Aspiring Headliner

Louise Golbey: Retaining Focus

British singer-songwriter Louise Golbey fills us in about her musical journey so far, and reveals how lockdown has led her into a different yet equally busy day to day life - including the launch of her own podcast and the creation of a brand new album.

Born into a musical family and raised in Bournemouth, writing and performing has arguably always been part of Louise Golbey’s DNA.

Taking heavy inspiration from artists such as Erykah Badu, D'Angelo and Jill Scott, Golbey has brought her neo soul sound to some big London venues including Ronnie Scotts, the London Hippodrome and The Jazz Café, as well as landing her performances at the Glastonbury Festival via BBC Introducing, the Isle of Wight Festival, and the London Jazz Festival.

This year, Golbey has been working on her second album with single release Scarlet Woman, which she is hoping to release this autumn.

“Obviously I would have been spending quite a few months working on the tracks with the producers, but it’s been hard to do that remotely,” says Golbey. “My voice is naturally quite jazzy, and I’ve been told that it’s quite distinctive which is nice. My recent tracks however have been more on the pop soul, R&B side.”

Despite being furloughed from her day job at a music company, Golbey has been keeping herself busy working on new material in the studio, as well as promoting her existing material.

The thing I genuinely miss is singing in front of people, with real people next to me.

Golbey has also been working with Rob Davis — the Grammy award winning co-writer of Kylie Minogue’s Can't Get You Out Of My Head — a collaboration that came about through interviewing Davis as part of her podcast What You Didn't Know About... on which she has interviewed some top UK songwriters about their songwriting process and meanings behind their most successful songs.

“That's been keeping me busy during lockdown and has been a really good point of focus in terms of keeping me creative and productive,” she reveals. “It's just been an easier process to launch and do that remotely so in a weird way that’s kind of one positive that’s come from the lockdown thing.”

It’s no surprise that Golbey has taken an interest in interviewing people who share her love for songwriting:

“That was the whole reason for me doing it; it's really great finding out about other people's songwriting processes, and when it comes to the big hits that they've done, I love hearing how the songs came about and the stories behind them,” she adds.

Golbey has also recently enjoyed doing some sync work for adverts and TV spots, as well as writing toplines for Eurovision 2021.

While these side projects have provided her with a way of keeping busy, Golbey is usually a self-managed, self-promoted artist who likes having full control of the decision making process in terms of her work.

“I essentially have my own record label, and while I do like getting people involved — like hiring a PR company for my recent release — I do like making decisions myself,” she admits. “Even in the studio, although I'm not pushing the buttons, I'm certainly involved in making decisions when it comes to the production side of things.

“Just making one single obviously costs money because you’ve got to do the mastering, the artwork, obviously the PR, and it's important to get it out there. Otherwise, what's the point in making it if you don't then push it out as much as possible?”

Like many, Golbey will have been missing out on performing at large shows at the moment, which must be quite a frustration for a budding artist such as herself.

“Obviously from a financial point of view it's worrying, but the thing I genuinely miss is singing in front of people, with real people next to me,” she reveals.

“I can do pre-recorded stuff online through live streaming, but it's just not quite the same. I got really angry just before the weekend when the pubs and restaurants were reopening, because while I’m glad that there's a sense of normality returning and we can get our social lives back, it just doesn't sit right with me when they're saying you can't sing in a venue because it's dangerous, but loads of people from different households can get really drunk and shout at each other.

“I normally have residencies at a few venues which are back open now, but they're not having live music yet because of what the government have said,” she continues. “But also because they've obviously lost money in this time, the last thing they're going to want to do is then spend money on live music.

“I don't feel like I could charge people to watch me doing a gig in my room, playing the piano badly, or with a WiFi connection that might drop, or singing to backing tracks. Plus there's so much stuff online now and it’s all just a bit saturated.”

Golbey likes the fact that everyone in the industry is being very innovative and adaptive during this time, yet is also rather reluctant to entirely accept this ‘new normal’.

“Everyone’s telling me you just have to get on board Louise blah, blah, blah, but I don't want this to just be our future now, and I really hope that I can sing in a normal place again soon.”