Interview: Cortney Dixon | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle singer-songwriter, and one of BBC Introducing In The North-East’s top-tips for 2020, Cortney Dixon has been busy over Lockdown; writing a fifteen song portfolio, doing online gigs and vlogs, as well as producing a steady stream of video and creative content. 

She now releases her debut EP, Our Intuition, which showcases seven songs from the singles she’s released since her debut last Autumn.

We catch up with Cortney to find out more about her and the EP…

Who were your musical influences growing up?
I absolutely loved Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac and Bowie. 

You’ve been very prolific with songwriting over lockdown. Briefly describe your songwriting process and can you tell us the secret to your productivity?
The creative process is always so different every time for me. Sometimes I start with a synth sound I like, a beat I like or a guitar part I’ve came up with. I will then record my idea, loop it and sing round it over and over again until the melodies and lyrics start to take shape.

I think I ended up getting into a good flow of creating music in lockdown because the world seemed to have come to a pause and ‘everyday life’ couldn’t get in the way, as it often does. As soon as I got on to a creative roll that day, nothing was there to distract me and take me away from it, so I could continue down the rabbit whole for as long as I liked. 

What would your top tips for budding songwriters be?
Collaborate with as many songwriters as you can! I have learned so much from working with other writers. 

Secondly, persevere. I always feel tempted to walk away from a song idea when it gets a little tricky. Sometimes that bit of inspiration or idea you need to write that section doesn’t come immediately, but it’s important to go away, have a cuppa, and come back with a fresh brain.  I believe there is a breakthrough moment to have with every song, so stick with it. 

Thirdly, get into the habit of finishing every (or the majority) of song ideas you start – even if you know it isn’t your best work. You will go on to write something better, but at least you have a finished song in the bag. Don’t end up with 50 unfinished song ideas on your hard drive, because i’ve been there… and it isn’t pretty. 

Tell us more about your EP, Our Intuition. How would you describe its sound and what are some of the themes within it?
‘Our intuition’ is made up of some of the singles I released late last year and early this year along with three currently unreleased tracks. Some of these songs have been with me for a long time, especially ‘Freddie’. A track written when I was 17 and i’m so excited to finally set it free into the world. I got to work with some super talented people on this EP and I feel like the whole process was me finding my feet.I’ve came out of it really knowing what I want, who I am and where to go from this – I think the music reflects this growth too. It’s alt pop, but has elements of indie rock and indie folk. It explores themes such as how you deal with unmet expectations, the importance of talking to friends and family about mental health, getting sucked into bad lifestyle choices and exploring the idea of receiving the gift of endless life and wondering at what point would it get boring? Maybe limited time gives us meaning and purpose? Who knows. I guess we all wish we had the opportunity to find out.  

A live performance video of Half My Heart accompanies the EP. What can you tell us about that?
This was the first time me and my band had the opportunity to record together post lockdown and we chose to do a live version of half my heart because it is always one of our favourites to perform. It has so many unexpected twists and turns, it’s so fun to play! We went into Blank recording studios for the day and captured this live version, which is so different to the recorded version, but it feels like a real nod to the direction of my new stuff… coming in the new year! 

What plans have you got for the future?
I’ve got lots of new songs coming in 2021 which I’m currently in the process of recording! It’s taken a slightly different direction to everything I have released so far so I’m super excited for people to hear it!

And much like every other gigging musician, I’m also dying to be able to get out gigging again next year to make up for all the gigs missed this year!

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