Any kind of heart­break or lone­li­ness, I turn to mu­sic

Freya Rid­ings tells KERRI-ANN ROPER about how she hopes to in­spire girls to ‘pick up in­stru­ments and write their own des­tinies’

Llanelli Star - - SOUND OUT -

WITH her pow­er­ful voice and spine-tin­gling lyrics, Freya Rid­ings has been one of the big­gest break­through mu­sic stars of the last 12 months.

Her sin­gle, Lost With­out You, was one of the stand­out re­leases of 2018.

It hov­ered around the top of the charts for weeks and, ac­cord­ing to her of­fi­cial biog­ra­phy, helped her be­come “the first fe­male artist to have a self-writ­ten top 10 hit since Kate Bush’s Run­ning Up That Hill re­turned to charts in 2012”.

“That, I think, out of all of this, is hon­estly the thing I’m most proud of be­cause for so many years it wasn’t cham­pi­oned for girls to write their own songs or play their own in­stru­ments,” says the 25-year-old of her song­writ­ing achieve­ment. “My mum and dad said, ‘You play your own in­stru­ments, you write your own songs. Feel proud you’re not do­ing what ev­ery­one else is do­ing’.

“Now when lit­tle girls send me videos of them­selves play­ing Lost With­out You on the gui­tar or play­ing open mic nights, I think, this is some­thing I’m so pas­sion­ate about.

“Hope­fully it will in­spire even just a few girls to pick up in­stru­ments and write their own des­tinies, be­cause it’s not the thing that was cham­pi­oned when I was up and com­ing.”

Freya’s fa­ther is the ac­tor Richard Rid­ings, whose cred­its in­clude voic­ing Daddy Pig in the chil­dren’s hit se­ries Peppa Pig.

“Watch­ing my dad play and write from a young age, I just thought that was the norm. So, you know, when you start get­ting told you have to co-write with men dou­ble your age to have any chance in this in­dus­try, you would think that’s true and it’s not.

“The Kate Bush thing is an hon­our, but I’m also baf­fled by it. Why is that true? That should not be the case.

“For me, this is just the be­gin­ning, in terms of mak­ing young fe­male mu­si­cians aware that there is so much power in song writ­ing. They can tell their story as well – they have a place at the ta­ble.

“And I’m so lucky that I found an in­die la­bel (Good Sol­dier) that cham­pi­oned what was re­ally au­then­tic about me and let me write my own songs be­cause, for a long time, I worked with peo­ple who told me that I couldn’t,” she says.

She smiles about grow­ing up hav­ing her fa­ther as the voice of a child­hood favourite

“I’m so, so proud he makes lit­tle peo­ple so happy.”

Her mu­sic has done just

that for a grow­ing le­gion of fans and Freya can even count the likes of Tay­lor Swift among them.

She says her self-ti­tled al­bum, which was re­leased on July 19, is “al­most a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the fans who made it pos­si­ble”.

Fin­ish­ing her al­bum, she says, was a way to thank her fans “for just giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity”.

“They are real peo­ple and I know them and I see their faces at ev­ery show,” she adds.

“I put ev­ery­thing I have into it over the last two years while tour­ing and feel­ing this at­mos­phere around the songs, and which songs, led to­wards more.

“There were some fans that got tat­toos of lyrics of songs I played once, and I was like maybe that’s a sign, maybe that should go on the al­bum.

“I re­ally lis­tened to peo­ple, so this al­bum wasn’t made in iso­la­tion.” Freya re­flects on how grate­ful she is to have played on the John Peel stage at Glas­ton­bury this year be­fore the record was even out. “I write a di­ary be­cause I have to, be­cause ev­ery day is such a whirl­wind... and there are so many el­e­ments of this job that I love, but for me all of this hap­pen­ing with­out hav­ing an al­bum out is the thing I can’t get over,” she says, some­what in­cred­u­lously.

She’s clearly also still pro­cess­ing the suc­cess and pop­u­lar­ity of Lost With­out You.

So, what in­spired her to write it? She ex­plains: “I write based on personal ex­pe­ri­ence and grow­ing up dyslexic and re­ally tall and shy and a red head – at school it made me such a tar­get, but it also made me in­cred­i­bly iso­lated. So all the years I spent in the pi­ano room at lunch time, just on my own, just in com­plete si­lence... it’s one of those things you get very good at, chan­nelling those harder mo­ments, into mu­sic.

“So any kind of heart­break or lone­li­ness, that’s where I turn [to mu­sic]”.

Her al­bum and Glas­ton­bury aside, Freya’s di­ary has been packed with fes­ti­val dates and she will also em­bark on a tour of the UK in Novem­ber.

De­spite still finding her feet in the in­dus­try, this young woman seems cer­tain of who she is and what she’s about.

“I was re­ally lucky from a young age that I was cham­pi­oned to be who I was, not who peo­ple or so­ci­ety thought a lit­tle girl should be,” she ex­plains.

“My mum let me dress my­self since I was three and even though it was hard at school to be some­thing that was not cool or not ac­cepted, I kind of went into my shell but I kept who I was.

“In those quiet years it made me crys­tallise who I was ear­lier than maybe other peo­ple be­cause I had time and space to think about it and that si­lence to sit and it makes you re­alise who you are with­out other voices talk­ing to you.”

As for the next five years, Freya’s goals are very at­tain­able. She re­ally wants a dog (she’s away too much at the mo­ment) and hopes to have a third or even fourth al­bum un­der belt by then.

What about her own mu­si­cal he­roes?

She tells a story about meet­ing Florence Welch in a team room but be­ing too starstruck to say too much to the singer.

“I was not cool at all, it was a com­plete shock, I couldn’t speak,” she says, adding that Florence sent her a lovely note af­ter their meet­ing.

“I still have it. She was on a poster on my bed­room wall grow­ing up!”

And what about Tay­lor Swift? “Stop it, I would die,” says Freya, bub­bling with ex­cite­ment. “Even just the idea of meet­ing her, I would not be cool, she’s too much of a hero.”

A few days af­ter we met, Swift shared a screengrab of Freya’s song on her In­sta­gram sto­ries, telling her fans to lis­ten it.

It looks like Freya might just be one step closer to tick­ing off meet­ing her hero, then.

Singer/song­writer Freya Rid­ings was al­ready garner­ing huge praise be­fore her first al­bum, left, was re­leased Freya Rid­ings’ self-ti­tled de­but al­bum is out now on Good Sol­dier.

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