In a heavy electronic world where more and more music is composed & produced on computers, it can be a breath of fresh air when you come across an acoustic set of songs…
And that’s exactly what happened when I came across singer/songwriter Lisa Redford’s EP ‘Reminders’, a breath of fresh air. Beautifully written lyrics, instruments which tell you that less can be more and Lisa’s voice? Pure, just pure!
The Dutch Guy (TDG): Can I borrow 20 bucks?
Lisa Redford (Lisa): Sure! I’ve spent time living in the US so think I have some notes hanging around!
TDG: Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Lisa: Singer/songwriter, guitarist, ukulele player, daydreamer, huge music lover with an extensive knowledge of pop music trivia!
TDG: What are your roots?
Lisa: I grew up in Norwich and my parents’ eclectic taste in music introduced me to a great mixture of music styles.
Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I began writing songs at a young age and would avidly listen to the charts each Sunday as a young girl. I studied English at university and am fascinated by words and stories. In recent years I’ve spent time in bigger cities, been based in Manchester where I recorded my album ‘Lost Again’ and more recently I’ve spent time in New York City where I recorded my album ‘Clouds with Silver’ and my latest EP ‘Reminders’.
TDG: How would you describe your sound?
Lisa: Heartfelt, melodic acoustic folk-pop which also has tinges of Americana. I’m a huge fan of melody and aim to write songs with real emotion whether they’re uplifting or sad.
TDG: What’s involved in your songwriting process?
Lisa: When I write, it’s usually the melody or phrase that comes first. When I’ve got a melody that I’m happy with, I then start to develop an idea and play my guitar while singing the melody over it. The lyrics usually come last. When everything comes together it’s such a rewarding feeling and it’s so exciting when you get that feeling you have just written something good.
I always keep my trusty note book with me in case inspiration strikes! A lot of my songs are inspired from my own personal experiences but I’ve also drawn from books or films that have moved me. The majority of my songs are in the acoustic folk pop style but I’ve also written and recorded songs in the dance genre.
TDG: Which aspect do you enjoy the most while working on new music?
Lisa: I really love the process of recording and have had the chance to record and collaborate with some amazing musicians in the US which has been so inspiring. My latest EP ‘Reminders’ was recorded in Brooklyn and produced by a brilliant musician and producer, Jeff Hill, who has worked with Rufus Wainwright and Teddy Thompson.
It’s been wonderful for broadening my musical horizons and I love coming up with arrangements for each song and adding instrumentation.
TDG: Who or what inspires you the most?
Lisa: There hasn’t been one particular inspiration but there are certain songs and albums that have moved me and artists whose wonderful music has influenced my song writing. I’m a huge music fan and have been inspired by artists and songwriters such as Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse, Teddy Thompson, Kings of Convenience, Kathleen Edwards, Sufjan Stevens, Hem and Shawn Colvin.
I also love the sound of classic singer/songwriters like Neil Young, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel. I’m also a big indie music fan and love many bands especially The Smiths. The combination of Morrissey’s witty, direct and unique lyrics and Johnny Marr’s distinctive melodic guitar are in a league of their own.
Kate Bush is also another huge musical inspiration. As a teenager I wore out my dad’s copy of ‘The Kick Inside‘. Her music has such a ethereal and magical quality; it was like nothing I’d ever heard before.
TDG: How important is connecting with fans for you? What kind of connection do you have or do you like to have with them?
Lisa: It’s so important and it’s lovely how my fans have been so loyal and keep coming to see me play and are constantly spreading the word about my music with their friends. I’ve had some wonderful gigs, particular my album launches, and it’s a nice opportunity to see supporters, sign CDs and have a chat with them.
I’ve got some really loyal fans particularly across Europe and even had them travel far to see me. I’ve also done interviews for them and sent them rare songs and free downloads. As an independent artist it’s hard to get yourself to the next level and so their support means such a lot to me and keeps me motivated to keep pushing away!
TDG: And social media is a big help in your opinion?
Lisa: Social media has been amazing for enabling regular interaction with fans, press, radio, venues, festivals, you name it! I’m frequently on Twitter in particular and it has been great for spreading the word about my music. I like that it’s so instant and interactive.
When my Christmas single was out in December last year, I had many blogs, radio shows and people tweeting about it which was fantastic. Legendary BBC DJ Bob Harris is one of my followers and is often mentioning my name or retweeting me to his thousands of followers which is amazing.
As well as Twitter, I use Facebook regularly, have a Tumblr blog and often post a mixture of songs on SoundCloud. I also post videos on my YouTube channel which are a mixture of promo videos, radio sessions, interviews, behind the scenes clips and live performances.
TDG: What do you do to stand out from all the rest on social media?
Lisa: I write a regular column for UK magazine Songwriting Magazine where I offer tips to other independent artists.
I’ve discussed various subjects such as combating writer’s block, dealing with stage fright and also given advice on using social media, all coming from my own perspective and experience as an independent artist.
So when I’m on Twitter in particular I try to get a balance between promoting my music and offering interesting tips for other DIY artists. I also share advice from other music industry blogs like CD Baby and retweet music and videos that I like.
I also often give free downloads for my fans and have given away remixes of my songs, radio sessions, different versions of original songs plus a mix of covers. I’ve recorded songs by Nick Drake, Stevie Wonder, Neil young and Bastille, to name a few and my latest free download is an acoustic cover of Arctic Monkeys ‘Do I Wanna Know?‘
TDG: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
Lisa: That I only sing country folk music. This is fine as most of my songs are in the acoustic/folk pop style but I’m also very versatile and written and produced songs in the dance, electronic and indie genres. I’ve also written an instrumental score for an independent short film and just started singing and recording my songs in French!
TDG: Who is currently on repeat on your iPod or Spotify list?
Lisa: I’m a huge fan of Kings of Convenience, love their subtle intricate style of playing and harmonies, so I always have their albums on my iPod.
TDG: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out and you think it would help other aspiring artists/bands?
Lisa: It’s very tough and challenging these days if you’re an independent artist so it’s really important to be passionate about what you do and be true to yourself, not follow other styles. I was been told to be prepared to work really hard to create your own opportunities and that’s definitely something I’ve been doing. Having to put aside huge amounts of time to promoting your music online when you’d rather be creative and writing is frustrating but it’s essential to have and maintain a strong online presence.
Ensure you align yourself with the right blogs and radio that are suited to your particular genre so that can also entail some extensive online work and research. Keep a blog and post your music and videos online as people all over the world can potentially see you and become your fan.
TDG: 2014 is funky fresh, but what do you have in store for us this year?
Lisa: I’m really excited to be playing Country to Country Festival at the O2 next month. It’s a really big festival with lots of major US artists performing so it was great to be selected to perform on the Pop-Up stages. Also next month I’m doing a session on Bob Harris’s new podcast which is also really cool. I’ve tons of new material I’d love to record so do keep an eye on my SoundCloud page for a regular mix of new songs, remixes and covers!
TDG: Got any last words of wisdom you wanna lay down on us before we wrap this up?
Lisa: If you’re an artist and want to check out my column please do. Here’s the latest one on Songwriting Magazine‘s website. Also do like my Facebook page, or come and say hi on Twitter if you fancy… Thanks so much!
When a good friend of mine, Ross Barber of Electric Kiwi, introduced me to Esnavi, it just took a split second to dig her sound!
Old school R&B and slow jams are on their way back, or so it seems, and I for one dig that! ‘Cause you can easily play Esnavi’s smooth groove ‘Unexpected Love‘ back to back with, lets say, 90s famous Brandy…
So pop this weeks Sunday Smooth Groove on your playlist, grab your boo and get… Smooth…