You know all those tips lists that arrive at the end of every year, talking about who's gonna be making waves over the following twelve months? When do you reckon people start putting them together? It must be like, November right? No, it's not November. It's now, August. Still in the middle of a thundery heatwave August. Currently riding high in Dork's very boring (spreadsheet) but also very exciting (new bands) potential tipees list, we've got Holly Humberstone, who's already having a storming 2019-20, with huge 'streaming' 'numbers', buzzy festival sets, humongous support slots, and big old headline dates of her own. 2021 is hers for the taking. In the meantime, introduce yourself to one of the UK's best new singer-songwriters, and give her lovely new EP 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel' a listen.
Hi Holly, how's it going? Are you having a good day?
Hi! I'm good thanks, currently up in North Wales visiting my grandma and spending time with my family and enjoying the sunny weather.
Congrats on your new EP, how exciting - how long have you been putting it together for? What was the process like?
Thank you! It feels like I've been putting this EP together for a really long time. I started writing for the EP about two years ago, and back then I was still discovering who I was within the music I was making, and it has taken me a really long time to home in on my musical identity. I think it took writing lots of songs and experimenting before putting together this body of work that really feels like me.
Is there a particular vibe you like to aim for with your songs, or topics you like visiting?
I think a lot of the time when I'm writing I just aim to be as honest and as real as possible. I mostly write about my relationships, and my feelings about things and the songs are basically me trying to work through the stuff in my head and trying to make sense of things. Sometimes sitting down to write feels like a therapy session; it helps me to figure out how I feel about things.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a musician?
I grew up in a really creative household, and so I was always encouraged to play music and be artistic by my parents as a child. I remember writing songs when I was pretty small just for fun and just never really stopped. I don't remember actually deciding I was going to pursue music as a career, so it's really cool how I get to do my hobby every day for work.
Can you remember what your first experiences going to gigs were like?
I remember my first gig so well. I was probably about thirteen and my two elder sisters took me to see Tame Impala in Nottingham. All I remember is being so tiny compared to everyone else there and feeling like I was genuinely going to be squished amongst crowds of over-excitable 20-year-old white boys. I love Tame Impala, but sadly I don't remember the music as I was just in survival mode the whole time, haha.
Some of the shows you've played already have been proper massive, do any stand out as particular highlights?
I think supporting Lewis Capaldi at Wembley has to be a highlight gig for me. I had just got back from the European tour with him and got awfully drunk with my sister, only to be woken up at the crack of dawn by my manager the next morning telling me I was doing Wembley the next day. I was still exhausted from the tour, and I was pretty delirious on stage but was loving it the whole time. Also, the feeling after I had played the set was pretty unbeatable.
It's lovely you recorded your video for 'Overkill' with your sister Eleri, do you come from a creative family?
I'm one of four sisters, and we're all really creative in our own ways. Two of them study English, and my younger sister Lucy is really into making jewellery and upcycling clothes. My dad was always really obsessed with poetry, and I remember I used to make up little tunes to the poetry on the piano.
How was the shoot? Do you enjoy collaborating with others?
The shoot for 'Overkill' was actually really fun. Obviously, because of COVID, we couldn't make a really pro video so we decided we'd try and make a really DIY homemade-looking video rather than trying to make it look slick and failing. We took a flip VHS film camera out into a forest near our home, and she had me follow her around in the dark whilst lip-syncing to 'Overkill'. If you look closely enough at the video, you'll probably see me tripping a lot.
What would you most like to achieve during your music career?
I think I'd just like to keep on writing music I love, and that feels genuine and true to me. Also going on a big European tour with Lewis Capaldi has really inspired me, and having that for myself would be really cool.
What inspires you, both in music and in life?
Lots of things can inspire me. I like to write a lot about my own experiences but also If I have nothing interesting going on in my life it's cool to write about stuff my friends are going through, but I can only really write successfully about real stuff that is happening. Songs come about in weird ways sometimes, I'll jot down interesting lyrics or cool things I see that might inspire me when I'm going about my day.
EP aside, what have you got coming up over the next few months? Have you thought much about 2021 yet?
I'd love to just keep writing and releasing more music throughout 2021, and maybe even some touring which really excites me.
Tell us a secret about yourself?
Hmm, maybe that I'm secretly a massive nerd? I absolutely love adventure stories like the hobbit and Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter and stuff like that. One day I really want to get a tattoo in the LOTR elf language which is pretty embarrassing, but I can't help but love it for some reason.
Holly Humberstone's new EP 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel' is out now.