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Q&A: Paige Bea

Paige Bea is a London-based Singer-songwriter that crafts captivating alternative-pop tracks, with relatable and emotive lyricism. Since releasing her debut single ‘Pick Up Your Heart’ in 2017, Paige has continued to make a name for herself and has previously been championed by BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova. 

We spoke to the upcoming artist about her writing process, music and creative team.

Hi Paige, Thanks for chatting with us. How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?

Weirdly this is always the trickiest question I get asked as it’s a real mix of everything I’ve ever been interested in (which is a lot). I guess alternative pop / indie rnb / soul electronica with a bit of jazz in there for good measure.

Your debut EP ‘Burnout’ released earlier this year. Can you tell us about your writing process and how the EP came together?

It came together sort of accidentally but certainly with a pretty coherent vision and drive behind the sound. I’d been working with producer and friend Leo Wyatt (KINDER) for a while, but we got in the studio with his pal Jonjo Keefe (Park Hotel) and jazz pianist Teresa Origone (Bad Honey) everything kind of magically fell into place and within a few months, we had the EP.

Being championed by BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova must of been a great surprise?

Yeah that was mad – and we didn’t even pitch to her initially, she just found the first track somewhere amongst all the noise on a music blog. After that she premiered all the singles and even got me in for an interview. The industry can be pretty unfriendly most of the time, so it’s just nice to meet someone who champions new music with such energy and openness.

What is your earliest memory of music?

Probably in the car with my mum – she’s got a pretty eclectic taste, but always a great line-up strong women artists. We’d blurt out Phoebe Snow, Roberta Flack and Nanci Griffith – and I also remember listening to Moby, Moloko and Propellerheads really loudly. My parents weren’t really into the Beatles – it was glam rock, soul queens, country music and some 90s dance tunes on the side.

Do you have a favourite track from your EP?

I think After All is my favourite in a way because the process was quite special. I brought the song to Jonjo and Leo and didn’t really have any vision production wise, but I think what we eventually did is so simple but quite powerful. I like the lyrics in that one too – it’s not so much about the breakdown of the relationship, but what the end shows you about how that person felt about the relationship all along.

If you could tour with anyone, who would you like to tour with?

Great question. Blood Orange would do, or Sevdaliza, or Solange – James Blake is also fine.

Can you tell us about the video for ‘Pick Up Your Heart’? It must of been a fun experience shooting it in a train station..That video was so much fun – and I’m so thankful that one of my bestest friends (Rosie Marks) also happens to be an unreal filmmaker – I think it always shows when you have a great relationship with the person you’re shooting with or making a video with – you just feel relaxed enough to create whatever you want. The most surprising thing about that video was that honestly no-one cared, everyone was going about their business as usual – that’s London I guess.

Biggest musical inspirations?

Agh – horrible question. At the moment, I’m really liking Rosie Lowe – what she’s doing is very timeless – I don’t like things that sound too trendy, oh and Aldous Harding as well, she’s pushing me to think about how I use my voice as an instrument a lot more. But biggest of all time? Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, James Blake.

If you weren’t pursuing music, what do you think you would be doing career-wise?Well like many of my fellow musicians I have a full-time job too – if only people still bought music! I work in nerdy current affairs radio, producing the news, documenting the veritable collapse of British politics…

It’s fantastic to see that you have a female creative team behind you. Your current music videos have been directed by Rosie Marks and all artwork illustrations have been designed by the illustrator Anna Hardstaff.  How important is it for you to work with other female creatives?

Yeah it’s really important, women still have such limited visibility in creative fields, above all music. I put on a show last week and had 10 women on stage and 2 men – it felt damn good, and so many people told me they’d never even seen a female drummer/lead guitarist before, it’s crazy. With my own project, I think Rosie and Anna just have a deeper understanding as women of what I experience in life and maybe more importantly, how I experience sometimes relatively mundane parts of life differently. My songs are for everyone, but being a woman does give things a different edge.

Is there anything exciting coming up for Paige Bea? Any live shows?

We are on a bit of a show hiatus at the moment just writing instead. Jonjo and Leo have built a studio into a shipping container in New Cross, so we’re hiding out there creating more tunes and nursing our hangovers. Having said that August was pretty busy, played at show with Fehdah and Rachel Chinouriri and then put on a show to raise money for reproductive rights charities. I always try to slow down but…

Finally, what is the main message you want to convey with your art?

I think there’s a gap in the narrative around the millennial experience – we’re so often told what our generation is by people who aren’t a part of it. Technology, politics, shifting gender norms – things are moving faster than they ever have – and I think it alters our experience of life and the usual milestones in terms of family, love, friendship, work, and ageing aren’t the same, and no-one’s quite been able to capture that yet. So I’m trying to become a small part of the art that can reflect that.

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Q&A: Paige Bea
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