Liv Dawson is entering the music scene with its fair share of young singer-songwriters playing her oeuvre – few quite have the same sound and talent as her. She is a young woman whose unique and soulful voice gets into the heart; a lovable and honest personality that soothes the soul and compels – one of those artists who will be a big name very soon. Still (her latest single) showed just what she was capable of – one of those songs that sticks in the mind and takes you somewhere else. With an album and impressive gigs ahead: The Metropolist was able to catch up with Dawson and have a chat.
The Metropolist: How did you first get into music? Was it something you were passionate about as a youngster?
Liv Dawson: I’ve always been into music, but I started singing at about 7-years-old. I used to sing along to the film Dreamgirls and one time my parents just noticed I could sing so started supporting me from then on, taking me to singing lessons and helping me start my journey.
TM: Still (your new single) has just been released and picking up a lot of great feedback. What inspired the song and are you surprised by the reaction it has received?
LD: The song is about when someone, who has been part of your life for a long time, leaves, yet everything else remains the same – ‘still’ fitting in its place and the feeling of loss it can exaggerate. To me, it’s always a surprise to see the nice reaction, yes! I’ve had a lot of lovely comments from amazing people and it’s so nice to see that people can relate to the song in their own way.
TM: Still pieces together hip-hop-flavoured beats, pop sensibilities, and soul. It seems like you have a wide range of influences and styles. Is it important for you, songs like Still, possess that variation and mix of genres?
LD: Yes definitely, I love to show variety in my songs. I have quite a broad taste in music and always enjoy trying to blend various elements together so it’s nice that that comes across in my songs. It just feels right to keep things different: it keeps me happy and interested in what I’m making.
TM: Singers like yourself and Billie Marten (also a teenager) are being tipped at the moment. Do you think there is a lot of pressure on young artists and how do you cope with that?
LD: I think there is a bit of pressure because we have to keep up with the more experienced artists: I also think it’s an advantage because we’ve still got so much to learn so we’re not afraid to jump in with two feet. I cope with it by reassuring myself that I am only young and if I make mistakes I always have time on my side. It would be boring to think I’m at my best already.
TM: Tapestry, your previous single, is still gaining a lot of reviews and kudos. How would you say you have developed between Tapestry and Still? Were both songs written around the same time?
LD: Tapestry was written about a year ago and Still was rather recent. So I’ve developed a lot between the two song – that’s why they are different: Because I’ve had time to play around with different sounds.
TM: Some people criticise current mainstream artists for being a bit formulaic and predictable. Do you think too much criticism gets levied at new musicians and what is your general view on the state of today’s music?
LD: I absolutely love today’s music. Obviously, it’s different to what’s been in the charts a few years back, but I think there’s lots of good music at the moment with more genres blending together. I’m loving Justin Bieber’s new songs! I think it’s easier to see the criticism on young artists these days because everyone is more exposed with social media – but we’re all learning so I try not to focus on it.
TM: Who are the singers, either current or past, that have been particularly important with regards your development?
LD: Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse; James Blake, and Beyoncé have definitely all played a part in my growth as an artist for a long time – they’re all big influences for me in making music.
TM: You are based in London. Does the city and the rush help your creative process and in what ways does London and its people feed into your music?
LD: I’m constantly in London, but I live just on the outskirts. There is so much inspiration and everywhere is buzzing all the time so there’s always positive energy for me to take into the studio. But I also have the comfort of going home and having space to imagine.
TM: When it comes to your creative process: Do you get into a particular mindset or set time aside to write? How do the songs come together for you?
LD: I always try to go into the studio with an open mind. It’s different every time. Sometimes a song starts with the lyrics for me and sometimes with the melody. I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing people like Jimmy Napes and Disclosure and it’s great to have their input and bounce ideas off each other.
TM: You have just turned 18; released a single and (from social media posts) in the studio with Guy from Disclosure. Can you tell us whether a new album is coming or what do the next few months hold for you?
LD: I will be releasing new music! Some more singles will be out soon, and hopefully an album! Will have to keep your eyes peeled!
TM: Have you any advice for young artists coming through that will be inspired to follow in your footsteps?
LD: Advice for young artists: Always do you, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.