|13 Oct 2022
|Emerging Talent Award recipient
Whether it's live performance or streaming, the music industry is not known for being particularly generous when it comes to new, independent artists, so it was immensely useful to have the support of the Emerging Talent award this year, to help with the costs of my next EP “Goodbye, Then!”, a 6-track mini album that will be released on November 28th.
Releasing an album independently is quite the undertaking in 2022, and if you want to, it could cost you a small fortune. There is no end to the content you could make to visually enrich the product or simply promote it, and there are small armies of radio pluggers, PR people, social media consultants that you could theoretically put to work to try and get your music in front of as many people as possible - though, there are no real guarantees.
For me, the most important use of money was making the product - so the actual music - as professional and glossy as possible. So after writing and co-producing all the tracks over the last two years and however many lockdowns in collaboration with my two musician pals Leo Wyatt (who - fun fact - went to Hampton and I actually met on the C6 around 15 years ago!) and Jonjo Keefe, my manager and I decided it would make sense to get it mixed and mastered by the best in the business. For those who don’t know - and unless you are a musician or work in music, why would you... - mixing is basically making sure all the sounds in the song have their own space and gel together as best possible and mastering is that extra punch and polish so your tracks are radio and streaming service ready.
I ended up putting the funds from the Emerging Talent fund into the mastering of the EP. This was done by an up and coming mastering engineer called Cicely Balston at AIR Studios. She’s incredibly talented and it also felt good using this money to support a woman in what is an outrageously male-dominated part of the industry. The figures aren’t great wherever you look in music, but the recording world is particularly bad.
This EP is really important to me as an artist - it’s my dreaded “second album” moment - where I’ve had my fun with my debut and I’ve now got to follow it up. I’ve also recently made the decision to quit my full-time job as a journalist with Monocle magazine and Monocle 24 to go freelance to make more time for music, so I’m really hoping it’s going to be a bit of a step up and open some doors for me, whether that be as an artist and live performer, or as a songwriter or feature vocalist, otherwise I really will be living at home with mum and dad forever.
The 6 tracks of “Goodbye, Then!” chronicle the breakdown of a relationship and the messy process of getting to the other side, but I think at their core, the songs are about letting go. Letting go of people who don’t serve your needs, of your own projections of romance and parting with that part of yourself that wants to hold on no matter what. It’s essentially about growing up and - in the least Brexiteer-y way possible - about taking back control. I also watched far too many horror films for my own good to help pierce the endless, searing boredom of the pandemic so the accompanying visuals - cover art and videos - reflect that.
Two tracks of the EP have already come out - “Melt” and “4x4” - and I’ve been lucky to have some great reviews from Wonderland magazine, CLASH and Line of Best Fit. My manager also tells me there’s some prominent radio DJ in Germany that’s a big fan so I’m plotting my 2023 move to Berlin as we speak.
Next up, I’ve got my first big headline show in two years on November 10th at The Lexington which I would love to see any former (or current!) Lehers down at - it’s going to be a whole lot of fun and I’ll have some special guests with me too. The full EP, “Goodbye, Then!” comes out on November 28th and from Nov 24th - December 4th I have spent the last of my budget for this project on a billboard in Dalston with my face on it, so if you’re on the corner of Stoke Newington Road and Shacklewell Lane at some point in that period, keep your eyes peeled for my probably quite large face.
Ultimately, I’m super excited to just keep working hard (including making endless TikToks) and to see how far I can push this project (even though sometimes/often it feels like a totally insane career path) and I’m super thankful that LEH - a school where I have so many fond musical memories - could support me in doing this.