Cat Power When I first heard Cat Power I was eighteen and I was completely awestruck. I listened to ‘Good Woman’ over and over for about a month – I couldn’t listen to anything else. It just seems to me like, when she sings, there is so much feeling, so much sadness. Her voice just gets to me. When she performs she completely inhabits the emotion of her songs – she contorts her body and moves awkwardly and doesn’t maintain eye contact. She just lives in the songs and doesn’t sugar-coat the performance for anyone.
I really identified with that because performing never came naturally to me, and in order to be able to play songs live I have to shut my eyes and just completely feel the words I am singing, not think about the audience or how I am coming across or anything like that. I love it when you see people who look a bit weird on stage, because to me it shows that they are thinking about the song, not how they look.
Joni Mitchell When I had just got out of my nu-metal/punk rock phase as a teenager, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon became my new obsessions. Blue is one of the few albums I know word for word from start to finish, and I associate it in many ways with my teenhood because many of the songs kind of became the soundtrack to that time in my life.
Lyrically, she is just brilliant: a true storyteller. I think I wanted to be her – all the interesting people she meets and drinks wine with and falls in love with. To me, she sings about a very romanticised version of life, but then her life was probably just like that. I love how many of the songs have a sense of humour and fun intertwined with an underlying sadness. It’s bittersweet.
Bat For Lashes I am probably a little bit infatuated with Natasha Khan. When I listen to her music there seems to be this juxtaposition of wisdom and innocence that I find completely haunting, and it makes me remember what it was like to be a kid. I played imaginary games on my own for years (when I was much to old to be doing it anymore) and she is what would have soundtracked the stories I made up in my head: her music makes me remember what it is like to desperately want magic to be real, to escape into characters and places you couldn’t be or go to in real life.
I love the combination of big powerful drums with high, clear vocals, the otherworldly instrumentation, and epic moments alongside whispered words. I definitely listen to her music when I want to escape but it sometimes makes me feel sad, just because for some reason it reminds me that I’ll never be little again…