THE gorgeous and fascinating…
Avante Black is someone everyone needs in their life! The talented musician talks tome about her new single, Acid Love. I ask about its story and whether it was based on real events. She talks about future plans and the differences between the music in Sweden and the U.K. – Avante Black has Swedish roots. I discover what she has planned for Christmas and how her music comes together.
I learn more about her future plans and artists that inspire her; the sounds she was growing up with; where we can see her perform - and what she would say to any musicians emerging at the moment.
Hi, Avante. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, I’m very well, thank you! My week’s been alright, so far - the weather has been a beaut!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m from a town called Uppsala in Sweden. I have been living in London for a few years. My work is a changing reflection of how it is to be young in love/out of love in this city…
…and about life here in general.
Tell me more about Acid Love. What is the story behind the song?
I had just found new love and, this time, it was a feeling I had never experienced before.
There are, so often, so many insecurities when you give yourself to someone; however, this time, I felt confident - and I felt like laying it all out there completely.
It has already gained love from BBC – and many people online. Is it quite humbling and pleasing knowing the song has resonated so readily?!
It’s so scary exposing your feelings so widely but, when people respond to it positively, there is no greater award.
Do you have plans for an E.P. next year? What are you working on at the moment?
I have this group of songs that will form the E.P. At the moment, I’m looking back at a lot of experiences for inspiration.
I’m getting ready to open myself up even more...
PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Jones
This year has been a busy and memorable one for you! Is there a single memory that stands aside from the rest?
I remember, up in Nottingham in May, when I sang a song that has not yet been released; there were three people in the front just singing along to it - and I was like: ‘How do you guys know the words?!’.
It was amazing!
You have Swedish roots – but are based in London. What is the music scene like in Sweden – compared to the U.K. – and how much of your family/background do you bring to your musical ethos?
The music scene in Sweden is so different and so amazing...
I feel like genres are less significant: people just write and combine anything and end up with these amazing creations. It continues to surprise and amaze me. My dad used to be in a band called LSD in the 1960s. 'The L’ was a brutish pound. Sometimes, they’d play a reunion in our living-room, playing John Lee Hooker covers etc. My mum was more into lyrics and I grew up to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Marianne Faithful.
However, I didn’t get into playing until I was fifteen/sixteen years of age. Before then, I was already aiming to learn Arabic and study Law. After a year in London; that goal changed drastically.
Can you recall the first time music came into your life? Was there a single/artist that struck your heart at an early age?
I think there are so many artists that struck me at the same time.
I think my first obsession was Tupac - when I was nine. I remember getting a T-shirt for Christmas. A few years later, it was Black Sabbath, and then, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen – they were always there from early age.
Sorry for the blurry answer: I find it hard to pick one!
I am interesting learning about an artist’s songwriting process. How do songs come together for you? Do you sit down and write songs – or do you rely on the muse of spontaneity?!
I rely on the instant feeling.
I might have gathered words, sentences or a melody - but most of my songs come along in the moment. I’m just practising my piano skills at the moment. As soon as I learnt a few chords from Same Drugs by Chance the Rapper; I started singing my own words and melodies over the same chords - and ended up with something new.
Sometimes; it’s like the songs write themselves.
I feel female artists are stronger and more interesting than their male peers – yet, most of my requests come from male acts! Do you think female artists still have to struggle for equality and attention?
I think we’re all as interesting…
Being a woman is harder in so many ways – though, that doesn't mean male artist don’t struggle, too. We’re in an amazing time with so, so many strong, talented and interesting female artists. To be honest, I hate having to divide the genders at all: an artist is an artist. If you write good songs and work hard it will show! The one problem might be not getting the right support.
Yet again, with the right motivation; you can create your own miracles.
Are there any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
I will play a very intimate show at the Servant Jazz Quarters (in Dalston) on 11th December.
IN THIS PHOTO: Average Sex/PHOTO CREDIT: Agnė Papievytė
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Oh…I hate this question - because I’ll change my mind as soon as I’ve sent this; but, I guess...
All Eyez on Me - Tupac
It was just such a big impact on me from early-on - and gave my young self a lot of confidence back in those days
Hung at Heart - The Growlers
I listened to it in-and-out over six months - and still am. Beach Rats will always be one of the best songs ever made.
Songs of Love and Hate - Leonard Cohen
I grew up on this album - and I think it defines me in so many ways.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Listen to advice but trust your guts. Keep working hard. Remember, as an artist, any backlash can be turned into something beautiful.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I’m going to the South of Wales on Christmas Eve - and will spend a few days drinking cask ales and eating my body-weight in Christmas food.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Well. My friends always end on this one when they D.J. - so I might steal it. Sorry, Max!
Macy Gray - I Try
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