Behind the Music: Interview with Liberty Butterworth

“I think it’s really important for a singer to be involved in every aspect of the song – even if they have a producer.”

Describe your sound in no more than 5 words: Dreamy, mellow, soft, nostalgic and emotive.

What are the biggest influences on the tracks you create? My songs are always about something dear to me whether it’s a story about me or not. I am inspired by the people I meet or things I go through that are big, memorable moments in my life. Musically my sound is largely influenced by female artists I admire, especially Beabadoobee and Clairo!

Who else is involved in your music? I love working with other people as everyone is so different and can provide new ideas and different outlooks on my work. I work closely with a friend and producer who helps me write the songs and we then record them together in the studio. I have recently also been working with a photographer to do different shoots pre-release and I enjoy creating an aesthetic and choosing different shoot locations. Fingers crossed after the Covid-19 restrictions have been loosened, I’m going to get a band together and start playing live too!

Where is your go to place for writing tracks? I can’t sit down and just write a song. An idea will always come to me in very random moments or situations. For example, I recently wrote a track while in the middle of a yoga practice! Weirdly though, it always seems to be in bed as I’m supposed to be going to sleep. I’ll come up with an idea and then have to get up and write it down. It’s not practical but it seems to work! Other than that I find visual stimulation really important whether that’s on the tube or outside somewhere.

The more acoustic sound of your EP is completely different to your more recent tracks. What has impacted this change? I was a lot younger when that EP was released and I think I was 16 when I wrote those songs. It was a very different time for me, being at school, still not really knowing what I wanted to do, and not sure if I’d found my sound. It’s nostalgic for me to listen back to them now and remember where and when I wrote them and how much has happened since!

And linked with this, how important do you think it is for a new artist to showcase different sides of their musicality? I think artists should showcase not just their talents, but personal interests too. It’s great to see their different sides as long as they are staying true to themselves and doing what they feel they have a connection with. If you don’t like the music you’re creating or performing then play around with different things, try new genres and sounds, and it will click together.

What does a typical Liberty Butterworth recording session look like? I will usually give a whole day to doing a single and arrive with the lyrics and song completely written and finished. Then I’ll warm up while my producer sets up and we will do several takes until I feel confident I’ve done a perfect take. I limit myself though or I’d be there all day doing hundreds and never being satisfied! I’ll then sit in on the editing and mixing process so I can say how I want it to sound and input ideas as we go. I think it’s really important for a singer to be involved in every aspect of the song, even if they have a producer. It’s their piece of art and they should oversee and direct how it’s created.

“I’m proud that inspiration and ultimately music has come
from the weirdest year I’ve ever experienced.”

Going back to your school days, how did your educational experience of music impact your decision to become an artist, and how important do you think it is for young people to learn music at school? Music was my favourite lesson at school as it didn’t feel like a lesson. It was more like a break from the rest of the week! Music might not be for everyone and it can be daunting for a lot of young people when they have to perform in school or in class. However, you get to listen to so many different music styles and learn about the culture behind them. I think those are both really important things. After school I did music technology at college, but I soon realised I’d much rather be singing than behind the production desk! I think it’s incredibly important for young people to learn music, but sadly the arts and entertainment industry are being slightly overlooked at the moment in the pandemic circumstances.

You have been supported by BBC Introducing on a couple of occasions. How did it feel hearing your music on the radio and how has this opportunity benefitted your career so far? The first time I heard my music on the radio I actually got slightly emotional. It’s quite a weird thing to hear someone talking about you, hear your name, and then your voice. I owe a lot to BBC Introducing. They have been incredibly supportive of my music and I think it’s such a brilliant concept and so helpful for emerging talent. I definitely recommend that any new artist uploads their songs to them. In terms of my career so far, it’s given me a lot of new coverage and as a result, other radio stations have heard my tracks and played them. The highlight so far was making the BBC top 20 Introducing Hotlist from around the UK! I was extremely grateful for that.

Your latest release ‘Another Day In Paradise’ has a wonderful atmosphere to it – a mix of chilled summer vibes and romanticism. What was involved in the writing process of the track and did this differ from your other songs at all? ‘Another Day In Paradise’ was a way for me to put my lockdown feelings into lyrics, so unlike ‘Golden Days’, this song was centred around the words and the meaning behind it. My producer sent me the guitar line during the first lockdown and I immediately got to writing lyrics; mainly about the dull routine yet simple beauty of the everyday. It has been a very weird year – like nothing I’ve ever experienced – but I’m proud that inspiration and ultimately music has come from it.

Also on your latest release, I really like how the track fades at the end. Given that when tracks get radio play they are generally faded out, did you have this in mind when finishing it in that way? No we never actually considered the radio aspect of the ending, however this did work really well. We chose to fade out the end because the song is so mellow and soft, it felt too abrupt and harsh to just end it. The fade kind of prolongs the calming atmosphere.

And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to others starting out in the music industry? To say yes to more things you might be hesitant or unsure to do. The more things you do, the more people you connect with, speak with, and more doors open. Getting experience in all aspects of the industry is going to provide valuable lessons and always be kind and approachable. Trying out many different things will highlight what it is you really love or are best at, and all things will be a life experience whether they go well or not!

Thanks Liberty Butterworth for chatting with Listen to Discover

Find out more about Liberty Butterworth at:
Artist Feature: Liberty Butterworth

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