First of all can you tell us a little bit about yourself - who is Wilted Flower?
I am Michaela Woods aka Wilted Flower and I am a 22 year old musician and poet based in Nottingham. I’m originally from Surrey, but I moved to London to study music at university where I met my partner and once we graduated we moved up where she’s from which landed me in beautiful Nottinghamshire. I’m constantly amazed by how much cheaper it is up here! But yeah, aside from music and writing I love gaming, cats and going to gigs.
Where does the name Wilted Flower stem from? No pun intended…
It comes from the first line of my first poetry book, No Longer A Wordless Book. The specific line is: “I feel like a Wilted Flower, I was once beautiful to someone then I died inside”. I just felt like it was a really good fit for my ongoing projects - both poetry and music. I knew I wanted to write and perform under a different name, as I’ve developed a lot from when I first released music. Eventually I’d like a band behind me so felt it’d be better to be under a different name.
When did you first start recording and writing your own music?
I first start writing when I was around twelve or thirteen, and it started as poetry mostly, and then I picked up a guitar a few years later and the two naturally just merged. I recorded and released my first EP Scratched Out Features in college when I was sixteen, and that was my first experience releasing something properly - I’d done covers on SoundCloud before that, and I’ve been writing and growing ever since. I’ve definitely been writing more recently and I’m already thinking about what I’ll be recording and releasing next after the album. Busy busy busy.
Your album Grow in the Dark is coming out in September, how has the process been and what we can expect from it?
It’s my debut album, which is really exciting. It was recorded and mixed by one of my best friends, Rank Music, who did my first EP, so it means a lot to me. I always feel a lot more comfortable working with people I know, because my music is very personal, surrounding grief and mental health issues. I’m really proud of this record and some amazing musicians have helped me out - it was nice to involve more people and other instruments for this record, because I can’t do it all myself and really enjoy other people’s take on my songs. I’ve absolutely loved allowing them creative control for the instrumentation, that’s been a new but amazing experience for me. In terms of what to expect, it’s definitely a mixed bag both topically and musically. I’ve tapped into my more rocky side, as that’s mostly what I listen to, which was a lot of fun, and I’m very much looking forward to bringing my electric guitar and pedals out of retirement for live shows. I would also say it’s rough around the edges, which I like because I am too - I don’t believe in perfection. It’s not all doom and gloom, though - there’s even a love song, so something for everyone I’d say. My second poetry book Grow in the Dark: a collection of words & lyrics, is out on Sunday 1 September, too.
Who are your musical influences and inspirations?
My main musical inspirations, especially lyrically, are Keaton Henson and then Elena Tonra from Daughter. I love how honest and raw they both are in their writing and I’ve been lucky enough to see both artists live and they really keep that rawness when they perform, which is what I always aim to do.
I see you are playing at Mind Fest at Alberts on Sunday 10 November. Is the Mind charity something that's close to your heart?
Mindfest is being organised by my wonderful brother-in-law, Aaron Juska-Bowes, and I could not be more excited for it. It’s a cause very close to my heart as I suffer from multiple mental illnesses myself, and know and love so many other people who do too. As a result, mental health issues are a common theme in all my writing, and it’s something that more people need to be aware of and talk about, so I’m honoured to be taking part. The line-up is stacked with local talent so absolutely grab a ticket and come down if you can. Some notable mentions for me are Adam Zareba, Catch Fire and Luke Rainsford, but every band playing is truly incredible and definitely worth your time, in support of such a great cause.
What does music mean to you?
Music is and always has been my outlet and I’d be truly lost without it. Even if songs never get released, the process of writing them is so healing for me. The same goes for poetry, especially when I struggle mentally. I experienced grief and all the complex feelings that come with it for the first time when I lost my dad a few years back. I’m also always inspired by other people’s words and my hope is I can do the same for people who hear or read my words. Music can have that power to make people feel less alone. But yeah, I wouldn’t be who I am without the music I’ve heard and written myself over the years, it’s a magical thing really.
What other local bands/musicians should we be keeping an eye out for?
As I mentioned before, absolutely Adam Zareba – a talented musician and such a lovely guy. I recently played the Bodega Acoustic sessions, also with Adam, and was absolutely blown away by JJ Lovegrove, so definitely check her out if you haven’t already. Joey Collins has a record coming out soon, and he’s definitely one to watch. I’m relatively new to the vibrant Nottingham scene myself but they are the names that spring to mind.
What's the best gig you've ever played?
The best gig I’ve ever played is a tough one because I truly value and love every single time I get on stage, and I feel my best is yet to come. But it’d have to be playing the Camp Reuben tent at 2000trees - it was the first time I’d ever played in a festival setting, and Camp Reuben were raising money for Samaritans and Help Musicians UK, which I loved. It was an early morning set but so many people turned up to support me and it was such a beautiful moment. I remember coming off stage and feeling really proud of how far I’d come, which is a rare feeling for me.
Grow in the Dark is released on 22 September
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