Interview: Five Minutes with Becky Bowe

R&B and Soulful singer Becky Bowe has just released break-up song ‘Don’t Darken My Door’, ahead of her upcoming EP release this summer 2020. Her vocals sits close to that of acclaimed singers Adele, Alicia Keys, and Emily King. Becky has made regular television appearances and is the winner of the BBC Pitch Battle 2017. Before the win, the singer was a backing vocalist for BBC shows This Is My Song and The Choir. Now at 23, Becky Bowe has already shared the stage with multiple established musicians and celebrities. We discuss Becky’s new music in our exclusive interview with the singer. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

It is and will only be the one thing I’m actually OK at! In education, it was the only thing I truly felt I was destined to do. I felt like I could be my complete self and express the feelings I wanted to express. Plus I was just incapable of staying focused on any other subject other than the arts.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

A bit of both…A lot of the time it’s the melody and the lyric just follows quite quickly after. However with ‘Don’t Darken My Door’, I started with that lyric and moulded a sound around it, which I’ve never done before.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I co-wrote ‘Don’t Darken My Door’ with Aidan, who is the producer on the single. It was great being able to bounce off someone while writing. I came in with the lyrics and melody idea and we went from there. I also have one other singer who’s very faintly in the background called Akin Amusan, who is a very good friend of mine and his voice is just like butter. We sang the backing vocals together on the track. The song would have been nothing without his voice and ideas.

What’s on your current playlist?

PJ Morton, Lauryn Hill, LOVE listening to Lizzo, JoJo.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It’s just a good laugh. I’m a Yorkshire girl so love to talk and talk and talk…I’m very open about my life and love to share stories with everyone, and just almost have a chinwag with everyone on stage. I like to make it as personal as possible. It’s important for me to have a relationship that everyone is more of a friend!

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Vocally, I use twang which helps with the shaping of words and creates a sharper sound, which really helps develop my original sound in that ‘soul’ sort of vibe. Another main technique I use a lot is emotion through singing. Something I realized is that because I’m writing songs from personal experiences I could access the right emotion to translate to the audience, and this became something that really helped push me to an original sound.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I get to the studio normally around 10 am, I have one cup of tea before I do ANTYHING (Yorkshire tea of course) and if I’m recording any vocals I will warm up, and head into the booth, and sing for as long as possible until I need another cup of tea. When we were writing in the studio I would come in with new ideas each week and we would just build them up…Some songs were already fully written previously but the studio really gets my creative juices flowing, and gives me new ideas try.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I remember writing one of my first songs called ‘Notice Me’. I wrote the full thing and played it on the piano and sung it all the time. Looking back it really wasn’t a great song, but it was catchy and I remember singing it to my parents and they just couldn’t stop singing it…and they actually quite liked it! That for me was a turning point.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Just some water but I rarely have anything else nearby as I’m quite clumsy, so it would most likely get tipped over, so I have some water in a bottle and that’s it!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Sam Fischer and Hollyn are doing great things!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

A cup of tea…but also I like to write down what’s happened in my day or week before I start songwriting because ideas can be created out of anything, as I normally write from personal experiences as I find it easier. Going for walks and reflecting is another thing that also helps.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I normally write on my Bentley Piano (which was my Nana’s piano) as the sound just resonates with me, but also sometimes on my Roland Keyboard if I’m wanting to try out some different sounds. I use Logic Pro X a lot of the time to bring ideas together, but sometimes I just use my iPhone to record ideas on, as I don’t always have a lot of time to put things together in Logic.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I run a Community Choir in the week that I get to arrange and direct for. I started the choir just to give myself a bit of freedom in music so I could arrange the songs I loved, and bring together lots of people from different backgrounds to sing together and just have fun. I’m also doing as much TV work as possible alongside some BV work for artists, I love being able to help other people’s projects.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

100%. There is still so much for me to learn, but I’ve really taught myself to understand what music I want to put out into the world. I write as many songs as possible and a handful is not too great, but some have the style and vibe. I want so I just go with it and add in as much as myself into them.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

Lots of new music! The first half of this year is just going to be full of new songs and I’m so excited for everyone to listen, as I only did a single a year previously, but now I’ve got five songs being released altogether and I couldn’t be more excited.

Famous last words?

My EP that is set to come out is about growth. Every song shows a different type of growth and moving on. ‘Don’t Darken My Door’ is the first single to represent what’s coming…this song is for anyone and everyone. I wanted to make it as general as possible, as everyone has different experiences when breaking up with someone, so I just want people to be able to relate.

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