Rae Morris is seriously on a roll. Alongside the fact she dropped her debut album ‘Unguarded’ yesterday (think chilled out, melodic pop) she’s already played a headline slot at Reading & Leeds festival and was recently included in the BBC’s Sound of 2015. Oh, and did we mention she’s only 21?! We caught up her to chat on-stage style, living in LA and her love for the legendary Patti Smith…
What’s the most exciting thing about your album being released?
For me it’s the thought of people sat at home in their everyday lives listening to the music, to think of it making them feel something, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
You recorded your album in LA, how did you find it?
Going out to LA for the three months of recording was probably the most important period of time in my life so far. I love the way people are so accepting and everyone just does their own thing.
When did you know you wanted to be an musician?
I always had it in my head that when I grew up I would do something in music. There really wasn’t another option for me. Maybe aside from being a female firefighter!
Are there any other new artists you’re loving right now?
The BBC Sound of 2015 introduced me to loads of new stuff I hadn’t heard before, Låpsley and Shura and Slaves – I feel super excited about those guys.
Who are your biggest influences?
My family and the people around me. Humans need other humans to get by!
What do you like to wear on stage?
For a long time I liked to wear the same thing, but now I like unique trousers and vintage jumpsuits. I think I’m starting to be more adventurous.
Who’s style would you most like to steal?
It would definitely have to be Patti Smith. Not just when she was floating around New York’s Chelsea Hotel being an effortlessly cool mega-babe, but now as well.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
Headlining Reading & Leeds festival last year! Leeds was the first festival I ever went to and it felt really significant to be asked to return .
If you haven’t heard of Hozier yet, you’re about to: The Irish musician burst onto our radios earlier this year with his epic single (and equally intense video) Take Me To Church and has since been quietly becoming one of the biggest names of 2014. Tonight he plays the huge Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Earls Court alongside Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, kind of a big deal, no? We caught up with him to talk inspiration, famous fans and how he plans to keep focused on that runway…
How would you describe your sound?
I was raised with music all around me, there was always blues music playing in my house. Nina Simone, Tom Waits and Aretha Franklin were all big influences. It’s a Southern gothic sound, there’s an artist called Cold Specks who describes the sound as ‘Doom Soul’, I think that’s a really cool way of putting it.
What’s been the highlight of 2014 so far?
Doing Jools Holland was a dream come true, I’d always wanted to do that. We played Saturday Night Live which was a big deal, Bill Hader and Kristen Wig were presenting.
You’ve recently been touring America, how did you find it?
I’ve been very lucky with very energetic, giving crowds and I try to keep the sound on stage as natural as possible. I spent a lot of time in the desert shooting my new video, From Eden. It was great, but we all went home filthy dirty and I did walk into a cactus at some stage – there were a lot of new experiences!
Are you looking forward to playing the Victoria’s Secret show?
Yes! I’ve never played anything like it, it should be interesting. Admittedly I don’t know any of the Angels by name, I’m terrible with fashion. They’re going to be passing me by on the catwalk so I have to try and keep focused…
What’s been your most starstruck moment so far?
Some of the people you meet is so surreal. Colin Farrell came to a show in LA which was super cool, he was really, really nice. Taylor Swift has come to a show, and Adele. That was one of the biggest shocks, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings when people like that come to your shows because they’re the people that inspire you to do what you do.
Are there any artists you’re really excited about at the minute?
Yeah, I’m a big, big admirer of George The Poet, he’s so unique. Jack Garrett is one to watch too, he plays percussion and piano with a guitar around his neck and a loop pedal and he sings. Seeing him live is mind blowing.
You probably know Kiesza from last summer’s ‘Hideaway’ video, dancing round the city in those now-famous jeans ‘n’ braces. But this month sees her return with single number three – electro hit ‘No Enemiesz’ shows off more of the Canadian star’s moves (not to mention her song writing talents – did you know she’s written for everyone from Jennifer Hudson to Kylie?). Read on as we chat shoes, songwriting and throwing shapes.
How was it shooting the ‘No Enemiesz’ vid?
We shot the video in this big warehouse in New Jersey. The dance routine took 17 hours to shoot – it was physically the most challenging dance I have done so far!
What inspired your outfit in the video?
The shoes were a key element. They were designed by my favourite artist and friend Ed Heck who I am working with currently on a fashion collaboration with.
Have you seen Greg James’ version of ‘Hideaway’?
Yes! It was the very first parody made of ‘Hideaway‘ and it’s still one of my absolute favourites. Greg nailed it. I want to see him do ‘No Enemiesz’ next. This is officially a challenge Greg James!
How does the song writing process work for you?
It’s different every time but I tend to start with a simple chord progression that inspires the melody. Then I usually add lyrics. There aren’t any rules.
You’ve written songs for some of pop’s biggest names. Who’s next?
Being a songwriter, you realise quickly that there is no way to know who you will have chemistry with. I just let my songs find their rightful place and artist. Like the way ‘Go All Night’ that I did with Gorgon City connected with Jennifer Hudson. She brought it to a whole other level.
What else have you got coming up?
My album ‘Sound Of A Woman’ is coming out really soon in the UK and I am currently working on expanding my live show!
Right now it’s all about #GenerationGirl, hence filling our new edition of Topshop magazine with inspiring women-to-know (have you picked up your copy yet?). But now it’s time to add Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton to the list – the Sydney-based band whose hauntingly beautiful music got us hooked on first play. Plus, any band that rocks purple hair, killer biker jackets and hippie maxis like these girls is always going to catch our attention. As well as adding their latest track, ‘Dust‘, to our September playlist we wanted to find out what other Aussie music we should be listening to – so asked the girls to share their top tracks from Down Under.
Courtney Barnett – Pickles From The Jar
“There’s a reason Courtney Barnett is killing it at the moment… her dry sense of humour and clever lyrics are seriously refreshing. Anyone who can rhyme “Christopher Walken” with “one thing in common” in a song is a legend in our book.”
DD Dumbo – Tropical Oceans
“We saw DD Dumbo play live at Secret Garden and Splendour In The Grass this year. He is amazingly crafty and super talented. His live set-up is really unique – you can instantly tell that he has been working for years on developing his sound. His guitar tones make me melt, and his voice is sublime.”
#1 Dads – Return To (feat. Tom Snowdon)
“Tom Iansek is one talented dude. As well as being one half of Big Scary, he has just released an album under his collaborative side project, #1 Dads. This song takes me away on a swirling four-and-a-half minutes of pure daydream.”
Spookyland – The Silly F****** Thing
“You can’t go past this guy’s voice, and this song has pretty much been stuck in my head since I first heard it a few months ago. There’s a real sense of desperation in this song that feels like it is gnawing at your soul. Fun fact: this song was produced by Tony Buchen, who also produced one of the tracks on our upcoming EP, ‘Midnight Hour’.”
What better way to see out Friday afternoon stresses than the soothing sounds of Daniel James? This new singer on the block has got those in the know talking, thanks to his unique take on pop, melding gospel, folk and soul influences with emotion-filled lyrics. We sat down with him ahead of his UK tour to find out more – read on for everything you need to know about Daniel James.
His acoustic sets are spine-tingling
“When I perform acoustically there’s a raw energy that people seem to dig. I lay it all out for people to either enjoy or not enjoy. It seems to be going alright for now!” Just watch the video above and we think you’ll agree!
He’s an eavesdropper
To inspire his lyrics Daniel says he listens to a lot of people’s conversations on the bus or tube. “As a writer you have to take notice of things around you.”
He taught himself guitar
Daniel has been honing his vocals since he was a kid, but it was more recently that he picked up a guitar. “I’m not the best in the world but I get by. I’m getting better everyday though. Practice y’all!”
He’s supporting Sam Smith on tour
If you’re in with Sam Smith then you’re in with us! Dan met Sam through mutual friends and he’ll be supporting him on the UK leg of his upcoming tour this October. ”I’m so excited, it’s a big step up. I’m still in shock that I’m actually going on it.”
He’s addicted to ham and cheese sandwiches
We’ve got it on good authority that this is an essential part of his tour rider, along with a good selection of drinks. Healthy diet then!
He loves his mam and dad
He grew up in the Irish countryside and says his parents gave him a very loving and supportive upbringing. “When times were tougher I was always taught to see the positives rather than the negatives.” Bless.
He’s got a crush on a Victoria Secret model
“As a kid I quite fancied Julia Stiles, but for now I will say Erin Heatherton.”
Keep up with Daniel James on his Facebook page and look out for a new EP coming soon.