PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russel
Eliza is available via:
Isle of Wight, U.K.
20th October, 2017
ONE of the reasons I am going after…
PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russell
review subjects – rather than people coming to me – is because I get to investigate artists that fulfil all of my ‘criteria’. By that, I mean I want to discover acts who have a ready supply of images and enough information; music that gets into the head and differs from the mainstream – musicians who take a unique approach to promotion; have a personality that strikes the heart. In the case of Lauran Hibberd; she is someone I have been interested in for a while. Before I come to look at her latest song; I will look at a number of different issues. I want to discuss youth and the importance of fostering those who show promise at a tender age; personality and identity in music; female artists and how important they are right now – a bit about pushing your music and ensuring everything reaches the right people. I have been listening to Hibberd’s music for a while and something about it stirs me. For one thing; the youthfulness of Hibberd is something that leaps off the page. I often look at artists and wonder how young talent manage to get good so quickly. There are few out there who manage to reach a level of competence and ability not long out of their teens. Hibberd is in her early-twenties and delivers a sense of professionalism those twice her age would struggle to do. We often assume music is for the young but in this age – when it is easy to get songs online and find an audience – people of all ages are getting into the business. It can be quick dangerous putting a lot of pressure on very young artists. Journalists and fans find someone very young and hopeful – the expectation gets to them and they struggle to cope with all the focus and hype. In the case of Lauran Hibberd; she is someone who has been in music for a while but is not going to allow the pressure to get to her. For one thing, there is a real sense of command and confidence in her music.
PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russell
She is not a nervous and tentative musician hanging by a thread: the way she delivers her material suggests there are many more years ahead for her. I wanted to mention age and youth because it is something that should not be overlooked. I worry there is not a great deal of longevity in music: so many arrive with promise and seem to fade away a few years down the line. Maybe that is a sign of the modern times and the unpredictability of music. I am concerned we are looking for a musician to come along and remain on the scene forever; be that new hero/heroine that changes things – we are often left disappointed. Maybe that is down to a lack of true talent – perhaps the market does not foster long-term potential – but I feel those with genuine flair and hope get left behind. If I were to encounter someone like Hibberd – and was in a position to drive and mould her career – I would take every measure to protect her and guide her down the right path. She is not someone who will make foolish decisions but, at the same time, is a songwriter who could be in music for many years to come. I feel it is her youthful energy and perspective of the world that really gets to me. Hibberd views things differently and, with open eyes and a broad heart, she is one of our most promising songwriters. One wonders where she will go from here and how her career will progress. These next few years will be pivotal for her. The chance for international touring and albums; getting into the mainstream media and moving into the spotlight – this all waits for Hibberd. With that in mind, considering how far she can go, there is a mixture of optimism and wariness. I feel Hibberd will grow as a songwriter and make some incredible albums but I am also aware she will have a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Hibberd is a smart and mature artist - but I hope she gets the support of a record label/P.R. company to take her music far and ensure her route is clear.
It is rare to discover someone outside of London with so much promise. That sounds rather negative and patronising but, as I have shown in previous reviews, the focus seems to be on London. In Hibberd’s case; she is based out of the Isle of Wight/Hampshire and that is an area with some terrific musicians. Many of us do not look outside big cities and assume there is a scene anywhere else. It is not the case those areas with more opportunities and money possess the best artists. In the case of Lauran Hibberd; it is her personality and warmth that transcends the ordinary and elevates her music to rare heights. Maybe it is the fact Hibberd is outside of London that means she has less stress on her plate and is allowed to breathe. I know there are fewer big venues in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire – some great smaller spots but not the same sort of scope you’d get in larger cities. I am interested in smaller counties/areas of the U.K. and wonder whether environment and home create a distinct type of music and approach from an artist. Lauran Hibberd is a big personality and infuses her sounds with a range of different emotions. So much of new music is sterile and faceless: new artists tend to have quite a rigid façade and lack any real depth. There are some who produce music that differs from the pack but there are too many who lack bite and colour. That could not be further from the truth concerning Hibberd. She is a complex and fascinating woman who puts her experiences on the page and ensures each track leaves you wanting more. She is still very young but that does not mean she has little knowledge of love and its complexities. She sees the world around her and has a keen eye and sense of observation.
PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russell
I am looking around music and lusting after artists who have that sustain and innate difference. I listen to the radio and what I am hearing is a mixture of interesting musicians and those who seem to lack any real conviction and D.N.A. What I want is an artist who can sing common themes but add a new spin to them; take a new approach and forge unusual angles in their sounds – a talent that goes the extra mile and can get under the skin. As I said; there are some who do that but so many people are in music at the moment – it can be challenging identifying those who have that special touch. Hibberd is definitely among the elite. She has a great attitude to work and a songwriting style that brings her (compelling and varied) personality into the mix; fuses that with common themes of heartbreak and contemplation – detaching from the ordinary and bringing the listener into their world. THAT is what everyone should seek from music: artists who create a little universe but manage to provide some familiarity with it all. It may seem like a complex brew but I know there are artists out there who fulfil the criteria. Lauran Hibberd ensures each of her songs differs from the last and has a real sense of fascination and nuance. I am not sure who she grew up listening to but there is a range of sounds and artists working away. I can hear some of the Folk greats and modern-day Indie artists. Before I move onto my next point; I want to applaud Hibberd for her accomplishments and achievements so far. She has been featured by CLASH and seen her music played on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6 Music and many other stations; got some terrific write-ups and supporting the likes of Clean Cut Kid.
Lauran Hibberd is, as you can guess, a female musician. I have touched on this point but am still seeing a lot of sexism in the industry. I alluded to this when I reviewed False Advertising – the fact we are still seeing an imbalance and a lack of opportunities for female artists. Hibberd is an artist who has been provided some chances and given attention – I wonder whether her gender means she will be prohibited from areas her male peers will gain free reign to. At the moment, her youth is one of her biggest assets, I think. There is that energy and spirit but many might look at her and feel, because she is a woman, she is not able to cope with the demands of the industry put before her. As her career progresses and things get better for her; I am concerned there will be doors closed because she is female. We are still seeing this issue crop its head up in 2017. One would hope, this far down the line, there will be less of this sexism circulating. We are in a time when the news is being filled with accusations of sexual abuse and big stars caught out. Maybe that is not a new thing but, considering the controversy and storm that is in our midst; one would think that gives concern to other areas of the world. In music, there are problems and plenty of things we need to address: it is not only the entertainment/film side of things that have curses. Sexism is a big problem and one we seem no closer to curing. There is no good reason why this problem exists. A lot of the finest music around is being produced by female musicians; they have the same qualities as make artists and are in the same position. It seems baffling they are subjected to sexist attitudes and oppression. I have spoken to many female artists who feel they are not being afforded the chances their male colleagues are.
Hibberd may not have witnessed the real depths of depravity and judgement others have but, considering she is a bright young hope of music – I fear her gender and beauty might be sticking points. It seems a lot of labels and sources define female artists by their looks and gender. They celebrate them if they are beautiful and promote their sexuality. It seems music and what they are saying is second to how they look and the effect they will have on people. When it comes to gig opportunities and being out higher on the bill: how many female artists are given that golden access?! I shall leave it be in a minute but am irate we still have to discuss sexism. It should not be a problem in 2017 and I wonder whether it will cause a lot of great artists to retreat from music and be hidden from view. Not to put all these concerns at Hibberd’s feet – she is someone who is aware of these ills and will shoulder any problems with dignity and a resolute soul. I hope she does not fall prey to the murky swamp of music and find herself facing sexism and resistance. Her music is incredible and deserves all the love in the world. It is a side of music I wanted to address because, with every female musician I encounter, I have a niggling worry they will face some kind of problem. There is a lot to recommend about Hibberd and her music. She is a young woman who has a real maturity and knowledge of the industry. She has an ethereal voice and it makes me wonder how she acquired that. I have alluded to influences and who she might have taken to heart when she was a child. That extraordinary voice could only come from someone who has drunk and consumed a wide array of artists and sounds. It is a complex and striking mixture that has tenderness and heart but an edge and caution playing underneath. Hibberd, when listening to her compositions, brings ideas of 1960s/1970s Folk with modern Indie and Pop; there are whispers of Soul and some fuzzed-out tones. It is a heady brew and one that will find a lot of fans down the line.
I am about to move on to the song in question but, before then, a word on Hibberd’s approach to social media and her online spread. I keep raising the point but there are so many artists out there who do not take the time and care to put their music out there. There are many more that have such an imageless sense of style and identity. It is sad seeing musicians who feel they can get away with a few crummy photos or a few fuzzy live shots. I do not expect a plethora of photos and shoots but feel there needs to be something done. I am getting annoyed how many people approach me and do not have photos on their Facebook page. They might have the odd shot but it is really insufficient in a modern age. I expect every artist to have at least a dozen photos because that is a more attractive prospect to a journalist. Even fans want to see who the musician is and get some visual clout. It is a little disappointing finding those who assume their music alone will beckon people in. Unless you are The Beatles in their heyday – and nobody in music is anywhere near – then you cannot get away with having so few photos on your pages. Everyone has a camera – or a phone with that facility – so there is no excuse negating this concern. Visuals are a very important aspect of music and those who underestimate its relevance are going to struggle. If a journalist wants to run a feature/interview with an artist; they will look for a selection of good images – if they want to do something detailed and deep. I find a lot of artists naively putting music out there and wanting to remain a ‘mystery’.
PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russell
It is rather sad discovering this attitude but, fortunately, Hibberd has a real eye for the camera and keen to put herself out there. One finds a selection of great images and a lot to catch the eye. It is marvellous for a journalist because there are a lot of options and pleasures. I can pick-and-choose some choice snaps and mix them together. It makes pieces a lot more illustrative and picturesque; it captures the imagination and gives a visual aspect to a feature/review. If you interview or review someone – and they do not have a choice of photos – then you struggle to fill gaps and it looks pretty dry and boring. I am glad the likes of Lauran Hibberd exist because they know what it takes to push forward in music – and why visuals/photos are so important. This consideration is not only reserved to photos. Hibberd has a great official website and provides the reader/listener a lot of information and backstory. In terms of music; she keeps people informed and makes it easy to find – across all the platforms and music-streaming sites. The more artists like Hibberd around; the more I am going to dive into music and take an interest in it. Those who ignore the need for visual representation – and have little information – cannot assume people will take them seriously. Music is a competitive business and favours those who take it seriously. Lauran Hibberd is a real contender and, alongside her talent and skills, she perfectly promotes her music; covers all bases and has a real sense of personality. All the aspects and layers of Lauran Hibberd make her a definite star to watch. One knows she will go far in the industry – this is just the start of things.
There is a real twang-and-drawl one discovers from Hibberd’s vocals on Eliza. Maybe there is an element of Kate Nash but, when listening closely, there is American influence working away. Some of the words do get pushed together too closely- it can be hard deciphering some as they do fall prey to indecipherability. That is a minor quibble from a song that starts with burst and races from the blocks. There is hard percussion and cute strings. Maybe the percussion signifies heartbeat but the drums have a real power and potency that inspire the vocals. Hibberd’s warm and rousing performance has a step and skip; she is talking about this other girl – wondering whether they (the boy/a friend) would like them better. One gets impressions of summer and moving through the city with Eliza. She, as I see, is a vivacious figure who has the world – and men – at her feet and is embracing its curiosities and pleasures. Maybe she is more confident or has a different aspect to her personality. This alter-ego lusting means the heroine is doubting herself and revealing her weaknesses. The baggy and worn jeans; the relative normalness and limitations – would the hero think of her rather than Eliza?! It is alarming and pleasurable encountering the first moments of the song. One wonders whether this new girl is based on real events or workings of Hibberd’s imagination. We all encounter a rival or other that makes us reflect and question our own strengths. Hibberd never drags the mood or provides darkness: everything has a racing smile and rushing wave. The vocal has its slur and drawl but it carries a lot of emotion and depth. I have mentioned how deep Hibberd is as a performer. Many might hear the voice and assume someone juvenile and inexperienced. What one actually hears is a wise and cultured singer who can turn phrase and bend language to extraordinary effect. Previous songs have investigate the young heroine as an older soul – too wise and mature; the need to embrace her young years. Here, we get a sense of being overlooked and passed over – maybe a younger model or happier soul is stealing attention from her shores.
It would be inadmissible thinking Hibberd is inferior to any other suitor but Eliza seems like this ideal girl who is more clean-cut and together. I do not know whether things worked out for the best but our heroine is looking at herself and wondering whether anyone would be drawn to her – the same way as they are with Eliza. It seems ‘she’ is part of pictures being taken from Hibberd’s wall: in the background at coffee shops and at bus stops; in the back of her thoughts and with her everywhere she goes. When one gets to the chorus – the girl’s name given special attention; each letter spel out – there are spacey synths among the pulsing drums. It is an intoxicating cocktail that gets into the brain. I wonder whether the heroine is satisfied with her lot and wants to change things. That might sound contradictory but I would not look at Hibberd and say she has any real to find negative. Maybe this anti-heroine seems like the kind of woman she wants to be. I wonder about perspective when Hibberd talks about pictures being taken from the wall. Eliza is in the back of every shot and never right in focus. Maybe she is a shyer sort but it seems, whatever the truth, it is causing our heroine to question her comfort and stability. More talking and less shopping; fewer doubts and more confidence – maybe these are things that will even the balance and find Hibberd on an equal plain with Eliza. The accelerated percussion and composition give the song a real skittishness and urgency. Hibberd’s vocal matches that: constantly pining and seeking answers; moving through movements and producing so many different questions. There is almost a Blues tone that mixes with Country and Folk. It is an alluring concoction that makes the song sunny and warm – there are clouds lingering over the horizon.
PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Russell
I have spoken a lot about Lauran Hibberd and various aspects of her music. There is that great balance of personality and music wonder. From the personal standpoint; one gets a real blast of warmth, complexity and fascination. There is love and sensitivity; colour and emotion – all manner of contrasts and contours. In terms of the music; there are incredible vocals and immense beauty; something that sounds familiar but can only stem from someone like Hibberd. She strikes me with her talent and natural ability. She is still young so the best days are still ahead but songs like Eliza lead me to believe Hibberd will be a big star in years to come. I will end things soon but feel there are so many positives one can attribute to Hibberd. She is based out of London but I feel she will remain in a big city very soon. For one thing; her music will get more exposure and attention if she is among the masses. From Hampshire/the Isle of Wight; there is a local base and appreciation. Her sounds have already resonated with stations across the U.K. so it is not like she is confined to local crowds. I wonder, if she was based in London or Manchester full-time, she would get the attention she deserves. Right now, she is doing things her own way and has a great and impressive support. I am looking forward to new material and cannot wait to see what comes next from Hibberd. There are so many female artists out there – many not getting the same chances as men – so the competition is hot. She plays The Islington (London) on 9th and played Sofar Sounds last night. There are other gigs before the end of the year – a few of them in London. It seems the plight and rise of Lauran Hibberd is exciting and unstoppable right now.
I know new music is brewing so I am excited to see what comes in 2018. There are great artists out there but none that have the same dynamic and qualities as Hibberd. She is someone who has a real work ethic and is keen to get her music to as many people as possible. Her songs have a relatable charm and strike the common soul. It is not surprising people are responding to it and following wherever she goes. I will continue to support her music and am pumped to see just how far she can go. Her past music suggests there is evolution and growth with every step. Eliza is a stunning song that demands repeated play and affection. What comes next is down to her but one knows it will be very special. The music industry always faces challenges and accusations but now, when other areas of entertainment are under close scrutiny, I am concerned not enough is being done to safeguard and foster people. Female musicians still face discrimination and young women coming into music at the greatest risk. Maybe Hibberd will be okay now, but I fear she will have to go through some tough times and have to fight harder compared to her male contemporaries. I recommend you all get involved with Lauran Hibberd’s music and discover someone who is on a real rise right now. These are exciting times and there are few who match her sense of entrance and beauty. That will continue for a long time to come! A terrific artist with a great attitude and music that is captivating people around the country – how long before she is a mainstream star? Maybe she does not want that exposure so soon but she might have to deal with larger focus and demands. Her music has the ability to find fandom around the world. I wonder whether this will be an aspect of her 2018? If that is so; how far, literally, can her songs travel?! It will be interesting to see because, in Lauran Hibberd…
WE have a definite star of the future.
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