We caught up with Leddra Chapman ahead of her new single release ‘Summer Song’. (June 28th ACL Music LTD)
Tell us about your new single ‘Summer Song’
I wrote it around May last year. I wanted to write a song that reflected how people feel when it starts getting lighter in the evenings and everyone starts getting their barbeques out and chilling out with friends. The time when everyone’s mood is lifted by the change of weather. That’s what I wanted to represent in the song.
How long have you been writing songs for and how did you start?
I’ve been writing songs since I was about 13 or 14. I started playing guitar at 12 and learnt my first few chords and some covers, then I guess I got bored with covers and started to come up with my own ideas and melodies and that’s when I started writing songs.
Talk us through the process of writing songs, do you start with a chord progression first or maybe lyrics?
It really depends. Sometimes I’ll come up with a nice chord progression and it could take me a few weeks to put a melody and lyrics to it. Sometimes if I’m really in the mood to write it’ll all come together and I’ll write it all at the same time. Sometimes I’ll have lyrics for months and I can’t put the right music to it and I’ll go into a writing session with somebody else and they’ll show me a piece of music they’ve been working on and I’ll feel it will go really well with the lyrics I’ve been working on and we’ll come up with something together, it varies.
You’ve been compared to artists such as Alanis Morrisette and Joni Mitchell how do you feel about being likened to these kinds of singer songwriters?
They are both massive inspirations to me, I’ve been in love with both of them since I was a little girl so to even be mentioned in the same sentence as them is quite amazing. I feel very proud to be compared to them.
You sound very English when you sing. Do you think it’s important for singers to sing in their natural accent?
I think it depends on the singer. There are a lot of singers who don’t sing with their accent but I don’t think that’s necessarily because they’re putting it on, it’s just what is natural for them when they’re singing. But for me I can’t sing in any other accent than the way I talk. I don’t particularly like it when people try and emphasise their own accent too much so it sounds too English or too American. But I think everybody has their own style when it comes to singing, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as when they’re talking. But for me it is!
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
I’d love to collaborate with someone who does a very different style of music to me. Maybe someone like Jamie T. I do a cover of his song ‘Sheila’. I’d love to collaborate with him. Or maybe a rock band, someone like The Strokes or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Tell us a little about your association with Quicksilver.
Quicksilver found me two years ago on MySpace. They found me in the singer songwriter chart. They wrote to me saying they were looking for female ambassadors. So we had a meeting and we really hit it off. They’re such a good company to be associated with, everyone who works there is really cool and fun to be around.
You mentioned MySpace, you’re actively involved with social networking. Do you think it’s important to stay connected to your fan base in this way?
Yeah I love my Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, anybody who writes to me I always reply to them, it’s really important to me. It’s a very tough industry, and there are times when aspects of it can get you down. When you see some of the messages people leave you, it makes it everything so worthwhile.
Your song ‘Story’ that’s in an unusual time signature?
Yeah, the verses are in 5/4 and the chorus is in 6/8.
How did that come about? You don’t hear that in a lot of songs.
I co wrote the song with Peter Vetesse, who did the album with me. It was one of those situations that I was explaining earlier, where I had the lyrics and all of the melody already planned and we worked on a chord progression. I don’t think it started in 5/4 at all but it was all about the lyrics and melody fitting around the time signature and before we knew it, it was in 5/4!
You mentioned your producer Peter Vetesse, he’s worked with some amazing artists, what was it like working with him?
Absolutely amazing he’s one of my biggest inspirations, he’s a real mentor to me. When I get into a room and start writing with him I write like I’ve never written before. He definitely brings out the best in me as a writer.
What’s next for Leddra Chappman?
I’ve got the single release on the 28th of June, then lots of gigs over the summer. Some in Holland and in Switzerland with Quicksilver and some cool festivals too.
‘Summer Song’ is out 28th June 2010 on ALC Music LTD
Also check out Leddra’s debut album ‘Telling Tales’