Bebe Black: Sometimes people find it easy to chuck you in the box of British singing female
Weymouth chanteuse, Bebe Black, may have started off making jazz and blues but in recent times has turned her vocal attentions to more electronic material. Here, we spoke to discuss working with Benga, MySpace nostalgia and comparisons to some well-known songstresses.
Is it true that you started off making bluegrass?
Yeah, I was in a duo and we used to do jazz, blues and rockabilly style tracks. It was kind of by chance where I moved back from London to Weymouth and bumped into a friend of a friend on the train and was saying their dad had a shed in the back garden with a little radio station. We went there and recorded a couple of tracks in the shed and it all just went from there I guess.
What made you make the switch to what you’re doing?
We were writing all the time, me and this guy. Just song after song after song really and it was really tongue-in-cheek and brusque. People liked that stuff but after a while I started writing songs that were a bit darker and was writing songs about sex and things like that. I thought I’d do that as more of a side project and then recorded them, stuck them on MySpace and it went from there.
The old school MySpace days.
Yeah, nobody uses it any more do they? I don’t even think I can get on to mine, I’m blocked out of it.
Do you see yourself as more of a club person or do you like to just chill out with a night in?
I’d say a bit of both. I definitely used to be a big club person but lately I’m so wrapped up in making the album that I find it quite boring. I lived in Camden for a bit and it’s not a club culture at all, it’s more bars. So I got sucked into that for a while and didn’t really go out for a while. I think I’ve been to Fabric once. So I’m more of a chilled person at the moment.
So how did you get in touch with Benga?
Through Mike Pickering, my A&R. Me and Benga are both signed to Columbia and I got sent the track and at first I didn’t really know what was going on with it, but then I wrote the lyrics and sent the version to him and he liked it.
Do you ever see yourself dipping into the bass music scene again?
I’d love to. I love the whole UK bass thing and would love to do more. I think the track that we did made quite a big divide because it was more of a pop track, so I love working with him and he’s a great person. I love working with producers and DJs though, it’s all really exciting.
There’ve been comparisons to Florence and Adele. That must be pretty flattering, right?
Yeah, I love the both of them so to be compared to them is a massive compliment. At the same time, you do have that thing where you want people to see that you’re putting your own mark on things. I just hope that people will not just stick me in that box because to be honest I think that we’re different from each other and sometimes people find it easy to chuck you in the box of British singing female instead of taking the time to listen and see that the tracks are different. There’s definitely more of an electronic element to my music. In certain tracks, there is a dance element and I think that’s a sub-conscious thing from working with Mike Pickering working it’s way in there. At the same time, I’m using organic percussion so just combining both elements.
You briefly touched on the album. How are things developing with that?
We’re hoping to release it early next year and I think we’re very nearly there. The first single is coming out in autumn, we hope, so we’re working on that. We don’t really want to say dates as things so often change but we’re chugging away at that.
What about on the live side of things?
I was touring with Plan B and that was really good. Got a few things coming up but not too sure what I’m allowed to mention or not. Playing at a couple of small bars and playing around the London circuit which should be really exciting stuff.
Bebe Black’s ‘Black Lion Sessions EP’ is available for free download from here. Her debut album on Columbia is due in 2013.Tagged in: Bebe Black, Benga, bluegrass, music, Plan B
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