Day Wilson, Erykah Badu, Sevdaliza are my top played.”

What is your main motivation for writing and creating music?

“I think I have to write to make sense of what is going on around me and how I’m feeling, and this, combined with my desire to connect with people, whether that be through just writing a relatable caption on Instagram, or expressing a kind of existential crisis with adulthood and the perils of modern love in a song, it’s the same feeling to me. And I need to do it to feel sane. I also feel like music and harmony can be completely transcendental, and a language in and of itself.”

Last year you released your debut single ‘Pick Up You Heart’; how do you feel the response was to that track?

“The response was mad really, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I still don’t really (do we ever?!) but the song meant a lot to me, and it was the steps towards me kind of carving out what kind of sound I wanted for my music. KINDER has been really influential in this way, it helps that he’s the first producer I ever worked with and he’s seen the progression of my writing and musical tastes and let me explore them fully.”

‘Pick Up Your Heart’ was produced by KINDER; how did that musical relationship begin and develop?

“Well, we actually went on the school bus together way back, but we weren’t really friends until we were both back to living in the ‘burbs after university and he sent me a message on Instagram after I’d been uploading some videos of the music I was writing. From there we just started to hang out and share musical tastes. It helps that we’re both very open-minded, and we don’t come at it ever from one genre or one angle.”

Are there any other producers you’ve been working with recently?

“Yes! I’ve been working with KINDER still, but also with Teresa Origone from Bad Honey and Jonjo Keefe who plays with Park Hotel. Between the four of us, we have kind of a perfect mix of tastes and influences, Teresa comes from more of a jazz, soul and pop angle whereas Jonjo is into post-punk, electronica and we all love big 80s synths.”

I assume that ‘Pick Up Your Heart’ is just one of many tunes you’ve been working on; can we expect a project anytime soon or are you just concentrating on singles at the moment?

“The next few releases will be singles, but they’re part of a project that we’re just finishing up now. It’s going to be a little different from ‘Pick Up Your Heart’ but it’s definitely music that I’ve been the proudest of until now, it’s a little darker and a tad more experimental.”

I read that you briefly studied opera; how do you think that impacted the way you write and perform your music now?

“I think having a grounding in classical music is an advantage, firstly just being able to read music, and having sung in choirs for years and years it gives you a great sense of harmony and a lot of confidence. I don’t know if the opera itself really helped, I didn’t enjoy it much as I found it quite restrictive, but some of my favourite songs are still massive opera arias, Ebben Ne Andro Lontana (La Wally), When I Am Laid in Earth (Dido and Aeneas), Vogliatemi bene (Madame Butterfly)… I could go on.”

Do you have any expectations for your music career?

“Of course! I’d love to be able to travel with my music and play to as many people as possible – reaching people is important to me. But I also want to spend way more time in the studio experimenting with instrumentation, song structure and my own voice. I want to take some risks. I’d also like to be able to afford rent at some point.”

You gave a superb performance of ‘One Woman’ for Sofar London; have you got any more live performances scheduled?

“Thanks so much! I was actually petrified during that performance. Yep, I’m playing a BrainChild event called Hatch on the 19th of April, I’ll be supporting Only Girl at her EP launch on May 3rd at Thousand Island in Dalston and I’m at Ronnie Scotts on May 22nd!”

What else should listeners expect from Paige Bea in the near future?

“Hopefully some new music and top visuals to match!”


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