Interview with Ceri-Rose

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Hi Ceri-Rose! We first came across your music because of a recommendation on Twitter and we were mightily impressed with your EP ‘Highway of Dreams’. Tell us all about the EP!

Hi there, and thanks so much for featuring me on your website – It’s a real honour to be included with all of the other incredible female country artists on here!
Highway of Dreams is really a quite personal account of my journey over the past couple of years in both life and love!
I’m a very honest song-writer and the lyrics mean a lot to me – I’ve always got some poor victim in mind, even if they don’t know about it! When it came to choosing which songs to record I had a lot of tough decisions to make and in the end I chose the four that gained the biggest response from gigging in and around London, and from playing them to friends and family. (I’m the worst decision maker when it comes to these things and my favourite song differs from day to day!!). One of the most important things to me was that the EP had a journey to it and there was something clear that differentiated each song to all of the others. A lot of people have commented how different all of the songs are in a really positive way, and it is so amazing to get such a great response from people who don’t even know me! I did worry I was taking a huge risk in mixing things up a little, but it really paid off and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

We understand the EP came about due to a Pledgemusic campaign. It must have been pretty satisfying to know that a bunch of people came together and responded to the campaign to help make it happen?

In one word – Yes! I’ve never been so humbled by the blind generosity and belief that everyone had in me in my whole life! It took a lot of hard work to get the word out there and keep the momentum going during the month that I had the Pledge Campaign, but it all really paid off. I could never have made this EP without the support I gained throughout the process. It was incredible to see that people I’d never met from all over the world were getting behind me – from America to Europe and even Australia!
I’ve had e-mails and letters saying how glad they were that they pledged for me and how much they enjoyed the EP – that sort of contact means more than anything to me, especially from the fans that I’ve never met!

For somebody who has never listened to you before, how you would you describe your sound?

Well, I have an incredibly eclectic taste in music which is most definitely reflected in my songwriting! I’d describe my sound as New Country or Country Pop with a few rocky undertones here and there – I’m mainly talking about You Should’a Stayed with that one!
For me country has always embraced the importance of songwriting and lyrics. It has a real heart to it which is what made me fall in love with it in the first place. Every one of my songs takes its own journey, and I always want to do what serves or expresses the emotion and lyrics that I’m working with in the best way!

You have a range of great covers on your YouTube page. The majority of the videos feature you and your Ukulele. What is it about the Ukulele that you love so much?

Oh the Uke! Isn’t it just so cute? That’s what I love about it!… That and it creates such a happy sound!
Also, it’s so easy to just noodle around on and experiment with! I remember after I’d written Not The One For Me and sent it to my guitarist Ross (Or as he’s more commonly known on stage “Randy Love” – but that’s another story!). I told him to have a play around with some lead riffs, but that I’d made up some chords and so he’d just have to have a play around and find the nearest thing. Well, apparently it turns out that I’d just used a lot of diminished 7ths and minor 5ths or something. I definitely didn’t know I’d done that, or quite how I did, but apparently through blind experimentation I now know a lot more Uke chords than I realised!
I also love the fact that I can take it with me all over the world and it counts as hand luggage. I’m quite often over in the States and I always carry it onto that plane like my little baby!

How do you approach your songwriting? Do you come up with an idea for a song and then build it? Or do you find a melody or a particular lyric first? I always find this intriguing.

You know, it always changes for me. I make a lot (and I mean A LOT!!) of voice notes on my phone. Melodies or lyrics come to me when i’m walking or running and it’s so useful and important to get them down, because as soon as they’re in your head they can just as easily disappear – and then you kick yourself for not taking two seconds to just put the thoughts down and save them for later!
Last month my phone died on me and it still won’t turn on…I’m so sad!!! I can’t tell you how many voice notes are on there but it’s well over 100 and I’m really hoping I can find someone to recover the files soon! Photos and contacts are all pretty available to get back from Facebook and Instagram now (the good ones anyways!) but my voice notes are something that I really don’t want to lose. That experience has made me back them up on a weekly basis now!
Another way I write is to just have a play around on my uke, guitar or piano and come up with a chord progression or melody that speaks to me and figure out the lyrics after the fact or wait for some inspiration that suits the mood of the accompaniment.

What made you pick up a guitar (or Ukulele!) in the first place?

My parents gave it to me as a Christmas present! So simple, but I’m so so glad they did! It really sparked something within me and now it’s become a huge part of who I am as a musician and performer.

And would you say that any particular musicians are an influence on your career?

Oh yes, I really like The Dixie Chicks and Zac Brown – They are both a huge influence to me in demonstrating how you can merge genres whilst staying true to your roots. They are also incredible examples of the importance of writing honest lyrics that are true to your heart, whilst also having a hugely fun element to your music which is something I embrace and just love – You really can’t take yourself too seriously and it’s very important to me to celebrate that fun loving side of life!
Taylor Swift is also an incredible demonstration of how hard work, perseverance, belief in yourself and good songwriting can get you places! She can also write a damn good tune! Another great influence is Kacey Musgraves – a songwriting genius in my opinion!

And what music is on your phone right now?

I was listening to a lot of Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood last week, and I also just downloaded Runaway Angel’s debut album No End In Sight which is just brilliant! The new FGL song H.O.L.Y. is also on my playlist right now.

Tell us something completely random about yourself!

I was born with dislocated hips! 😲

If you could play any venue, which would it be?

Oh geez, that’s so hard!! I’d love to play Shepherd’s Bush Empire as a modest choice, but I think the O2 has to be at the top of my wish list as a life goal! That or maybe Glastonbury or Hyde Park!… I told you i’m not good at choices like this!

To finish, tell us what the coming weeks and the rest of 2016 has in store for Ceri-Rose?

I’m currently doing a lot of writing for EP number two and have a few gigs in London and Guildford lined up for June/July. There is a bigger event potentially in the pipeline but my lips are currently sealed on that one – Sorry! Keep your eyes and ears on my Twitter and Facebook pages for more info and updates!

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