Rocky Horror Show

Daisy Godfrey on The Grease Soundtrack and Her New EP

31 July 17 words: L.P. Mills
illustrations: Feargus Stewart

You’d be hard-pushed to miss Daisy Godfrey if you saw her in public; her mighty mane of orange hair broadcasts her presence the second she walks through the door. A singer-songwriter and sturdy staple of the city’s busking scene, the local lass joins us for a natter about music, relaxation, and the stark bloody wonder that is Olivia Newton-John...

Where do you think your musical career began?
I was pretty young; maybe around ten years old. I remember thinking that I wanted to start singing but I never really did much about it until I was sixteen. Then I moved to London when I was eighteen, went to music school, and over the last three or four years I’ve taken my work much more seriously. I’ve also started busking in the last few years, which has really helped me hone my sound.

Do you think going to music school changed the way you perform and write music?
It didn’t really change the way I write or perform music, but it did change my view on the music industry. I was quite ignorant before, and music school made me realise that music is a business; you need to put the hours in, and you need to work hard at it if you want to pay the bills.

Would you say you prefer busking to recording or writing?
Not really; we write while we busk. In terms of performance, I think I prefer it to live shows. When you’re busking with an original song and someone stops to give you money, it’s a really rewarding feeling because you know they’re enjoying the music. It’s lovely being able to talk to people in the street. The whole online thing feels a bit isolating; like you’re not really engaging with people. There’s a big difference between seeing someone face-to-face and seeing their username. To be honest, most of our set list is built around how well we perform a song while busking.

Do you think community is an important theme in your work?
Yes, definitely. There’s something so rewarding about having someone hear your lyrics and say to you afterwards “I really empathise with what you were saying” or that my lyrics mean something to them.

What would you describe as the main themes of your writing?
Music is quite therapeutic for me. There’s a sense of insecurity in a lot of my stuff; if you listen to my lyrics, they usually come from a place of discomfort. I think it’s a voice that needs to be heard a lot more, and the fact that it comes from a personal place is important. Having said that, if there’s a song I wrote four years ago, I find it quite tedious to go back to that same emotional place every time I perform it.

What does writing music mean to you?
Writing is a way of expressing myself. I sometimes struggle to say what I’m thinking through conversation and when things bother me, it’s a relief to write about it to get it off my chest. It can get awkward; people usually notice when I write songs about them. But, whenever I write about the people in my life, I never do it to hurt them. I have a rule: if I write a song about a person, I never tell them or anyone else.

Who are your main influences in music?
I always find this such a hard question to answer because I don’t know who’s influenced me, I just know what I like listening to. I go through periods of listening to one thing and nothing else; that can range from The Smiths to Radiohead, Etta James, Lauryn Hill. Anything, really. I listened to Radiohead so much when I was younger I’ve kind of ruined their earlier albums for myself. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Adele and the soundtrack to Grease. Actually, I’ve had the Grease soundtrack on repeat for the last few days.

Good shout. What’s your favourite song from Grease?
That’s such a hard question, but it’s got to be Hopelessly Devoted to You. Can’t sing it for shit, though.

Do you think working with your bandmate Ryan Cornall has changed your music at all?
A lot of what you hear comes from Ryan, and his musical background definitely plays into mine. When people say “Your music is really nice” or whatever, I think it’s important to remember that half of that is Ryan; he’s playing the guitar and shaping the music just as much as I am. His music is very intricate and complex, and I see him as an individual artist in himself. Our music is released under my name, but it’s always been the two of us writing together.

Do you have any new projects we should be on the look-out for?
Ryan and I released our first single in April. It’s exciting. Normally when I record something I don’t like it, but I’m actually really enjoying this sound. A lot of money goes into the recording and production, and we’re also putting a video together which is draining even more money. We're a bit skint now, but it’s been so worthwhile to put our art out there in a physical sense, and hopefully it’ll be a sign of future projects to come.

Got any tips for stress-busting?
Music normally does it for me; I’m pretty rubbish at normal relaxation. My friend says I should start colouring in while listening to music, but I just get really anxious when I go out of the lines. I’ve tried meditating before, but I always try it when I have too much stuff on my mind, so I just get annoyed that I’m not relaxing. It’s really counter-productive. I do find that repeating positive phrases helps; it’s important to just sit and reaffirm yourself sometimes.

Daisy’s debut single, Remedy, is out now, and she can usually be found busking with Ryan in Nottingham City Centre throughout the week.  

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