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

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Alternative folk pop singer-songwriter Billie Marten has an incredible 10 years’ experience of working in the music industry and signed to a record label at the age of 15. In that time, the Yorkshire-born musician has released three successful albums, with her fourth, Drop Cherries, being the newest insight into Billie’s life.

Reflecting on her career, and assessing her current record, Billie notes that she now follows her instinct, and that the new album expresses natural and authentic emotions; she reminisces on the emotions she felt when writing Drop Cherries’ predecessor: “With Flora Fauna, I think I did a lot of convincing myself that I knew myself and had my own independence but it sort of came out in this semi-anxious/angry way and now it feels like everything’s kind of settled down in my mind. Drop Cherries was very much written from a place of love, happiness and fulfilment.”

Released in April, Billie’s fourth album provides insight into the ups and downs of a relationship. “Drop Cherries is, in its simplest form, an album of love…different forms of love, and getting to grips with one’s own sense of independence.”

Drop Cherries was very much written from a place of love, happiness and fulfilment

The name Drop Cherries comes from a heart-to-heart at the pub between Billie and her friend: “We were talking about extreme relationships and he was describing one of his long-term relationships, describing an image of stamping red cherries onto a cream carpet as a symbol of what they were trying to achieve.” These extreme emotions are prominent throughout the album; latest single I Can’t Get My Head Around You has a catchy pop hook situated within a dreamy folk arrangement, and describes the confusion and anxieties that come with falling in love with someone, while Willow depicts the ways in which self-sabotage can affect long-distance relationships, utilising finger-picked double bass and a hazy clarinet solo.

Having strayed from her roots in folk music on her previous album, Billie Marten finds her way back to the tradition for the confident, sweet-sounding folk that is Drop Cherries. “I’d say this was more of a regression in terms of sound, I think that this was the album that I’d always wanted to make. I’ve tried a few different things out, and now, with this being the fourth one, it feels the most like me.” Billie admits she’s used her previous albums to “get out feelings of melancholia, sadness, and deep, personal introspection. I think [Drop Cherries] was very much an easier experience, writing-wise, as I was talking about somebody else for a change. I found it really inspiring.”

Despite the emotional themes of the album, Billie speaks of the writing and recording process in an extremely positive light. “Even when I touched on some darker subjects on the album, it felt light. I tried to make every song equally as positive, or if they’re not positive in the beginning, they’ll end on more of a righteous note. It was such a joy to write, and I’d like to do that again.”

Approaching her upcoming UK and North American tour, Billie looks forward to showing the audience an organic sound, with the help of her band: “We’ve got sax, violin, keys, extra guitars and, you know, fun little treats!”

Billie Marten plays The Cluny, Newcastle on Tuesday 23rd May. Drop Cherries is out now.


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