I have been speaking with Kerri Watt…
about her new song, Never (written by Danny from Embrace), and whether there is more material coming down the line; why artists like Michael Jackson are important to her; how she finds the energy to keep recording and performing – she highlights some artists to look out for.
I ask Watt if she has anything she wants to achieve before the end of the year; if there are albums she holds especially dear; if she has a favourite memory from her time in music; when music came into her life – she ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Kerri. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I'm great and have had a brilliant week, thanks. It was my birthday this week; the release of my new single and in a couple of days I go on holiday, so all good things here.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi! I'm Kerri, a music artist from Scotland. I write songs from the heart drawing influences from the likes of Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt and The Rolling Stones. I play piano, guitar and host a radio show, The Americana Show with Kerri Watt, on Pulse FM here in Glasgow.
Never is your new track. Can you reveal the story behind the song?
Never is the first song I’ve released that I didn't actually write: it was written by Danny - the singer from the band, Embrace. Danny and I had been friends for a while and I’d worked with his brother and bandmates in various capacities, so it felt right to sing a song written by him. It's quite simply a love song about always being there for someone. The lyrics are extremely powerful.
Is it true Embrace played you the song and you added your own spin on it?
Absolutely. There have been a few versions of the song - Embrace ft. me (the duet); the orchestral version and now my own solo version. Interestingly enough, my version was first to be recorded and last to be released. The main difference between the duet and my version is the key...the vocals in mine start much lower and end at the top of my range. Need a good warm up before singing this one!
Do you think there will be more material coming next year?
Totally. I'm recently back from a month-long trip to Austin, Texas where I recorded a whole new body of work...due for release 2019.
You have been busy touring and recording the last few years. How do you find the drive and energy to keep going?! Do you feel you are at your most confident right now?
You know there are so many ups and downs. Last year, I played my first stadium show and a month later played to a handful of people in a pub. Keeps you grounded, though. I'm just so passionate about music and also entertainment; if I ever have a dip in energy it doesn't take much to get re-inspired. Plus, my best friend always gives me a good kick up the butt if I ever have a moan. I feel so fortunate to be living out my dreams daily and, with every new experience, I grow and feel more confident in my work.
When did music come into your life? Which artists did you fall for at a young age?
Music, for me, started with Michael Jackson. As a baby in my cot, my parents would put on the VHS of the Bad Tour and there are videos of me bopping my tiny bald head along. My first self-expression through music was actually dance. I just heard these rhythms and melodies that made me feel good and, for a long time, I trained and planned to be a dancer. Singing didn't come until much later...about fifteen/sixteen years old. And, not until I was twenty-three did I actually take it seriously and start writing.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
At the start of the year, I set myself five goals. And now, towards the end of August, I have achieved three - writing an album, presenting my own radio show and getting in great shape for a Spartan race I’ve got coming up. So, I have two goals left to complete and can't reveal until I’ve achieved them...but I’m on track!
Besides those goals, I have lots of work and preparation going into getting the new music ready for release next year. This involves music videos, band rehearsals and website make-over amongst other things.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
The most obvious is opening for Coldplay at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium last year with Embrace. We played two nights and it was pretty surreal.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison
He's my favourite songwriter of all time. His lyrics seem to transport me to another time and place. Maybe a place that only exists in the mind, I’m not sure…but the lyric content of this album is very ethereal. One of my favourite things to do is to daydream. I could get lost in the title track for hours and not know where the time went.
Eagles by Eagles
I lived in California for a time when I was growing up and have spent much time there since. In my mind, I live in 1970s Southern California, surfing; playing music on Sunset Strip and living the dream. This album takes me to that place...and can always snap me out of a bad mood within that first guitar chord.
Bad by Michael Jackson
As mentioned earlier, this was the start of music for me - not only music but dance, creativeness and the world of entertainment. It has everything to do with why I decided at a very young age I was going to be a performer.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Bonnie Raitt. I think she's the greatest and could teach me a thing or two about how to stay such a strong independent female artist for decades.
And rider...a personal Taco chef, ummm; some Cholula hot sauce and lots and lots of Haribo.
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
Yeaaa! I'm playing some dates in October round the U.K. opening for Tom Speight.
5th - Manchester, Gullivers
6th - Birmingham, Ort Cafe
11th – London, Thousand Island
More dates always being added so keep an eye on my website.
How important is it being on stage and performing? Is it the place you feel most comfortable?
It's the best place in the world. I feel comfortable and confident to be myself; to engage with an audience and bring together total strangers to share a moment.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Work hard. Some of it is luck but you need to be prepared when that luck finds you as you often only get one shot. Spend time figuring out what you like, what inspires you and what makes YOU feel good. If you stay true to that, other people will feel it too.
IN THIS PHOTO: Izzie Walsh/PHOTO CREDIT: Dawncast
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
IN THIS PHOTO: Fraser Watt
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yes. It's important to turn off sometimes and go out into the world to get re-inspired. I love hiking and exploring. I recently moved home to Scotland after twelve years away and have been loving adventuring in the hills and mountains any chance I get. I also love anything '70s-related and recently launched a collection of '70s retro clothing pieces I’ve been collecting from my travels around the world. The label is ‘killawatt’ and can be found on Instagram.
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).
Kaleo - Way Down We Go
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