'Cocoon' is now a month old. It took me over two years to make - to put together a complete body of work that I'd be comfortable and proud to call my debut album.
I've had lots of people ask about the recording process - how the album came to be. So I've put together this little track-by-track to give you all an insight into the recording process.
'Freestyle' was the first track I wrote for the album and for me, it's the one that most sums up my sound. For that reason, it had to come first on the album.
I've always thought it has a slightly different feel to the other tracks on the album and I think that's because I was uninhibited at the time I started writing it. I had no expectations of what it would be, no idea where the album would take me, I just wrote and let the ideas fall onto the page, it was all very natural.
'Neon' is like a first love for me, I'll always have a soft spot for it and never tire of performing it live. The intro always gives me goose bumps and fills me with adrenaline to go out on stage.
'Neon' is also one of the tracks I'm most proud of lyrically because it's not that easy to decipher what it's about, I love a bit of mystery and all things cryptic and that was my goal with it.
'Secret' was a bit of an 'accidental' single. I went in for a day at the studio not really knowing whether it would be a good day or a bad one and then we just wrote 'Secret', so I guess it was a good one! ;) I also remember the studio having several sweet jars in it that day, so I think the whole day was spent on a MASSIVE sugar high, which might explain why the track is so uplifting?! In fact, most of this album probably wouldn't have been finished without the help of red bull and a few sweets! :)
'Colourblind' signifies a bit of a turning point for me. On reflection, I feel like half of the album was written by one person and half by another. It was one of the main reasons I called it 'Cocoon'; I felt as though I went on a real journey and grew as a person/artist and writer. 'Colourblind' came from the heart and still feels really special to me and takes me right back to a particular moment.
Like a Drug
'Like a Drug' is actually a sad song! It's about how a relationship can be too extreme; one minute an overwhelming high, and the next toxic and destructive. I love a good ballad but for me 'tears on the dancefloor' tracks are so much more powerful. My favourite example is Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own' it's SUCH a tune, but lyrically really sad. That's how I see 'Like a Drug', it's also so fun to perform live and always gets the crowd going!
It Isn't Enough
This was actually originally written for Dreamtrak's project, not mine, but I loved it so much I stole it, haha! Writing with Dreamtrak is always so much fun and very creative, we also lose hours of the day chatting about anything and everything, maybe we should write a book?!
I wrote 'Surrender' with Bright Light Bright Light and like 'Freestyle', it was one of the earlier tracks to be written for the album. BLBL is incredibly musical and really pushed me on this track as I was quite shy and nervous writing with new people at the beginning, but I'm so glad he did because we came up with something quite special. I only have two true ballads on the album and this is the first.
I took a risk with 'Warrior', I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone and like 'Neon', I wanted to write a song that was lyrically strong and 'visual'. I always refer to 'Warrior' as my 'Bond Soundtrack' I love the way it grows as it goes along and particularly the use of percussion and strings throughout.
Shoot the Bullet
I'm a huge fan of The Sound of Arrows and one day was sent the backing track of 'Shoot the Bullet' by the lovely Stefan Storm and could not contain my excitement. I wrote the track there and then in about 20 minutes and ended up being late for dinner with a friend - totally worth it. Excitement (and sugar) is my best friend when it comes to writing, the energy and adrenaline takes over and ideas just seem to flow. That was certainly the case with STB.
I love 'Heartbeat' because I get to do my 'M&S food advert' voice on the spoken lyric. It's so hard not to burst out laughing when you're trying to record 'breathy, talking vocals' because you feel like an idiot! Being in a vocal booth opposite Devils Gun (who are brilliantly mental btw) p*ssing themselves laughing does not help much either! I think that bit probably has the most outtakes of any track I've recorded to date. It was a lot of fun to make though!
'Angel' is one of the 'darker' tracks on the album and for that, I love it! The production is full of energy and it's a great one to perform live, I also vocalled it in a shed because DG's studio was being worked on at the time. We had to keep stopping takes because of lawn mowers or owls on the roof..and they say the music biz is glamorous?! :)
Overcome by the Rhythm
'Overcome by the Rhythm' was the first track I wrote with the wonderful French man Fabien Waltmann. Fabien always begins songs on the guitar and I loved this way of writing because it really frees the space for an amazing melody. It's also hilarious hearing the jibberish you come out with before you have any lyrics. I'd like the next song we write to be entirely in French, that'd be cool :)
This is second true 'ballad' on my album and it's probably the only real 'tear-jerker' I've written for it. Everyone goes through a bit of pain in their lives at some point, I'm just lucky I can vent it into a song; you win some, you lose some.
Tears in the Rain
I wanted to end the album with a special song and that's why I chose 'Tears in the Rain'. I wrote this one again with Stefan Storm and lyrically I've always found it quite moving. We wrote the lyrics in a café in London Bridge on a beautiful sunny (coffee filled) day and I just remember the energy of that moment and knowing we were creating something beautiful. There are days when you realize how lucky you are and that was definitely one of those.
So, there you have it; Cocoon, start to finish, made with love.