Described by BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris as "one of the our finest singer songwriters", Lisa Redford has established herself in the country and Americana scene.Fatea writer Nic Rigby caught up with her as she prepares to support Nashville singer Sarah Darling at The Waterfront in Norwich.
Lisa says she grew up in Norfolk "obsessed with music". "There aren't any other musicians in my family but my parents have a huge love of music," she says. Lisa also had a love of words and studied English and American Literature at university. "I've always had a passion for writing, song writing in particular, and keep a note book with me in case inspiration strikes," she says. "I started to play guitar while I was at university and it was there that I began writing the first songs that I ended up recording and releasing. "My debut album 'Slipstream' is where I found my sound - a blend of heartfelt, melodic, acoustic Americana and folk-pop - and I'm really proud of the 12 original tracks on the record."
After university, Lisa began gigging and got her first airplay on Bob Harris' BBC Radio 2 show. She says her biggest influence are Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse, Tom Petty, Kings of Convenience, Sufjan Stevens and Shawn Colvin. She adds: "I also love the sound of classic singer songwriters like Neil Young, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Paul Simon and Cat Stevens. "It's fascinating reading how my favourite writers came up with their material and hearing a great song inspires me to really push my own writing."
One of my favourite songs of Lisa's is Dragonfly on her album Lost Again. She says it "came about when I was in India on a long car journey with friends, the sun was setting and we'd all had this magical relaxing day exploring and being on the beach". The track was recorded with musicians in Manchester and "features some lovely strings and a wonderful dobro solo by fantastic steel player Alan Cook".
Her latest EP Another Place and Time "features the lovely warm sound of dobro played by Noel Dashwood, such a talented musician who performs with various bands and artists including his trio Alden Patterson and Dashwood. He's added some memorable intros and riffs to the songs". "It was recorded and mixed in Norwich by another great musician, José McGill from The Vagaband, and he's added some great subtle instrumentation and arrangements and given it a very natural organic sound," she adds.
I asked Lisa, who has also acted as mentor to up-and-coming singer Breeze Redwine, about her top tips to people starting off in the music business. "If you're an independent artist these days the music business can be tough to break into so you need to be 100% committed and passionate about your music and craft. It's key to be true to yourself and just keep persisting at it. "Trying to attain a nice balance between spending time promoting your music online and song writing can be a challenge but it's essential to have a strong online presence.
"Ensure that you align yourself with the right publications, blogs and radio that are suited to your particular genre and book gigs which will hopefully create more opportunities to play more shows. "Keeping your website, blog and social media up to date, maintaining a monthly e-mail newsletter, interacting with fans and keeping the content you post interesting can all be hard work but means people all over the world can potentially discover you and become aware of your material." *Lisa Redford supports Sarah Darling at the Waterfront Studio on Thursday 15 March.
Nic Rigby - Words
Mui Tsun Photography - Pics