Hattie Briggs heads for Sidmouth

Hattie Briggs, Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic.

Hattie Briggs, Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic. - Credit: Archant

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 nominee Hattie Briggs is appearing at the Sidmouth Fringe Sessions on August 3. Here the pop and folk singer-songwriter talks about her new album, her current UK tour and her Sidmouth show

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic.

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic. - Credit: Archant

Gloucestershire-based Hattie Briggs has just released her second album, Young Runaway.

“I’m very proud of it,” says the 24-year-old, who quit Oxford University in the second year of her Russian degree to concentrate on her musical career.

“I wanted to do something a bit different, and feel it’s an improvement on my first, Red And Gold. The songwriting is a step forward, there is more variation, and the production is more interesting and polished.

“I’ve been told it’s richer, more varied in musical texture and more optimistic, and I definitely agree. I’d say that was partly deliberate and partly unconscious.

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic.

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic. - Credit: Archant

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“The album has several themes, including water, freedom and adventure. The album’s title is a quote from a James Taylor song called ‘My Travelling Star’. He’s one of my heroes and the lyric reflects my decision to drop out of university and hit the road, doing music full-time.

“My favourite track is ‘Summertime Man’ – it’s so joyful and the production fits perfectly with the meaning of the song.”

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Hattie is a multi-instrumentalist who has been playing acoustic guitar and piano for many years.

“I took guitar lessons at school, but gave up when I was 15,” she says. “I got back into it at 17 when I started writing songs and have been gradually improving since then. I write about friends, family, places, ambition and living life in a positive way.

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic.

Hattie Briggs. Photo by Ian Wallman - IWPhotographic. - Credit: Archant

“My songs are inspired by people, places, relationships, events and stories. I compose on guitar, ukulele and piano. Sometimes I start with a lyric, sometimes with a riff, and then the rest happens simultaneously. I’m influenced by anything and everything, except for dubstep.

Hattie is currently promoting her new album with a UK tour. It includes a slot at the forthcoming Sidmouth Fringe Sessions.

“My tour is going really well,” she says. “Obviously at this stage of my career some shows are well attended and some aren’t, but I’ve really enjoyed travelling to new places and playing to all kinds of different audiences.

“The highlight for me so far has definitely been my launch gig at the Stroud Subscription Rooms at the end of March. A sell-out gig to 350 people, we performed as a seven-piece band, which was a first for me. There was so much love and support in that room, and I suddenly realised how far I’d come in the two years since turning professional.”

The Sidmouth show – at McBuzz’s Barn at Thorn Park, Salcombe Regis on Wednesday, August 3 – sees Hattie appearing as a duo with her guitarist/vocalist Jack Cookson, who is also a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Nominee 2016.

“I’ll mainly be playing songs from my new album and I’ll probably keep it fairly upbeat and summery,” she says.

Other acts appearing on the night include folk-rock band Haunt The Woods, pop-rock band Burnz and roots band CC Smugglers.

“It’s the first time I’ve played the Fringe Sessions and it was a nice surprise,” says Hattie. “I’ve heard really good things about the gig and know people who’ve performed there. I hear it’s a really friendly vibe. I’m looking forward to finding out the rest when I get there.”

Hattie Briggs’ new album, Young Runaway is out now on Wise Dog Records/Absoulte via Universal. More details: www.hattiebriggs.co.uk

For more about the Sidmouth Fringe, visit: www.sidmouthfringe.co.uk

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