Go­ing for bold

Tonight In­ver­ness Iron­works; Dec 17 Aberdeen Beach Prom­e­nade; Dec 18 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall; Dec 20 Glas­gow Bar­row­land; Dec 31 Edinburgh Street Party

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Culture - By Na­dine McBay

What a year it’s been for Stephanie Cheape. Twelve months ago the Hamil­ton front­woman and her band opened the Scot­tish Mu­sic Awards, wow­ing pun­ters and in­dus­try bods with their stri­dent, met­al­glint­ing, elec­tro-pop. Now they’ve been an­nounced as get­ting Edinburgh’s Street Party started on Hog­manay.

In 2018 the flame-haired 25-yearold built up her fan­base at TRNSMT, Bel­ladrum and Party At The Palace, raised the rafters at Glas­gow’s King Tut’s and opened for Bryan Ferry at the city’s Kelv­in­grove Band­stand. The Roxy Mu­sic leg­end sig­nalled his ap­pre­ci­a­tion in style – of course.

“He sent a bot­tle of Dom Perignon to my dress­ing room,” says Cheape, tak­ing respite from the pre-Christ­mas bus­tle in a Glas­gow eaterie.

“He was amaz­ing to open for, a proper show­man and I was ab­so­lutely in shock that he had been so lovely to me.

“It’s great that a world-fa­mous star can be all open arms about this Scot­tish girl who has just popped on the scene.”

High-pro­file sup­port slots have fol­lowed, most re­cently with wild English blues boy Barns Court­ney last month.

This week Cheape and her band – “my best friends in the world” Jonny Queen, Garry Aird and Don Wil­son – sup­port re­formed 1980s Scots pop­sters Hip­sway as they tour in sup­port of Smoke & Dreams, their first al­bum in more than 30 years. The dates in­clude the Bar­row­lands, where Cheape saw the

likes of Hard-Fi and En­ter Shikari as a teenager. “I was prob­a­bly 15 and shouldn’t have been there,” she says. “Grow­ing up go­ing to gigs you won­der if you might play there some­time. We’ve played some amaz­ing venues, and ev­ery time I think it can’t get any bet­ter, it does. We want to fo­cus on putting on a great show and hope that ev­ery­one else has an amaz­ing time too.”

The tour with Court­ney co­in­cided with de­but sin­gle Blood Sweat And Fear, re­leased on her own la­bel Bold As The Boys. Based on a song writ­ten when she was 16, Cheape re­worked the track into an are­na­sized banger with Twin At­lantic’s Sam McTrusty and Ross McNae, co-writ­ers and pro­duc­ers who’ve been work­ing with the band for much of the year.

Cheape says the re­sults are “even bolder”; a dark twist on pop teth­ered to crunchy, met­al­in­flu­enced dy­nam­ics. Ob­servers may be put in mind of the huge elec­tro fizz of CHVRCHES, the sub­ter­ranean sass of Garbage, even a touch of Jess Glynne’s de­fi­ant pop. Cheape is out to make her mark as her own woman, how­ever.

Whereas Blood Sweat And Fear tells of a young singer des­per­ate “to do any­thing to get on TV”, forth­com­ing tracks such as live bel­ter Here I Am delve deeper into the “ug­li­ness of a lot of the mu­sic in­dus­try and the ug­li­ness of a lot of modern life”.

“Bold as the boys” is a credo, not just a name for Cheape’s la­bel. The is­sues she wants to raise are less about in­di­vid­u­als and more about the un­spo­ken rules, ex­pec­ta­tions and judge­ments we make about men and women, she says.

“I work with a lot of amaz­ing men but it is a very male­dom­i­nated in­dus­try,” says Cheape. “Fe­male artists are told we have to be in a cer­tain mould and are con­tin­u­ally be­ing com­pared to some­one else. I didn’t want to fit the mould, or say yes to every­thing.”

She adds: “If a guy goes on stage and starts crowd-surf­ing, he’s a rock star, but a girl do­ing that gets tar­nished with some­thing more neg­a­tive. I want to erad­i­cate that.”

Stephanie Cheape

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.