INTERVIEW: Bryde | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Having recently released her captivating single To Be Brave, Welsh songwriter Bryde (aka Sarah Howells) tells me where her inspiration came from. “It’s about how people self-edit their lives to put across a flawless appearance. Whether or not that’s healthy, whether it’s better to be honest about how we feel, and not having to put on a brave face. It’s to do with social media, how everybody puts out an inaccurate portrayal of life, and it makes us feel less happy. It offers recognition of that feeling, to say we’re all like this sometimes.”

The video for To Be Brave has a beautiful simplicity, featuring striking coastal panoramas as a backdrop to Bryde’s lush vocals. “We wanted the video to represent moving portraits so we used photographic looking shots. It reflects that idea of presenting an image that is one-dimensional, not necessarily a true picture. The location, Dungeness, is really important to me. It’s very exposed, vulnerable and strong all at once.”

The single was mixed and mastered by Catherine Marks and Mandy Parnell. “They’re sonically two of the best people in the industry. There were a lot of women involved making the music video, again because of their ability. I didn’t even think about it until I was looking at photos of us and realised this was an interesting thing.”

There are a lot of women rising to the top, but there’s still a lack of opportunities for them to work in the music industry

Bryde set up her own label Seahorse Music, with the aim of supporting women in the music industry. “Initially I wanted to elevate the profiles of the musicians around me. There are a lot of women rising to the top, but there’s still a lack of opportunities for them to work in the music industry. I thought a way to tackle that would be to start a label; to become someone in the music industry to create that change, rather than expecting other people to do it for me.”

Bryde’s debut album, Like An Island, is out on 13th April. “People are feeling connected to it in the way that I’d hoped. It represents what I set out to do. I see songwriting as a form of release, to express things that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. The audience is another person to speak to.” Her astonishing voice is an obvious focal point, but the depth of instrumentation and emotive arrangements also make Like An Island a must-listen. To Be Brave builds up to a noisy chanting; while Peace’s howling vocal and heavy drums are unrestrained and wild.

Bryde is about to embark on her biggest tour yet, around Europe and the UK. “We’re going further than we’ve ever been. I’m interested to see if we can reach new people. I’m going to Italy, Spain, places I’ve never played before. Obviously I’m really looking forward to The Cluny date. OK – I’m not just saying this because it’s you! I’ve literally never met a person from Newcastle that I didn’t like! There’s a lack of snobbery about music that you might find in other places. It’s really refreshing actually.”

Bryde performs at The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Sunday 15th April. Like An Island is released on 13th April via Seahorse Music.

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