Nina Simone

Nina Simone is the first artist I fell in love with. I remember my mum putting The Very Best of Nina Simone album on in the car and it was the first time a voice had stopped me in my tracks. I was 8 years old and I could feel the pain in her voice, I didn’t know what she was singing about but she taught me that being vulnerable is being strong. ‘Feeling Good’ was the song I always chose to sing when I was given the opportunity to sing for people as a kid…

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is another artist my mum helped me discover. We used to go on holiday to Cornwall every year with family friends when I was a kid and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was an album we had in the glovebox of the car and would sing along to on the journey. I literally love every song on that album but the one me and my mum would always sing together is ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’. I also loved listening to the conversation at the end of that record, I feel like my mum was secretly preparing me for future life.

Adele

Adele was an artist I discovered on my own. I think 19 came out when I was 10 and I genuinely believed I could relate to every song on that album. It was her performance at the Brits that really blew my mind, she sang ‘Someone Like You’ and it was such an emotional performance with no distractions just her voice and a piano. I was 13 when I watched it and had just started writing my own songs, that performance inspired me a lot and proved to me that it’ll always be about the song and being honest.

Alicia Keys

I grew up with a single mother in Brighton and identity was something I struggled with as a kid. Alicia Keys was an artist I discovered later on. I was probably about 10 and I remember seeing a picture of her and seeing a lot of myself in her. When I started writing songs at 13 she was an artist I would always come back to. She was a young girl writing powerful melodies and lyrics on a piano and listening to her taught me that a great song only needs one instrument.

Carole King

I was late to Carole King, a friend of mine played me Tapestry a couple of years back and it was more her songwriting that interested me. She’s an amazing artist in her own right but her songwriting is incredible and the fact she wrote so many huge songs for other artists too is pretty cool. Again she’s someone whose songs are so simple but strong, I love the chords she uses and the way she plays them and I’ve definitely taken inspiration from her when it comes to my own songwriting.

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