Interview: Annabel Allum on writing from the heart

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Photo by Stephanie Carral

Up-and-comer Annabel Allum knows how to create music that hits you straight to the core — her newly released single 'You Got It Good' is a stirring release inspired by her friend's experience with mental illness. We had the chance to ask her about the single, songwriting and what she has planned for her new EP.

What are you currently up to?

Presently, I'm sitting in my garden drinking coffee. I've just been on tour with Alex Lahey for the past week, which has been really good fun, kind of just up and down the UK, and playing some solo shows. But yeah, I just released a single last week as well, which is good.

Congrats on 'You Got It Good'. It's such a stunning and moving single. What was the catalyst that led to you creating it?

I wrote 'You Got It Good' when my friend came to me, she was in a really low state and depressed, and she didn't really know what to do. I just said to her, "Don't worry, this will pass." It's a song that I've always wanted to write because I have a lot of friends that suffer from mental health and I've always wanted to be able to write about it and encourage people to talk to people and don't keep everything bottled up inside.

Does it ever make you nervous writing about a situation that's close to you, or something that a friend's gone through?

All my songs are all incredibly personal and they're all based on personal experiences or things that I've gone through, and I think I find that easier because it's me at my most honest state. I can be honest with my songwriting, whereas perhaps I can't in the real world. I wouldn't say I get nervous about it, I'd say I find it a relief and I find it a pure and natural thing to do.

So would you say it's easier to write about your own experiences or the experiences of those close to you, as opposed to crafting a narrative?

Yeah, I'd say so. Because it's something that I know the most about. I think it's much easier because I can relate to it a lot more, whereas if I was writing about people that I didn't know, I wouldn't be able to talk about them as I am with you now. It's more real, I guess.

Where are some of the other places you like to draw inspiration from when you're writing?

Day-to-day life. I've always picked up my guitar when I'm feeling something really deeply, something that I want to get together because I find it very hard to express my feelings, so the way that I do that is through writing. That's how I come to terms with how I'm feeling, is through writing. Other things I write about...occasionally I'll write about political situations. I've got a song called 'Rich Backgrounds', which I wrote about three years ago, and that song's about rich kids that buy themselves into the music industry and that sort of thing. Occasionally I write about them too (laughs).

Do you like to write constantly?

I feel really good afterwards when I write. I feel like I've achieved something. In fact, even if I just write something tiny every day, then I feel really good about it and it's kind of thinking about the bigger picture and just trying to progress as a songwriter as well and just try and hone in on my craft and get better at it. I'd say I try to write more than I don't try to write, even if it's just a shitty little song about the supermarket or something.

You've got a new EP coming this year, which is very exciting. How's it all going?

Really good. We finished up recording about two weeks ago, and we started recording in January, so it's kind of been on-and-off. In between playing shows, I've been hiding away in the studio, but yeah, I'm really, really happy with how it. These new songs are all, I feel like they're a new venture. They're the most thought-out songs I've ever written. Before, I would kind of go into the studio with just my guitar and kind of write lyrics, but this time around I've really thought about the drums and the basslines and the different parts before going into the studio. There was a lot of pre-production with these songs, which therefore I think allowed me to be a lot more creative once I was actually in that space. Yeah, it's been going really well, I'm really excited for it.

Has it been a more enjoyable process comparing to anything else you've done previously?

I'd say a different process. More pleasing for me I think, more satisfying. I've enjoyed really getting into the nitty-gritty of structures and musicality and parts. I think it's the most me it's ever been and the most me my songs have ever been.

What's coming up next up?

We've got another show on Thursday with Alex, and then it's festival season, so just touring, touring, touring really. Music video coming out, just kind of rolling through this campaign I guess.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'You Got It Good' below:

Live dates:
23rd May - Oslo Hackney - London (supporting Alex Lahey)
2nd June - Camden Rocks Festival, London
8th July - Mouth of the Tyne Festival, Tynemouth
13th July - HiddenHerd Festival, Brighton
26th July - Standon Calling Festival, Standon
28th July - Truck Festival Performance, Oxford

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