My roots are from Scotland and Sudan. I grew up all over the world – moving every three or four years so I felt quite nomadic and only really latched on to where my parents are from.
Apparently, I first got into music when I was making so much noise as a baby my doctor said I had huge lungs and would be a singer ha. I don’t know how it started really – maybe from babysitters having MTV on for hours or something, but I’ve just sung and memorised lyrics from as far back as I can remember.
I wrote my first song at eight… An acapella unrequited-love song written at the back of the school bus, and then started writing properly after I got my first guitar at sixteen.
I don’t think my music symbolizes where I’m from, I’ve researched Scottish folk songs, and am trying to get to know more about Arabic scales, and I know that things I’ve heard come out without me even realising, but I don’t think you could listen to me and think – ‘ah! Scotland’ or Sudan really.
Before I started music I’ve done a few different things, I studied Philosophy to BA and MPhil in the UK, and then moved to Spain to teach English before starting a PhD, and there I realised that I really wanted to make music so came back and studied post-graduate Jazz at the Guildhall.
Debut Album, ‘Future’
I wrote ‘Future’ at home in London, at my mum’s in Suffolk, in soundcheck in Amsterdam, at the back of the mixing room for my last EP, and on a roadtrip up the east coast of Australia. It’s taken two long years. Three recording sessions, set months apart over a year and half, in which everything was recorded and produced with Chris and Andrew Bond, and then mixing and mastering took a further 6 months.
The inspiration was the end of something that meant a lot to me. Personally, it’s me attempting to explain myself, and be honest with myself, so I can’t make the same mistakes again. Each song stands out at different times really. I think ‘This is My Cue’ sums up the record a lot perhaps. If I could describe my music in three words it would be: Ethereal. Grunge. Stories.
How much do I enjoy playing live? Oh, I love it. It’s the best bit really. London is always super exciting because most of my family and friends can come to that one. Berlin is always so dope, and we’ve ended on a Saturday night in Paris for the last two tours and that’s always brilliant too. I think one of the best had to be a support show at London Palladium this March. It’s such an historic venue and everything was so luxurious, the sound was perfect, and it just felt really, really special to play on that stage.
I enjoy all sorts, case in point – at the moment I am addicted to Tierra Whack, Kacey Musgraves, and Khruangbin. I go and watch other bands as often as I can, which is way less than I’d like. I’ve been blown away recently by people like FARAO and Childcare. Don’t know if I could choose one, but I definitely was completely and utterly transported in a way never before watching Joanna Newsom perform a two-hour solo set at End of the Road a few years ago.
I randomly took up Trampolining a few months ago and I’ve been getting really into it. Doing flips for the first time is fun, but I’ve hurt myself countless different ways since starting. Apart from that… I’m really into swimming in lakes and rivers around London, and camping, and I’ve been getting into climbing.
When I’m on tour and not performing I mostly organise everyone…herd band members haha. But apart from that I guess we mostly eat and look round places and try local food and drink and take the piss out of each other. About halfway through we often all go mad after being surrounded by other humans in such a small space for so long and we start trying to avoid each other and exercising, and then after a day or so we get back to normal, and the cycle continues.