Not all songstress’ in the modern day can say they’ve had a good 8 year run so far, and even fewer can do it while rallying such a huge fan base.
Essex lady Leddra Chapman is doing just that, with her storytelling lyrics and enchanting melodies, is there anything she can’t do? We sat and had a chat ahead of her UK tour to discuss embarrassing CD purchases, legendary Sheffield venues, and alternate careers.
How’s it going?
‘It’s all good, I’m just relaxing before the tour; this is my last weekend off so I’m trying to take it easy so I’m ready for it’
Where did it all begin for you musically?
‘I’ve always been a singer, my dad is too so I got it from him. I learnt to play the flute when I was 8 which taught me how to read sheet music, then at 12 I found out how to string some chords together on a guitar and realised I could play my favourite songs by myself. I eventually got bored of that and started messing with my own stuff, when I was about 14 I started getting crushes and suddenly had all these feelings I just had to get out. My songs weren’t initially for people to hear, they were just for me, but after uploading them to the internet and them getting some attention, I played a show in London to a load of record labels and management and got signed by the age of 16.’
What’s the plan for 2015?
The plan for 2015 is just to tour all year. After this tour I’m hoping to go on a European Tour, then do some festivals over the summer and come back for another UK Tour at the end of the year. I just wanna play the hell outta the album and by the end of the year be looking at the new album coming out. I’m super excited for the Sheffield gig, I used to date a guy who went to Sheffield Uni so I’d spend a lot of time up there, it’s very close to my heart. I know it well and I remember visiting Leadmill and Corp – do they still have to re-paint the bar black every week?’
How would you describe you sound? Who influences you?
I think the new album is so different to stuff I’ve done before, it’s quite a mature sound compared to my previous works. My sound has definitely progressed, where the beats are concerned, there’s much more depth to them. I spent 3 years writing it and picked the best of the 100 songs I wrote, I’ll be playing some of them live, but they won’t be getting released.
What inspires you to write?
I think that whenever anything strikes a chord within me it gives me ideas, like if I get that butterfly feeling or that sinking feeling I get ideas for music, or if I hear a story that makes me wanna cry. Any wave of emotion that comes over me, whether that be anger or love or passion, it gives me an idea and I’ll either jot it in my phone or record a little and come back to it later. Other times I can just be jamming with friends and we start something and it just happens. I love to write, I feel like I can have my say and no one can stop me. Anger is a particularly good emotion, I can write a song in 20 minutes if I’m angry. It’s a very empowering thing to do, I find it very therapeutic.
Where would you like to be in five years?
Honestly? If I’m still touring and making albums I’ll be happy. I’m incredibly lucky and so grateful to be doing what I love for a living, making music every day is all I’ve ever wanted to do and if I’m ever having a bad day or I hit a bump in the road I just remind myself that I’m living my dream. I’d love to be touring in five years, as much as possible, I’m very much at home when I’m on the road.
What are you currently listening to?
I have so much stuff I’m listening to lately! I really like George Ezra, Ray Lamotagne, I love the new War on Drugs album, and James Bay – he’s great. My best friend (Lee Broderick) and I have a tour playlist since we’re on the road together, we love to make playlists dependant on our mood, we have a really cheesy 90’s pop one, a really hardcore rock full of Rage Against the Machine – it’s funny, we don’t have a playlist that sounds like our kind of music.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Do I have to answer? It’s really embarrassing. Spice by the Spice Girls. I was only 6 so I think that’s acceptable. I remember really wanting to be Baby Spice. I think Lee and I actually have most of it on our cheesy playlist.
If you could play a gig with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Prince! It was a toss-up between him and Freddie Mercury but I thought that’s probably already been said. I just think Prince’s live shows are amazing and he’d be so much fun to work with.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?
I can’t imagine it! It’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever wanted to do. I think I’d be a music lawyer, just to still be involved in the music industry and to be able to help upcoming and independent artists would be so rewarding. Maybe I’ll do that when I get old. Is that really boring? I should’ve said juggler, can I change my answer?
What’s your favourite song of yours and why?
I think it has to be ‘Story’; it was the song that started it all for me, it’s about my best friend so it sits close and everything kicked off from there. But maybe my favourite one to perform would be ‘Lose Yourself’ from the new album, it’s up-tempo but a bit darker than my previous stuff, a bit Florence & the Machine-esq. Always a lot of fun to play.
See Leddra do her stuff at the Redhouse on the 18th, seriously.
You can land yourself a copy of her new album Fidelity and Grace while you’re there too.