Coachella 2014 seemed like a monumental and pivotal moment for you – how did it feel?
I had played Coachella previously a few years back, but it was amazing to take stage again. I played two weekends at the festival and it was all about pink! I dyed my hair bright pink and my lighting gal Paula and I made loads of strange pink sculptures for the stage set. The audience was incredible and it felt awesome.
It felt like all the hard work that I’ve done over the past two years built up to this exciting moment where I felt a real change. It’s difficult to explain, but I just felt a shift. I felt like the next phase of my life was being ushered in. Since Coachella I have been working on a lot of new material.
Speaking of Coachella – you left and never came back! why have you switched up London for LA?
Don’t worry, I will be back! I’m working on a few projects here at the moment, doing some touring, playing more festivals, writing new music…so it just makes sense for me to set up shop in LA for a while.
‘Girl Talk’ definitely has similarities to the sounds of Bikini Kill, Hole et al – do you feel being in America lends itself to your creative process/style now that you err on the side of Punk and grunge?
Definitely. I’ve just launched a new song and video called ‘She Rules’ and it has California-esque low-fi grunge tones and the video has lots of nods to Americana. While I totally miss my family and friends in London, I have a little LA family, and feel very creative here. In general, America has been a supportive, inviting place over the last two years, both career-wise and emotionally.
Can you tell us about the Broadway musical you’ve been working on?
‘Only Gold’ is based around my first three albums, ‘Made Of Bricks’, ‘My Best Friend Is You’ and ‘Girl Talk’. Tony Award-winning, Andy Blankenbuehler is directing it. The story is really interesting and is about a maharajah in Paris in the twenties making the choice between love and superficial things.
Aside from the obvious, like friends and family, what do you miss most about London?
I miss Fluffy, my bunny and sometimes the rain, believe it or not.
New pink hair, new home, new single ‘She Rules ‘ – are we seeing the signs of the end of ‘Girl Talk’ and a transition into something new – can fans expect a new album?
I am writing some new music and recently signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell. Keep an eye on my website and social media for details.
Tell us about ‘She Rules’ – was it an off the cuff, rushed moment of excitement/recording like ‘Under-Estimate the Girl’?
I turned 27 at the beginning of the month and wanted to make something for my family, friends and fans. I was feeling a bit lonely and nostalgic so I wrote letters to my sisters and girlfriends back home who I couldn’t spend my birthday with, which inspired a song. ‘She Rules’ is what happened. My sisters are in it, my band mates, my dog and of course, my mum!
You recently spoke at the Freedom Writers event about the empowerment of young girls – can you tell us a bit about it and your role at the event?
I love being part of anything that empowers young people, and was happy to be a guest speaker at the event that focuses on empowering educators and young people to be positive. I made a presentation at the symposium ‘Using the music industry to fuel girls’ self confidence rather than their insecurities.’ I was super inspired by all of the amazing life stories that other people shared. Everyone was so open and brave. You should check out Erin Gruwell’s books. There was a movie made about her too called ‘Freedom Writers,’ with Hilary Swank. She believes in the kids that people usually give up on and teaches teachers alternative methods that young people can relate to.
You’re an avid tweeter – can you tell us wtf ‘mime on vine’ is and how you got involved?!
My friend Jake Chatham is this super creative awesome guy who I was friends with for like a year before I found out he was a full on, trained for years, almost went to Russia to join a troupe…mime! I was obsessed with it and would be super annoying like, “OMG do it again,” kind of kid around him and we were coming up with silly mime puns and ideas and I was like, “Holy shit! You have to start Mime on Vine.” So he did and then when I moved here he asked me to film a bunch. It’s so silly and creative. I think it’s important for every creative person to remember how fun making art is, and these days there are so many mediums and fun things you can do. You should follow @mimeonvine on Vine and Twitter! Also my friend Alyson is crazy good at Instagram and Vine, she’s @alysonlouise.
You recently turned 27, which makes it just about 10 years since you burst onto the music scene, could you pick a standout moment of the past ten years?
There have been so many standout moments, from winning a BRIT Award, to my song Foundations going platinum, to acting in films, to singing live on the catwalk at London Fashion Week, to going to Ghana with Plan USA (empowering women and girls), to standing up against hate crimes and violence – when my friend was beaten up for looking different, to travelling the world with my Girl Gang to do what I love (making music) to being brave enough to get a house for a year in LA!
Can you see yourself making albums and touring for the next ten years too?
I will always be making music in some form or another. Even when I’m a granny.
Vulture Hound loves new music – have you discovered any new bands whilst out in LA that you want to shout about?
I love Peach Kelli Pop and Katy Goodman from La Sera. I have met a lot of cool female musicians out here and it’s awesome to have a community of relatable girls. I also love The Aquadolls, D.WING, Charlie Malloy and Small Wigs!
Photos: Alice Baxley