How does one overcome the end of the world? While most of us took to channelling our inner Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, baking so much banana bread the nation had a shortage of flour, LANI took to creating something truly magnificent. As an up and coming singer-songwriter from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, studying Songwriting at BIMM Birmingham she has been influenced by the indie sound from all corners of Digbeth. Upon the release of her debut single and EP LANI talks to Emily Cliff about creative processes, lockdown tips and all things musical.
What hooked you into the music industry, to begin with?
LANI: Well my parents are really musical people, so music has always been a real big part of our household. My Dad used to be a proper indie kid. He has always been into Oasis, Blur and The Prodigy so he is a big music fan. And that’s what I grew up on too. What really made me interested was when I was five or six I started writing little poems and singing them; they were shit, but I enjoyed it. And in year four I started to learn the sax
I bet your mum loved that!
LANI: I only took that up because of Lisa Simpson! I wanted to be Lisa Simpson so bad I just had to learn the saxophone. But eventually, I had to give it up because I knew I wanted to sing at the same time.
So when did you realise that your songs could actually go somewhere and you wanted to pursue a career out of it?
LANI: Well I got really badly bullied in secondary school. I had a lot of angst and I wrote this song, and it essentially was kind of a screw you to everyone. I moved schools in year 11 but there were just a handful people that I wanted to let know that I was pissed off. So I wrote this song about them, and it was kind of half-rapped, half-sung and the lyrics just fell out. It came from such a place of, I want these people to know where I’m going and the fact that I’m gonna remember them when I’ve made it. And it was kind of egotistical. I was only about 13 when I wrote this. And my parents, they just said, “that could be a hit.”
You have a new EP coming out haven’t you, what was the creative process for that?
LANI: Well, this EP, it’s four tracks, two coming out as singles. The first one is coming out, next week on the 5th actually and then the second one in January and the rest of the EP is coming out April next year. So I’ve got a long old run-up. Two tracks are songs that have been in my catalogue for a long time. I wrote the first single called ‘Back to Bite’ when I was 14. These four songs kind of symbolise the last five, six years of my life. They’ve all come from very different points where I was feeling different ways. It’s me showing who I am but also who I have been in a really honest way without being too pretentious.
Talking about your journey, would you say that at the moment in the current situation, has lockdown affected your creativity? Is that something that you would want to include on your journey further down the road?
LANI: Creatively, this lockdown has been great. All the songs of this EP were written before this lockdown, but the entire EP was recorded through the lockdown. I had the songs I had the chords and I was actually in lockdown with my boyfriend who is very luckily a producer and a great producer at that. He plays guitar and bass so I just thought, we’ve got so much time on our hands and I’ve wanted to do this for so long, now better than ever! For me, it has been a time to get down and focus on what is going to be great about this. Obviously, this situation sucks, major, major ass, but I like to take the positive from it, and that this is the first time in my life where I’ve had a period of time where I can just focus making it perfect whilst having total control over my creativity flow without having any other distractions or anybody else’s opinions getting in the way.
Have you got any tips for any young girls out there? Maybe young little Lani’s wanting to go and get up on stage and do gigs? What are your best tips for them?
LANI: Don’t take no shit. Honestly don’t take any shit. Don’t. There’s a lot of girls who come into this and think they have to be some sort of diva to try and get gigs and to be listened to. You don’t have to do that to be heard. All you gotta do is just be honest, unapologetically yourself and gigs will be welcome. Don’t feel like you can’t talk to people and feel like you’re bugging them, be that person that’s annoying! Be the person in people’s emails every day saying, “Hi, can I have a gig.” You have to be that little fly on the wall that is just not going to go away. And it’s the same with gigs.
If you could write one song, one big smashing hit for any artist, who would it be?
LANI: I’ve got to say P!nk. I just kept listening to her throughout the recording process, and she’s a massive inspiration. She’s just so cool and so unapologetic, I want to be her when I grow up. So I think for me writing a song for somebody like her would be a dream. Someone who just represents everything that I like to see, not just in an artist, but in a woman and somebody who doesn’t give a shit what anybody thinks about them.
Any parting words of advice?
LANI: Be good, be nice and don’t be a dick
Words: Emily Cliff