Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook
WHO is she?
“I’m a singer-songwriter, I sang jazz and folk music growing up, and learnt the piano and guitar in my teens. I’ve been writing songs since I was about 14, but only recently decided to put a band together and start putting them out into the world. It’s exciting and hugely rewarding to hear them become these alive, full things with Rick on horns and Danny on the drums. I met them studying at Goldsmiths which is teeming with great musicians and supportive people.”
Genevieve Dawson’s upcoming EP Things My Mother Tells Me, produced by La Leif, is due for release in August. Her debut single I Am On Something is out now.
WHAT is the inspiration behind her songs?
“I think a lot about lyrics, and I’m always really excited when I hear artists who do that too – I was obsessed with Anais Mitchell for a few years, and more recently listening to lots of Arthur Russell – I like how he can just sing one line and it says everything you need to know. I grew up on Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald as my staples and I think that combination of a kind of very personal, direct, poetic form of storytelling that Joni has and Ella’s way of singing a melody with her full body is what I try and focus on. I think it should always feel like you’re telling a secret through your songs, and the more specific you can be about the feeling or experience either through the sounds or words you’re saying, the better.”
WHERE did she grow up?
“I grew up in a village outside of Edinburgh and then when I was a teenager we moved ‘into town’ as we put it. Being in Edinburgh as a teenager I was really lucky to be surrounded by music and I spent all the money I earned from waitressing going to gigs. When you live in a fairly small city like Edinburgh you always know what’s going on and you never miss an artist if they come to town, whereas I think in London there’s the feeling that ‘you’ll see them next time’, so I think that vibrancy in Edinburgh, with the Fringe and International festival in the summer too really fuelled my love of live music.”
WHY the title Things my mother tells me for her upcoming EP?
“I wrote most of these songs in the year after a particularly difficult break-up, and I kind of thought that would be the main subject of the songs I put out. I realised through writing though, that what the break-up gave me was a chance to really question my set of assumptions about myself and who I am and what I want from life. The song Things my Mother Tells Me started out as a list of thoughts I was telling myself as a kind of comfort in that period. I realised mid way through writing the song though that even these weren’t certainties – they were actually things that my mum has always told me would be true, and the song is a kind of question mark – maybe you won’t be what you expected. I liked that duality of having at once a set of things you hope will be true (that you’ll find someone you love, that you’ll end up with kids), and also the realisation that maybe you’re not the person you think you are, and it might all be different. I chose that as a title because it best sums up where I am at the moment, filtering through the things I’ve always assumed would be true.”
WHEN can I see her live?
“I’m playing at Greenbelt festival on 25th of August, and after that we’ll be doing a small UK tour in Sep/October – dates/venues will be posted very soon to my website and Facebook.”
Listen to Genevieve’s debut single I Am On Something