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Beth Rowley - So Sublime/Little Dreamer interview

Beth Rowley

Interview by Rob Carnevale

BETH Rowley – one of the brightest new singing stars to emerge from Britain in 2008 – releases her new single So Sublime today (May 12, 2008), ahead of her debut album, Little Dreamer on May 19.

In this exclusive interview, she talks about the single, her new album, recording with Crowded House and her hopes and aspirations for the future – as well as which moments she enjoys losing herself in the most…

Q. The new single, So Sublime, is a really great song to release at the start of spring…
Beth Rowley: Yeah, it’s definitely a poppy, bright and breezy song. But it wasn’t intentional. I wrote it with Rod Bowkett when we’d pretty much almost finished the album. But I wanted to write a song that was about capturing that sort of feeling when you’re yong and have no real issues. I was 26 last year and for the first time I started to feel things like, do I need to stop acting like this? I mean, some of my friends have got married and started to have kids and it a weird feeling. So, this is just my ode to that state of mind.

Q. And I guess the girl you refer to in the chorus is you?
Beth Rowley: Yeah, I’m asking who’s that girl? Who was she, she’s having fun… I want to have that feeling again.

Q. I’d imagine you’re having a lot of fun now, though, with the anticipation surrounding the forthcoming album…
Beth Rowley: Yeah, I’m really busy. In fact, I’m increasingly busy every day. We’ve just had the dates confirmed for my first headline tour at the end of month, so that’s exciting. We’re going to Ireland and Scotland as well. And we’ve got one in London. But there’s also been lots of interviews and stuff.

Q. How are you finding the interview process?
Beth Rowley: It’s good. I’ve never really spoken about myself quite so much in such a short space of time, but it’s fun. I try to keep finding new and fresh ways of saying things.

Q. Do you feel any pressure with the hype surrounding the album, Little Dreamer? Or is it just really nice to hear so many positive things?
Beth Rowley: It’s really nice to hear. This is my first whole album and it did take quite a while in the studio. The process was quite a long one. I put my heart and soul into it. So, you do have nerves about it finally being released. But I’m really pleased that people are excited.

Q. What were the inspirations behind it?
Beth Rowley: Well, there’s a mixture. A lot of people have picked up on this and I would totally agree that it has a lot of really old blues and a bit of blues-country. I also really love old gospel. And then there’s some pop. People might not be able to handle all of that. But that’s what happened in the studio, so we just followed what happened there.

Q. Which are your own personal favourite tracks?
Beth Rowley: I really love Almost Decided – especially live. It’s one of my favourite ones. And Sweet Hours, which I wrote with Ben Castle [son of Roy Castle].

Q. He’s been a big influence on you, hasn’t he?
Beth Rowley: Yes, I’ve known Known him for five years and we’ve continuously been working together and phoning each other, just working out what we do with the album. It’s definitely a joint project and he’s [playing] in the band as well. But he’s also got his own band and will be returning to that soon. It gets to point where I need to give him back to his band and his life [laughs]. But he’s been really helpful.

Q. How did you meet?
Beth Rowley: I met him when I was at college in Brighton and he was playing in a band with Carleen Anderson. I went to one of her gigs and met him. I’d already heard loads about him, so I was quite in awe. He’s done so much cool stuff and he’s such an incredible musician. He offered to help me experiment with different ideas and it went from there.

Q. Talking of incredible musicians, I gather you also recorded with Crowded House? What was that like?
Beth Rowley: [Laughs] We were recording at Rak Studios in north London and they were recording at the same time, so we met up and hung out. They’re really nice guys and one evening they just knocked on the studio door and said: “Do you want to come and mess around in the studio with us?” So I thought: “Yes, I might like to…”

I’d been a fan for ages and my older borther and sister were also massive fans. I played the Crowded House songbook on my guitar when I was 15. But they’re a really great bunch of guys and hanging out with them has been fun. I’ve since done some festivals with them and we’ve got a few coming up. They’ve got some forest festivals this summer and I’m supporting them.

Q. What does your family think of your success?
Beth Rowley: I think it’s been a really family project all the way. They’ve always come to what I’m doing and they’re huge music fans apart from what I do. They know everything that goes on. So, everything that happens is like a group project and they’re really pleased for me.

Q. Going back to So Sublime for a moment and its lyrics about becoming lost in a moment. Are there any personal favourite moments you’ve become lost in recently?
Beth Rowley: I guess doing the tour with David Gray recently, we played in some really amazing venues. There was a really great gig up in Scotland. It’s always the live memories, though, because they give me the opportunity to get lost in the moment, so to speak.

Q. What does the future hold? Will you be heading to America? And what can we expect from you over the coming months?
Beth Rowley: I’d really love to go America but I’m going to concentrate here first to really establish myself because I’ve spent so much time here in the UK. But I have friends in the US who are constantly saying, “please come!” So, it will happen. And then there’s the tour as well, which is the main thing for me at the moment. I have a lot of friends and musicians who will be joining me and I have quite a few surprises lined up for the shows. So, they should be fun.

Q. Any clues?
Beth Rowley: [Laughs] No, sorry, but they’ll be a lot of fun.

Read our review of So Sublime or of Little Dreamer