In conversation with Jessica Biggs from Musicvein
What captured me about this young lady was the powerful thought-evoking lyrics she wrote set against the delicate simplistic backdrop of acoustic guitar, the youthfulness in her voice but her acute social awareness. All of this led me to getting in touch with Charlie and here our conversation begins.
“…Carole King, I am in love with the way she writes…”
MV: Who would you say your biggest influences are and how do you think they’ve influenced your style?
CL: My influences are mainly artists like Ed Sheeran and Carole King. Ed Sheeran because I find that our writing styles are quite similar and I love the way his lyrics are original and meaningful – no two of his songs are the same. I think I am like that, I don’t believe that any of my songs are too similar, my lyrics come from the heart or from the passion I have in something – just like his.
With Carole King, I am in love with the way she writes, her music is incredible! Although it’s sometimes simple, I often think that’s what makes it all the more effective. I now understand (through Carole) that sometimes less is more. Before I was introduced to her music I would dream of every song of mine having all the band instruments and loads of complicated parts, but then I realised that while it’s good for some songs, often a simple song can be the one that people remember.
MV: At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a musician?
CL: I think ever since I was little I wanted to be a singer. I couldn’t play any instruments until I was 12 so I didn’t think of myself as being a musician until then. I participated in little things such as ‘Rock Club’ in my primary school – where the leaders would try to teach us about music. Then as I grew, I auditioned for all school plays because I loved singing on the stage.
Right now I play guitar, piano, bass and Ukulele. I taught myself piano at the age of 13, I had a little 3 octave keyboard from which I would learn the demo tracks by ear until I realised that I could learn my favourite songs from tutorials on Youtube and chord websites! I’ve been playing guitar since I turned 15 – my granddad gave me an electric guitar and I decided to learn. With the Uke, I’ve only been playing for about 6 months or so, I got one for my 16th birthday.
MV: How does the creative process begin for you? Do the lyrics come first or the melody?
CL: When writing it very much depends on my mood. Some days it will be the lyrics first, other days it will be the melody. I don’t sit down and go “I’m going to write a song”, usually something comes to me whether it be a tune or some lyrics as I’m going about my daily activities, then I write the song when I’m home with my guitar or piano. ‘Player 2′ was written on a walk to school. I had the melody and a lot of the lyrics and just had to retain the information and tune until I got home and was able to work out the chords.
“…The first time I had one of my songs played, I just squealed…”
MV: Your songs are being played on the Radio, How does that feel to you?
CL: It feels unreal! The first time I had one of my songs played, I just squealed and then sat in awe! It feels surreal because it’s hard to imagine that there are actually other people listening to what the presenter is saying about you and your song. It feels weird to know people might be sat there thinking “This is catchy” and then becoming interested in my music. I also feel very grateful that I have had the opportunity to be played.
MV: So, are you in the process of making an album?
CL: I’m not currently working on an album, I’m just writing for me and if people like what I write then that’s a very flattering bonus. I have been asked by a US based producer if I wanted to work on a 4 track EP – we’ll see how that goes.
“…Love to work with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters…”
MV: Who would you like to work with in the future?
CL: Ed Sheeran! (she says without hesitation) that would be my ideal collaboration. I would also love to work with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters – I think he would have so much great advice that I could learn from.
MV: What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?
CL: I can’t pick a highlight – I’m tied between 2! It’s got be both having my song, “Summer’s Day Runaway”, played on the radio and playing at the Westfield Shopping Centre in London a few weeks ago.
When my song was played on the Mark Forrest evening show, it was broadcast on 37 radio stations across Britain and the Channel Islands. I got a message from Mark on my facebook page saying it was going to be played! Almost the whole family was sat in the living room in silence just listening. It was so cool!
When I played at Westfield, in London, I honestly don’t think I have ever smiled as much on stage as I had then. It was probably one of my favourite performances I’ve ever done because I was just so happy. I looked into the audience and there were people smiling back at me and tapping their feet, it was such a good feeling.
“…Touring would be an amazing experience.”
MV: What are your plans for 2013?
CL: To keep writing and recording to the best of my ability and to gig more to gain exposure and valuable experience. I hope that more people find my music and like it, I dream of being able to release an album one day and maybe even tour. Touring would be an amazing experience.
To find out more about Charlie Leavy and her music visit her website