interview by Michael McCarthy
It’s funny how everything is connected. Earlier this year, I was listening to a random artist on Soundcloud – I can’t remember who – and the next thing that came on was a song by Brandyn Burnette, who I wound up interviewing. During that interview, he mentioned that he was doing some producing for his girlfriend, Molly Moore, so I looked her up on Soundcloud and fell in love with her music, too, and ended up interviewing her recently. Well, I was listening to Molly on Soundcloud when a song by Rebecca Clements, a singer/songwriter from England, came on after. So, now we have this interview. As I write this, I’m listening to Rebecca on Soundcloud, quite curious to see who comes next! In any case, Rebecca’s music is nothing short of superb. If Adele played guitar and had a quieter voice then she might sound like Rebecca, whose songs tend to be subtle and melancholic with a dreamy air about them. To that end, I wasn’t surprised to learn that she hails from none other than Bristol, home of Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky, three of my all-time favorites. While she isn’t a trip-hop artist, she shares the same moodiness they tend to convey with their work, stirring up your emotions with their often sad but always beautiful songs. If you’re looking for the antithesis of the cheesy pop songs on the radio, then Rebecca’s artsy, indie songs of substance should blow you away.
MM: I know you’re from England. Could you tell us what city or town you’re from?
RC: I’m from a city called Bristol in the southwest of England. It’s really cool, I love it!
MM: Your Facebook page states that you’re 21. Is that still the case? How old were you when you put your first song online?
RC: Yes I’m 21, my birthday is in January. I think I was about 15 when I started posting demo’s but my first official release was ‘Wildlife’ when I was 19.
MM: On your Facebook page you also state that you’re influenced by everyone and everything. Could you give us some examples of the artists and things that have been the greatest influence on you?
RC: Everything I write about is based on personal experience, anything from relationships to growing up or what people around me are going through. As a writer, my influences include Daughter, The XX, Catfish & The Bottlemen and The Cure.
MM: What is your favorite genre of music?
RC: I really love indie bands, Catfish & The Bottlemen are my favourite. I’m really into electronic music at the moment too and I always love a ballad!
MM: I noticed on Spotify that your most recent songs were released as singles. Will they be part of an album? Either way, are you working on an album or EP right now or do you plan to just continue releasing songs one at a time?
RC: Everything I write is with an album eventually in mind but I like to think of the singles as the direction and journey towards it. I’m writing a lot at the moment and enjoying working on new ideas so hopefully an EP will come soon.
MM: Do you produce your own songs? If not, who are some of the producers you’ve worked with?
RC: I do like to have a go with some production when I’m working from my own studio to experiment with ideas but usually I take a song to a producer and we will sit down and work it out together. It’s great being able to bounce ideas off each other. I’ve worked with some amazing producers over the past couple of years, a few of my favourites have been Iain Archer, Luke Potashnick, Jamie Ellis, Ollie Green and James Earp, they always bring something special to the room.
MM: I’m guessing that it’s you playing the guitar on your songs. How old were you when you learned? Did you take lessons or were you self-taught? Do you also play the bass guitar on your songs?
RC: Yes most of them! I started teaching myself when I was about 14. I’ve played bass upside down on a few of them as I’m left handed but usually I leave it to the pro’s!
MM: Most of your songs don’t have percussion. Do you intend to continue releasing songs of that nature or do you intend to continue doing songs with more percussion/drums? I especially liked the sound of you with a full band on “Bad TV” and “Spiral.”
RC: It was always the intention to have full production so going forward the record will include that. I loved being able to release songs with just my vocal and guitar as it left so much room to experiment and I think it was a nice introduction for people, not giving away too much too soon. I always want the song to be the strongest part of the release too so leaving the production so stripped back in the beginning let the songs stand and speak for themselves.
MM: When you write songs, do you generally write the music or lyrics first? Or do they come to you together?
RC: It’s a different process every time. Usually a lyric will come into my head and spark a song or I will play around a few chords until a melody sticks.
MM: Approximately how many songs have you written so far?
RC: So many, I was definitely over the hundred mark a long time ago!
MM: How old were you when you wrote your first song?
RC: I’m sure I was around 13, maybe even younger. Never to see the light of day again I can assure you!
MM: Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get back into the writing process?
RC: I do sometimes and I hate it! I take a break from writing, if it’s forced it will never be good. Listening to music really helps, and I find watching soppy films does too.
MM: Have you written songs for other artists? If you have, which artists did you write them for? Which songs? If you haven’t, is it something you’d consider doing in the future?
RC: I have written features for producers but never an artist specifically although if I write a song I like but don’t feel is suited to me then I will pitch it on to an artist. I will be writing for others in the near future as it’s always something that’s interested me.
MM: What was the first album you ever bought with your own money? Do you still like it today?
RC: It was either Steps or S Club, a proper throwback! Can’t say I listen much these days though!
MM: Are you looking for a record deal or do you intend to stay independent?
RC: Both can be so successful in this industry so I’m always open to either. At the moment I’m loving taking things right back to basics and creating something new so we’ll see!
MM: Would you prefer to go on tour headlining club shows or would you rather open for somebody hugely famous in arenas? If you’d like to open for somebody, who would you most like to open for?
RC: I’d love to say I’ve done the arenas but there is always something different about the atmosphere in a club show that is so addictive. I’d love to open for someone like Daughter, a cult band with an audience that really gets it.
MM: I read that you went to Glastonbury this year on your Facebook page. Whose performances did you like best?
RC: I loved Adele’s show as the atmosphere was outstanding but I thought Jack Garratt was great. I’m not a huge fan but you can’t deny his talent.
MM: Have you done much performing live yet? Do you prefer writing and recording songs or performing live?
RC: Yes loads! I love writing but there’s nothing quite like playing the tunes live. I crave the feeling of being on stage all the time, nothing compares.
MM: Your song “Love Child” was used on MTV’s Catfish. How did that happen? Did you have someone sending your songs out or did one of their people find your song on their own?
RC: As far as I know my publishers pitched it and MTV chose it!
MM: Have you had placements on any other TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
RC: Not that I know of, yet!
At the end of our interviews we always ask some random questions. Here are yours:
MM: What countries are you most popular in?
RC: The USA and UK.
MM: Do you prefer cities or the country?
RC: I love cities.
MM: Was anyone in your family a musician?
RC: No, my interest in music was totally out the blue although my dad is a massive music lover.
MM: Do you ever do karaoke? If so, what were the last few songs you did?
Ain’t Nobody – Chaka Khan is my go to karaoke number if I’m drunk enough!
MM: Name three artists from your parents’ record collection who you actually like.
MM: What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you?
RC: Take the rough with the smooth and keep going. A lot of people have said that to me over the years and I always remember. This industry is hard but if you push through the tough times it is always worth it on the other side.
MM: Do you have any pets? If so, tell us what they are and what their names are.
RC: I’m allergic to most animals so I don’t have any but I have had a hamster and goldfish when I was younger.
MM: Are you a big fan of texting? If so, how many times a day do you typically text?
RC: I text quite a bit but I much prefer a catch up on the phone. Texting is too common and impersonal these days, I use it as an instant way of communicating if I can’t get to the phone.
Extra special thanks to Rebecca for taking the time to do this interview! Thanks also to Lauren Verge for arranging it!