Q&A with Violet Skies

Words by Nargis Borhan.

This interview was done prior to Coronavirus lockdowns.

Being a great lyricist comes naturally to Welsh pop singer-songwriter Violet Skies. With an expertise in writing about your ex/lover, Violet Skies talks to Nargis Borhan about writing for Mabel, touring, and co-founding a series of female-only writing camps.

How are you? What have you been up to recently?
Writing songs, always, that’s pretty much my everyday. Putting out songs. Seeing a lot of my friends too, which is something I probably neglected last year.

How are you finding LA compared to Wales?
LA is a lot less green, a lot busier, but still full of lovely people (despite the stereotype of Hollywood).

For those that aren’t familiar to your music, please could you introduce yourself and the kind of music you make.
All the things you wished you could have said to an ex, or even current lover, with a lot of
piano.

Who did you grow up listening to? And your inspirations now?
Joni Mitchell, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Carol King. Now I listen to everything, pretty recently obsessed with Kevin Garrett, MUNA, Orla Gartland and Phoebe Bridgers.

I understand you’ve written songs for/with a number of artists, are there any that you wish you kept for yourself?
No! When I’m writing for others I do it with intention of giving it away usually. ‘Is She Gonna Be There’ and ‘Cry For Me’ were almost given to other people but I kept them for myself, so I’m pleased about that.

What was it like co-writing ‘God Is A Dancer’ with Mabel?
I wrote it with just one person, Josh Wilkinson in his lovely little studio last January. Mabel and Tiesto brought it to life though and I’m proud of the song and how they’ve really taken it. Excited for Mabel winning at the Brit Awards recently.

Is there anyone you would like to work with?
Joni Mitchell. Julia Michaels. David Gray. Rihanna. I’ve got very mixed tastes.

You co-founded sheWrites, an amazing series of female-only writing camps – tell us about that.
Thank you! I co-founded it with Charlie McClean and we run camps/curated sessions all over the world with the intention of giving the best of the best space to make friends, make all-female-created songs and make an impact on the charts and the award shows. We’re out here trying to change the industry and we’re not quiet about it.

Do you have any tips for songwriters?
Write every day. Be disciplined about setting aside time to write. Play music to your friends and watch them whilst they’re listening. Learn to produce.

How do you go about writing a song? Do you have a specific setup? Do you do lyrics first, then melody, etc.?
It changes every single day. I don’t often write alone so I’m usually in other people’s studios working. I like to start with chords and have a rough idea of where the concept is heading, but often I’ve walked into the room and sung something acapella and started like that. It’s not the same for me any single time!

I saw you support Léon in April 2019, since then you have released your new EP ‘I’ll Buy a House”, what is it like hearing people singing back your lyrics?
The best feeling ever. I forget my own lyrics a lot, so having people at the front singing along or even reminding me sometimes when I forget, is a surreal feeling

What’s the best part about touring?
The time on stage and touring with a great crew. A lifetime worth of memories can be made in just 10 days, which is mad really.

Have you had any crazy fan experiences?
I get people coming up more and more which is crazy to me. In LA two girls came up to me whilst I was celebrating my birthday. I was wearing a party hat and picnic blanket and so to be honest I’m shocked they recognised me dressed as a wizard.

Your next show is at The Lexington in London, what can fans expect from the show?
New songs, first time playing some songs live and lots of unplanned inbetween-songs-chat, which may be funny, might just be cringe but either way, it’ll be entertaining.

What’s the goal for 2020? What can we expect?
MORE MUSIC. I have kept my word and I keep releasing music and I don’t plan on stopping. More headline shows in new parts of the UK and hopefully some US shows. Let’s go!

You can follow Violet Skies here, and listen to her music here.

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