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Singer Songwriter Bud on the Festival Circuit

11 May 17 interview: Elizabeth O'Riordan

University of Nottingham student, city bird and festival smasher Bud has been stealing stages with her fresh, reggae- and dub-influenced pop melodies. The perfect soundtrack to summer. We caught up with the local lass ahead of her appearances throughout the tent-based towns this year...

You’ve got a new single coming out. What can we expect?
This new single is probably going to be a bit of a shock because it’s quite a different direction – a lot darker, both musically and stylistically. Obviously people know me for my summer sounds, more bubblegum sounds, but this is going to be a lot darker.

Where do you find the inspiration to write?
I fell upon a lot of vinyls recently; King Tubby is a big inspiration. My family are Jamaican so they integrated me into that reggae world. With regard to the pop melodies, I was always inspired by people like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen; both strong females in the music industry.

The beautifully-shot music video for City Bird follows the story of young people drinking in Nottingham. Where did the idea come from, and were you heavily involved in the creative process?
We did it as a Kickstarter, more as a way to raise awareness and get people in Nottingham involved in the project. It was really fun. Former Confetti student Michael Jobling wrote the idea. It’s a little bit based on the idea of a crap British night out, Inbetweeners style. That’s what a lot of people get from it.

You’re releasing a music video alongside the next single. Can you give us any insider information about what to expect from that?
It’s period-themed, so it’s got a vintage feel to it. There’s going to be a lot of drama, and the storyline is quite dark. There’s a lot of people eating, and a lot of sugary items. With the word ‘sugar’, people normally think of sweets but, in my family, when you say ‘Give me some sugar’, it means ‘Give me some love and attention.’ That’s an angle on the video. I can’t give too much away, but the story follows an independent woman who’s running the show.

You’re studying at the University of Nottingham...
I actually went to music college a few years ago in Leeds, but dropped out before Christmas because they tried to strip me of all my originality and taught me to be this generic, Britney Spears backing singer. They said to me, ‘If you want to pass this degree, you’re going to have to sing these kinds of songs in this kind of style,’ and that’s not what I want. I want to write my own songs, sing in my way and develop as an artist, so I dropped out. To my mum’s absolute horror. It was bad enough I was going to do music in the first place. She wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor or something. She’d just swallowed the fact I was going to do music, and then my dropout was a final blow for her.

I then decided that I wanted to study science, because I find it really interesting. My course is based around nutrition, so I’m actually in training to be a dietitian. I’m fully immersed in student life. I really enjoy it. Even though it seems a little silly that I have to go to university for years to tell people to eat their five-a-day.

When did you know you wanted a career in music?
My parents got divorced a long time ago, and there was always an inconsistency in family life. It did bother me and it did upset me. When I was a teenager getting into music, I’d turn to strong female musicians who would speak about real-life issues. Before I knew it, I had started writing and talking about issues I felt were important to me. Then I was doing my A Levels and everyone was asking what I wanted to do for a career. I just wanted the challenge of making a living from the hardest possible career. I think that’s a lot to do with my stubbornness and risk-taking. I guess it was a bit of a rebellious decision.

You’re playing at a few festivals this year; Y Not and Boomtown Fair, to name a couple. Have you been to either of them before?
I’ve been to Y Not; it’s great because it’s a big festival with big names, but it’s so close to home it has this familiarity, and a lot of people from Nottingham go there. You always bump into people or see musicians you’ve heard about in your area. I played Y Not a few years ago, but that was an acoustic stage, so it’s really nice to be invited back to play a proper big stage. With Boomtown, I’m just so chuffed. I don’t even know how I got on it to be honest.

I played 2Q festival last month, and I’ve just been given The Great Escape down in Brighton which is there to showcase emerging colours. Great for someone like me who’s just breaking into the scene. I’ve got Green Meadows Festival, Boomtown, Splendour and Y Not festival. Those are the ones I can confirm.

Have you done the festival circuit as a performer before?
I did a couple last year, but this is the first time I’ll be playing a few in one year. If I’m honest, the thing I’m most looking forward to is watching other really great bands, and being able to talk to them backstage. I love meeting people and learning about what their story is. It’s more behind the scenes I’m really excited about.

One thing I hate about festivals, though, is the toilets. I think in my old age I’m going to be the sort of person that would invest in glamping. Maybe when I start making more money from music.

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My woman would be Amy Winehouse, I love her so much. I love her honesty. She said what she wanted and I love that realness and rawness. Her life was so tragic and her music reflected what was happening which made it so powerful. I think these days people are scared to say what they really think because it might be too political or controversial. I like people that have an opinion and the credibility to back it up. In terms of songwriters, I would love to collaborate with somebody like Ed Sheeran; he’s such a talented writer and a real grafter, he worked so hard and it shows that persistence pays off.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to LeftLion readers?
I’m going to be releasing some new singles, hopefully two this year. I’m trying to work on sharing my music online and via social media; unless you’re reaching out to people on all corners of the planet, you aren’t going to have an impact on the bigger picture. It took me a while to realise that. I was very community-focused, but now I’d like to get involved in bigger UK projects, and even global projects.

I’m happy that I’ve settled on a sound I’m happy with. There’s a lot of bad things happening in the world right now and, as cheesy as it sounds, I just want people to collaborate. That’s something you can do through music.

Bud on Soundcloud

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