Story: Jack Foley
IT'S been a long and curious journey, but Peppercorn looks as
though she has finally arrived.
A unique black female artist with the aura of a goddess that
challenges our perceptions, the talented British singer/songwriter
was originally brought up in the Western Sahara (near Casablanca),
before arriving in London to pen music which crosses cultural
boundaries, by combining raw soul with gutsy folk rock and witty
doses of the spoken word.
In fact, Peppercorn developed an early love of music, playing
guitar from the age of 12, and writing her own songs. She took
inspiration from the likes of Bob Marley and Diana Ross.
Of Marley, she states: "He taught me that a black person
can come from the ghetto, and cross over internationally without
watering himself down."
After leaving school, she did everything from fronting indie
rock bands to singing R 'n' B and making demo after demo, eventually
winding up in New York, in the late Nineties, where she came upon
her own, distinctive musical style.
"I'd done a lot of changing my tune, literally, for A&R
people. The I realised that musically, you can be as free as you
let yourself. If you believe in yourself for long enough, someone
will cotton on," she states on her website (link opposite).
Curiously, Peppercorn looked all set to break into the musical
spotlight in 2001, when every national broadcaster had play-listed
her, and virtually every national paper, magazine and TV station
was poised to hail her as the new diva of British pop-rock.
But nothing happened. Peppercorn had apparently disappeared from
trace. A few albums were hastily shipped, but Peppercorn had done
a runner, due to the fact that there was no room for record company
politics in her life.
Now, though, having properly completed her debut album, Barefoot,
and with a single and video complete, the Peppercorn hype machine
is in full swing once more, backed by a supporting tour alongside
the likes of Ronan Keating and Darius (oh dear!).
The man behind the relaunch is Alki David, of Full On Entertainment,
who excitedly predicts that 'it's not everyday that we come across
a fantastic new artist who defies convention'.
Hence, aside from those support slots (presumably aimed at getting
her a huge pop following, but she is so much more), Peppercorn
will also be promoting her album with her acoustic band, from
Paris - brothers Serraine and Idir Brouk.
Following the tours, Peppercorn will release her single, Hyperventilating,
and embark on a tour of her own, while the video to accompany
the single will be on rotation on the Box.
In what is proving to be a prolific period for the artist, Peppercorn
is also composing original music for the soundtrack to 'A Different
Loyalty', a passionate and gripping thriller, starring Sharon
Stone and Rupert Everett.
Currently in production in Canada, Malta and London, the film
is directed by Marek Kinievska and is the sequel to Another Country.
Peppercorn's long-awaited album, Barefoot, is described in the
PR material as 'a cultural melting pot drawing on Peppercorn's
outlook on life throughout her colourful up bringing and relationships',
while the worldly wit in her songs could be compared to 'the humour
of Candace Bushnell and the social-political references to the
consciousness of Zadie Smith'.
It has already proved a hit with music journos (including myself
- see review link, right), with The Times urging 'fans of feisty
female singer/songwriters to check out Peppercorn', and Music
Week stating that Barefoot 'is an accomplished debut, which is
neatly followed by the catchy forthcoming single Hyperventilating'.