Rising folk star Hattie Briggs is gearing up to release her new album Young Runaway next month.
The follow up to her debut album Red & Gold, expectations are high. The Gloucestershire based singer-songwriter was nominated for BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2014 and she quit Oxford University in the 2nd year of her Russian degree to concentrate on her musical career in January 2014.
I caught up with Hattie to find out all about Young Runaway, talk about the pressure of following up her acclaimed debut, and to discuss what she’s like in the studio.
Hi Hattie. How are you today and where does this Q&A find you?
Very good thanks. I’m at home and I took the weekend off, which is unusual for me so feeling very chilled.
Your new album Young Runaway is coming out soon. What’s it all about?
It’s about lots of different things, but the main themes are; my decision to quit University and do music full time, taking risks, water, the beauty of nature, my love of the summer, travelling the world, childhood, and my hopes for the future.
You had a lot of success with your debut album Red & Gold. What kind of pressure did that put on you when you were working on your new album?
I didn’t really feel the pressure to be honest as I didn’t even know when I was writing that it would be for a second album. I went through a really prolific phase and suddenly realised that I had enough material to make a second record and that the time was right. I’d learned so much about the recording process the first time round that everything was easier with “Young Runaway” than I expected.
What’s your favourite song on the record and why?
It’s very difficult to choose – I go through stages of having favourites. At the moment it is Summertime Man as it reflects my summery state of mind even though we haven’t seen much sun yet this year.
What are you like in the studio? Can you give us a little insight into how you put a song together?
I’m pretty chilled in general, and I try as much as possible to be the same way in the studio and to put other people at ease. People work their best if they feel they’re not under pressure, so I try to keep the relaxed and enthusiastic vibe going. Making copious amounts of tea, coffee and smoothie also help things to run smoothly. All my songs are fully written before we go into the studio, but we do a thing called “pre-production” before, which is getting all the musicians together with my producer and I, and talking about how we want the song to sound before working on the arrangements together. If everybody knows their parts before we go in, we save a lot of time and money in the studio.
You play a variety of instruments. Which is your favourite one to play and why?
I don’t have a favourite. I like the variety as it keeps things interesting and helps me to experiment with new and different ideas/styles when songwriting.
You were studying Russian when you decided to pursue a music career. What reservations did you have about leaving your studies behind?
I didn’t have any, and I don’t have any regrets now – it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What advice would you give to other musicians that would like to follow in your footsteps?
You need to love doing it and be willing to put in the hard work. Talent doesn’t get you that far in this business, grit and determination are much more important.
When can your fans see you playing live over the summer?
I’m playing festivals all through July and they are all listed on http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs.
What else do you have coming up this year?
I’m heading to the States for 2 months from mid September – can’t wait!
Hattie’s new album Young Runaway will be released on 8th July 2016. Watch a live video for On Your Way below: