A lot of female songwriters exist out there…
but one gets something fresh and enticing when it comes to Magenta. I have been speaking with her (Hannah) about the amazing new single, Circles, and whether more material is arriving later – she recommends a few artists worth a closer look.
Magenta talks to me about playing with her band and what exciting plans she has coming up; three albums that mean a lot to her; the advice she would offer new songwriters of the moment – she ends the song by choosing a current track for our delectation.
Hi, Hannah. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi Sam! I’m well, thanks. Right now, I’m walking in the Yorkshire Dales and having a little R’n’R time. I have my single launch next week which is exciting - and a lot to sort out ahead of that!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hello. I’m Magenta. I’m an emerging singing songwriter from London. My debut single, Circles, is out on 8th June!
How did the persona of ‘Magenta’ come to be? What does it represent to you?
It’s my middle name, straight up.
Circles is your debut single. Is there a story behind the track?
The lyrics are very personal: about an ex-boyfriend of mine. Sometimes, when writing songs, the lyric and the melody just come together but, in this instance, I’d been writing with an Irish chap Rob Shiels on another song and we had about fifteen minutes before he had to leave for the airport...
I had these lyrics/thoughts on a computer, in no particular order, and he started strumming the guitar, and then I started singing and the song just came out in almost one go…we had a few tweaks when we listened back, but it was pretty fully-formed. Rob came up with the “I try walking in straight lines” lyric, which I think is the clever lyric in the song.
Will there be more material coming later in the year?
Most definitely, the next single will be Look Good in Blue, out in September. I’m also crowd-funding to release an E.P.
I have a song Japan, co-written with the wonderful Michael Garvin (twenty-three number-ones, including George Benson's Never Give Up on a Good Thing and Jennifer Lopez’s Waiting for Tonight) - out on Michael’s album later this year.
I believe you have been involved in music a while. What enforced the decision to move into music and record your own material?
Actually, I have been writing for fun for the last few years and a friend started training to be a life-coach and, through conversations with her, it emerged that this was something worth exploring. So, here we are!
It took a few weeks for the idea to sink in and them to start visualising what might happen.
Which artists inspire you most in terms of your own sound?
Joni Mitchell, The Bird and the Bee; The Cardigans, Sigrid and early-Madonna. I really want to listen to more Leonard Cohen.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
I’m having a launch party for my single, Circles, on 7th June in Shoreditch. After that event, I’m sure I will want to do it all again! To find out when the next gig will be, follow my Facebook or my join my mailing list.
If we came and saw you play; what would the live show consist of in terms of material and feel?
I’m told I have an “emotive British sound”. Expect well-written songs and a heartfelt performance: think Dusty Springfield, Adele and Barbra Streisand. My band is brilliant - they are predominantly Jazz musicians, so you get these lovely grooves and ornamentation creep into the playing. I’ll name-drop them quickly, too, so you can check out Matt Carter (Piano), Seth Tackaberry (Bass) and Bubu (Drums); Luca Harb (Guitar) and Gillian Mott (Violin).
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Keep on honing my craft and writing songs. Keep my head above water (smiles).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have so many.
When I was younger, I sang in a youth choir and that bedded in so many amazing memories - working with inspiring conductors who showed us how to appreciate music and exposed us to so many great styles of music; making a beautiful and brilliant sound.
For me, it’s always about collaboration.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Air - Moon Safari
Every instrumental line in that album is totally sing-able.
Kate Bush - Ariel
The production is just amazing - an album I wish I had made. You can hear the craft coming out of it.
It’s so hard to choose only three; I’d have to say either Joni Mitchell – Blue
It’s so lyrically-dense and wonderful - some early-Madonna which is just full of hooks, or Michael Jackson, for the same reasons.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Listen and write as much as you can. Find your tribe of fellow songwriters. Love music!
IN THIS PHOTO: Jacob Collier/PHOTO CREDIT: Betsy Newman Photography
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
He’s not so new anymore, but some people may not have heard of the amazing Jacob Collier.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not really! I listen to music to unwind: Jazz and Classical. I try to get out into nature and go on long walks when I can, too.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
At the moment, I’m listening to Charlie Puth’s new album - I really rate him and I love straight-up Pop.