Interview with Lisa Redford

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Here is the fourth in our ‘Wednesday Interview’ series and this week we feature the brilliant singer songwriter Lisa Redford. She has become a regular feature on the site since we began and we were delighted when she agreed to have a chat with us last week.

Hi Lisa, We’ve featured many artists on Belles and Gals since we started a couple of months ago, but you gave us perhaps the hardest challenge of all, as picking just one of your songs was an incredibly tough ask. We eventually plumped for ‘New York Song’, a beautiful song with a video to match. Tell us about the song.

Thank you so much for the kind words! ‘New York Song’ is from my third album ‘Clouds with Silver’ which was recorded in New York City where I’ve also been based. It was a memorable recording session as I managed to get some amazing US musicians to play on the song including violinist Claudia Chopek who has worked with the likes of Ryan Adams. It’s a really special song to me and like so many of my songs, all about a personal situation, the feelings I had when I moved there and was facing a new chapter in my life. I filmed the video in midtown Manhattan and later edited it myself and am really proud of it. It’s definitely been a fan favourite.

We were lucky enough to hear a preview of your new EP ‘Another Place and Time’ and although early in the year, we have this tagged as an early contender for our EP of the year. The opening track is the stunning ‘Music and the Mountains’. Talk us through this song and tell us all about the EP.

Thank you so much! I am so happy with the reaction it has already had! It’s also received lots of airplay on various country and Americana shows, including Bob Harris’s Radio 2 show this weekend, which means so much to me. ‘Music and the Mountains’ is a song I’ve been performing awhile and actually has a little story behind it. A friend of mine was going out with a mountaineer and she thought it was going well. He then broke up with her saying he loved her but loved mountains more! It got me thinking about being in a relationship with someone who has a passion, whether it be mountain climbing or music! and you are always going to be in second place.

How exciting is it to have a new release and then take the songs on the road?

It’s really exciting to have a new release out and to get to share new songs with my supporters. It’s especially nice to have got a CD printed too as some releases have been digital releases only. The artwork looks lovely thanks to my talented photographer friend Claudia Taveira and designer Nigel Harris. It’s a lot of work, particularly as I did all the organising and am involved with every part of the process, but it’s so rewarding to have and I look forward to performing the songs live. I’ll also be selling some limited edition signed copies via the store at my website and at BandCamp.

Your first studio album was released in 2003 and here you are with new material in 2016. Would you say that your music or sound has changed in the last decade or so? And what keeps you so motivated?

Some of my material has been more acoustic, particularly my first album ‘Slipstream’ which was mostly acoustic based, more a singer/songwriter style with also three piano songs. There has been an Americana sound and influence running through all my releases through and I’ve always written melodic heartfelt songs.
It can be hard being an independent artist but having support from someone as respected as Bob Harris, as well as some great press, really makes me feel spurred on to keep working hard and I’m so passionate about music and writing.
Also having support, particularly from my loyal fans, really keeps me going and social media now provides a instant way of interacting directly with fans. People are often discovering songs from my back catalogue whether they come across a video on YouTube or a song on SoundCloud.

It’s not difficult to find plaudits for your music, but one particularly caught our eye. Bob Harris has described you as ‘one of our finest singer/songwriters’. That must have felt good?

Yes, it’s certainly been a career highlight having Bob’s support! He has played all of my releases, first playing ‘Be Around’ a ballad from my debut album ‘Slipstream’ and he also featured my song ‘Dragonfly’ on a Best of British Special. I’ve also recorded two live sessions for his Radio 2 show and done an Under the Apple Tree Session.

We first came across you when you posted a ‘Neal Casal’ cover on Twitter and it has to be said, it certainly grabbed our attention. You’ve said that he is a big influence on your career. Who else would you say has influenced your music?

Yes, he has been a major inspiration to me. I adore his song writing and he was one of the first artists to really turn me onto Americana music. Other artists who have inspired me include great songwriters like Josh Rouse, Ryan Adams, Hem, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Carole King, Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, James Taylor and First Aid Kit. Kacey Musgraves is wonderful too and I’ve recently done a ukulele cover of ‘Late to the Party’.

I always find songwriting fascinating. Do you have a particular approach to penning a new song?

Me too! I’m absolutely fascinated by songwriting and have written about the process and various techniques in my column at Songwriting Magazine. I don’t have one particular approach but often I will play a few chords on the guitar and sing along until I find a melody that I really like. Sometimes a phrase or title will inspire me. One of my songs ‘Never Was a Yesterday’ arose from that phrase which I heard and then it was really easy to write.

And what made you first pick up a guitar and sing in the first place?

I’ve always loved music from such a young age and my parents are huge music fans with very eclectic taste. Dad is a big Neil Young fan so his music was always playing when I was growing up. I picked up the guitar at University and that was it! have loved playing it ever since and now I also teach guitar. It’s really rewarding when students love the guitar as much as I do!

As well as your music career, you also write for a number of publications about music and are also a vocal coach too. How do you fit it all in? We also hear there is some pretty exciting news when it comes to your vocal coaching?

I’m passionate about music so being able to have other creative outlets is great. I certainly keep very busy! I love writing about music and also sharing the writing and performing skills I’ve gained with my students. Yes there’s some very exciting news regarding my teaching. One of my vocal students called Breeze Redwine, who is an incredibly gifted singer, is releasing a single April 1st, this Friday, and it’s a song I’ve written! I’m really proud of her and the song ‘Courage’ is an anthemic track with a universal theme. A video will be online from Friday and I will be sharing it on my social media.

Here’s the fun question! Everybody has a slightly embarrassing first album or single that they purchased. What is yours?

Oh goodness! I remember getting ‘I like to move it, move it’ and a few other cheesy 90’s dance tracks!

Who do you listen to when at home?

A varied mix of stuff, often depending on how I’m feeling. As well as acoustic, country, Americana, singer/songwriter, I’m a big fan of indie and electronic music and I’ve even had some of my songs remixed which is always fun to hear. A few of them are on my SoundCloud.

So what can we expect from Lisa Redford in the coming weeks and in the rest of 2016?

Hopefully getting some good shows and festivals, doing radio sessions and more interviews. I’m so pleased with the response to the EP already and it’s not even out yet. I really appreciate all the support from you guys at Belles and Gals, thank you so much!

Interiew conducted by Nick Cantwell

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