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

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Image by Lauren Maccabee

South Shields is home to sandy beaches, an infamous fairground and thousands of residents who fall under the otherwise known term ‘Sandancers’. Despite its quirks, South Shields is not a strong contender as a musical hotspot, although that may be about to change when 24 year-old native Brooke Bentham launches her debut album, Everyday Nothing, this month, solidifying its spot on the map and awarding the humble seaside town the prestige it so truly deserves. “When I was starting out, there wasn’t a lot going on musically in South Shields,” explains Brooke, “which is why I had to travel to Newcastle to play gigs, but recently there’s been a lot of open mic nights starting up which is great to see.” Still some way to go, perhaps, and despite now being a resident of That London, it’s clear Brooke’s heart remains rooted in the North East.

Picking up a guitar at the age of thirteen, Brooke’s intentions were never set on becoming indie folk’s newest treasure. After starting singing lessons two years later, performing open mic nights around the region and landing her first proper show at The Cluny, many ears were pricked to the authentic sound that she had established, the attraction lying in her ability to marry powerful vocals with a poetic perception of love and life that manages to remain raw and realistic. “I grew up on a lot of Fleet Foxes and Yo La Tengo, and Bon Iver are one of my favourite bands so I think I get a lot of my influences from them. The North East definitely helped shape me as an artist too; you’re surrounded by so many lovely and talented people and having that sense of community wherever you go is like nowhere else.”

The North East definitely helped shape me as an artist too; you’re surrounded by so many lovely and talented people and having that sense of community wherever you go is like nowhere else

After moving to London for university, Brooke left the North behind and settled; it was a daunting prospect, and one that’s chronicled on her new single All My Friends Are Drunk. “I had to move away but I didn’t expect to realise how isolating London is; when you’re down here, you look at the North as far more idyllic and you definitely appreciate it more after you leave it behind.” The new single reflects on a time of growing older and growing apart, coming face to face with the reality that has haunted us with every passing birthday; adulthood.

The theme runs throughout Brooke’s upcoming debut album, which was produced alongside her friend and maestro of the melancholy Bill Ryder-Jones. It’s a collection which embodies the impeccable talents of the singer-songwriter, easing in on With Love, the looming beat and ominous cymbal balanced out by the arrival of Brooke’s gentle voice and beautiful lyricism, hinting at what’s to come. Stand out single Perform For You is electric, a crescendo of pure power from the beginning, balanced out by the hazy melodies of Keep It Near which basks in the easy breeziness of the height of summer. Displaying an angsty persona on the far heavier Control and concluding with My Baby Lungs, a sweet-tempered serenade that is shadowed by the fear of solitude, her dynamics as an artist are incredible to witness.

Having recently finished a UK tour with close friend and previous open mic companion Sam Fender, not to mention a sold out London headline show with fellow Northern lass Imogen, Brooke embarks on her own headline tour in March, making an unmissable exhibit of the talent that the North East is so proud to call its own.

Brooke Bentham releases Everyday Nothing via AllPoints on 28th February


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