2014 was a pretty incredible year for you, what was the highlight?
I think finishing the album was definitely a highlight, knowing it was done. It was a real weight off my mind because it taken so long.
Your album came out on the 26th January, what can you tell us about it?
It’s called Unguarded; it’s a story of my growing up and coming of age. In a way it’s kind of like a series of diary entries with my thoughts, feelings and questions from the age of 17 to now, I’ve just recorded those mo- ments and put those into an album really.
What inspires your music?
I went to college in Preston to study music, art and English which meant I had a 2 hour round trip on the bus, travelling to and from Blackpool, which meant I had a lot of time to think to myself which I did need, mov- ing away from my security in a way. I met a lot of people in that time and there are normal things like falling in love for the first time, which definitely inspired the first song I wrote.
What was that like to be signed to Atlantic Records at such a young age?
I was 18 when I signed my publish- ing deal and then 19 when I signed for Atlantic and it was really natural. I’ve always been too mature for my own good and never let my hair down at that age so I always envied people who were going off to university and having fun really. Part of me wishes I went to university and studied something like art but I still had a wonderful time, I learnt a lot about myself and my parents were amazing, traveling everywhere with me and I met loads of people so it was really cool.
A lot of people know you from your connections with Bombay Bicycle Club, what was it like to tour with them?
It was amazing and what people expect of them. They’re so normal and chilled and not overly rock and roll and be something they’re not. The first tour in 2012 I was too shy to talk to Jack (Steadman) and definitely wasn’t myself but by 2014 we all knew each other really well and it was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of the evenings together just sitting around having a great time so I really appreciated the second tour with them a lot.
And how was it to come on stage at Earl’s Court for the closing gig of the venue? It was incredible to watch, I’m sure it was pretty special to perform as well?
The more I think about it, the more surreal it gets and maybe that was the highlight of 2014, actually and maybe beyond 2014. It’s something I will tell my grandchildren about one day; it was very emotional for myself and every- one else. I watched the last few songs out at the front and I was so proud of them, I was proud to be a small part in something so amazing that’s inspired and touched so many people.
How did your connections with Bombay and Lucy Rose come about?
I met Lucy at a festival in 2012 called Kendal Calling, we played on the same stage and this was my first ever festival and then Lucy got talking to my family before me which was surreal and then we stayed in touch. I went to a Bombay gig when she supported in Manchester, as a fan, and then Lucy invited me back stage to meet the band and I’ve never been so star struck in my life!
There are some really good artists coming through at the moment, so what did it mean to be nominated for the BBC Sound of 2015?
It’s been amazing; I didn’t expect it and I forgot it was happening actually. I remember when Sam (Smith) and George (Ezra) were involved last year but it completely caught me by surprise this year. But I felt very lucky to have the spotlight shining on the music and it was a great way of intro- ducing myself to a lot of new people and it’s opened up a lot of doors.
Would you say that female artists are now starting to lead the way in the music industry?
Absolutely, there are a lot of incredible musicians; no one is sticking to boundaries anymore, which is really inspiring. I find other female musi- cians really empowering by how many cool things we’re doing but I feel like you should be recognized for your music, not your gender.
Your tour starts soon; do you enjoy playing live? And what does the rest of this year hold for you?
Playing live is the one thing I feel 100% comfortable and natural with. I have the best time ever on stage and feel a rush of adrenaline you don’t get anywhere else. I’ve had offers for festi- vals which is really exciting and I can’t wait to travel with the potential of a European tour. I loved the one I did with George (Ezra) so I really want to do that again to tick places off the list