Feature: Me Lost Me – A Look Back At 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo By Amelia Read
So, how was your 2021?
Up and down – I’ve had some really wonderful times, things I never dreamed would happen! but it’s still been a tough year with the world the way it is.
What was your best moment?
I’ve had some really lovely moments this year, touring has been brilliant, especially after so long without playing live! That lovely feeling of connection that live shows provide is so important to me. Otherwise, I think one of the main highlights of the year was getting the totally-out-of-the-blue phone call telling me I’d be getting the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for composers! I just laugh-cried all day. It’s a truly life changing thing to be supported in that way, and I think it’s one of my best moments purely because I’m so excited about all the amazing things I’ll be able to do because of it – collaboration, writing, experimenting, learning – so many ‘best moments’ to come from it!
And your worst moment?
It’s been a difficult year for lots of reasons, and mental health has taken a big hit – I think everyone feels that way on some level. Work-wise I’ve struggled with knowing nothing I plan is concrete. I like to have a structure in place and know the shape of the coming months, and I felt quite lost with the knowledge everything might change again at the drop of a hat, rescheduling shows, replanning project timelines etc. I didn’t cope so well in those moments when plans had to change suddenly.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?

I’ve been loving Lyra Pramuk this year – her album from 2020 was on my regular rotation at the beginning of this year, but then the collaborative rework ‘Delta’ came out in September and it just cemented that love! Seeing her perform live in November was brilliant too, I’d recommend diving in to her work if you haven’t already, it’s really stunning.
Your favourite song of the year?
I’m totally on the Self Esteem hype train at the moment. I don’t often listen to songs on repeat, I’m more of an album listener, but ‘How can I help you?’ was an exception this year – had that on repeat a lot! So addictive.
Recommended album?
I’m terrible at narrowing these things down and I don’t have a list of favourites really, but I’d like to recommend ‘OWN ℃’ by Jap Kasai – it’s one of those albums where every time I hear it, I notice something new in the arrangement or production, which I think is really exciting!
Favourite TV show of the year?
With all this extra time at home the last couple of years, I’ve been able to catch up on the whole MCU thing which had previously passed me by – and I’m somehow completely addicted to marvel stuff now! so Loki has been my favourite show of the year, for sure.
Your favourite film?
Like I just mentioned, it’s probably because I’m well deep into the MCU fandom at the moment, or possibly because it was the first film I saw in a cinema since before the pandemic, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was excellent.

Best book you read?
I’ve read a lot of excellent books this year! ‘Entangled Life’ by Merlin Sheldrake, ‘The Book of Trespass’ by Nick Hayes, ‘Lote’ by Shola von Reinhold and ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald all left big impressions on me.

Best podcast?
Future Ecologies – highly recommend it for both the interesting and varied show content and the sound design/music!

Favourite venue of the year?
As an artist: Going for an out-of-town answer but probably Bishop’s House in Sheffield that me and Nathalie Stern visited on our tour! It’s a 16th century house in a park, and a museum by day – we found original witches marks on the doors protecting the gig from evil spirits, which is very thoughtful of them! A real treat to play in such an unusual space.
As a punter: Cobalt Studios is always a joy to visit for its lush atmosphere and varied programming, being able to see two big influences, Kelly Lee Owens and Lyra Pramuk, on my doorstep there this year was really amazing.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
As an artist: Playing at the Sage for my Artist in Residence gig was amazing, particularly because it was my first gig with Faye MacCalman on clarinet and John Pope on double bass! It was a total joy to perform with them and I can’t wait to do more together! I also had an amazing time at Brave Exhibitions Festival at the Cluny, it felt really wonderful to have a big community feeling like that after so long apart, it felt like coming home.
As a punter: Alabaster Deplume at Gosforth Civic Theatre was a really special show, especially with Ceitidh Mac supporting!

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2022?
Heather Ferrier, Northering and Cosy’s Ex – I’m excited to see what they get up to next year. They are all artists experimenting with folk in different ways, which I love of course!

And finally, what has next year got in store for you?
Next year I will be spending a lot of time writing, collaborating and shaping the next album, I want to take time to really make something refined and next-level for release the following year. I’ll be releasing some new music too which you’ll have to keep an eye out for, and playing gigs around the country! Hopefully I’ll also spend some time working on new composition commissions for theatre, podcasts, exhibitions etc, because I’ve been enjoying working on those projects so much this past year! I’d particularly love to make some music for a video game – any takers?

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