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If you have not yet heard of Chloe Reynolds you are about to. The Gloucestershire based singer starts a UK tour today supporting Anastacia. She will be at Ipswich Regent in two weeks time on Wednesday 7th June. I started our interview with what I thought was a difficult question – so difficult that I said we’d come back to it at the end.
My second question is where we’ll start – was there was any truth in the story that Chloe’s musical career owed much to Sister Act 2?
That is true yes. I watched that film when I was nine years old, it got to the scene where Lauryn Hill is sat next to another gospel singer in the church and they are singing ‘His Eyes on the Sparrow’ and I just found myself in a cinema having to remind myself to breath – the music went right through me. It was then I thought that nothing has ever moved me that much, that must be what I want to do.
Do you come from a musical family? Because I know you are a self taught musician, yes?
I am a self taught musician, yes. My parents aren’t very musical. But I have recently found out that my grandmother was awarded a scholarship to quite a reputable music college when she was in her late teens. But she had just met my grandfather at the time and she was of a generation that a fiance says you shouldn’t do it because you should be getting ready to be a wife. So she sacrificed a potential music career to be a good wife and a good mother.
So what did Mum & Dad think when their Chloe started to sing and tinkle the ivories?
I think it was quite a surprise, having both grown up in non musical households and yet they have managed to create two musical children. My brother is a drummer – who now writes his own music, he is called Second Hand Spaceman.
As music journalists we have this terrible habit of assuming we know what songwriters are writing about. We then ask questions based on our own perceptions. I do not want to fall into that trap here, instead, tell me about ‘Broken Beautiful’ the title track from your album.
It is interesting that you say that people put their own take on it because I don’t tend to share loads about how the song has come about. What I like to do is leave them open enough that people can put their own stories in. “The music has to be about more than just me.” It is really lovely to hear that happens.
‘Broken Beautiful’ came about after a particularly difficult time in which I had eighteen months of complete writers block. As a singer songwriter a bit of a career killer! It had got to the point where writing songs had almost become a fear because I didn’t want to write yet another miserable song. I wanted to write a song that would give people hope and encouragement and motivation. The pressure I put on myself became a bit overwhelming, then out of that came this song which was exactly what I was looking for. This song seemed to have been the stopper and the whole song just poured out after that.
Not only is the song beautiful but the video is also very powerful, were you involved in the look, feel and production of it?
Yes, that is all my idea. In the same way that I want my music to be about more than just me I wanted the video to betray that as well. I thought that the easiest way of making this song not just my story is to invite other people to come and share their own stories of broken beautiful.
You see so many incredible people in that video, I was amazed at how many said yes to that. There are some incredibly brave stories that have been shared in that. I didn’t have to push any of those people, they just said yes.
You seem to be a very positive person – do you ever have bad days?
I think anyone who doesn’t have a bad day is probably kidding themselves. We are human beings we are not designed to be happy all the time, we have to go through the full range of emotions. Especially as a songwriter it is important for me to be able to portray all those emotions through my music. So if I am not living them I am not being genuine as an artist. Of course I have down days, I am a big fan of Ben & Jerrys!
Now you are touring with Anastacia – how cool is that?
It is very exciting!!
Where were you when you heard that you would be touring with her?
It was really strange, I was in my flat by myself, just about to do the washing up and I got this epic news and went WHAY!… oh there is no one to celebrate with. What shall I do, I know I’ll do the washing up – carry on…
So what can we expect to hear you play on this tour?
I will be playing some songs from Broken Beautiful, trying to share them with as many people as possible.
You also play house concerts – what is the appeal of a house concert to a musician?
They are some of my favourite gigs to do. I think they are attractive to musicians because when you play the big tours, it is you on a stage with stage lights, you can’t see responses, you don’t get to interact with the audience at all. Being in someone’s living room, it is such an intimate setting that you get to hear their live reaction to your music. It is such an encouragement being able to hear that you have made a difference to someone by touching their lives with your songs. And you get the chance to hang out and spend quality time with people who also love music is a real privilege.
If you were to do a duet with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
(Laughs!) That’s an epic question! That should have been the question I got at the start!
OK – lets park that and go back to that first question: In a sentence why should people come and see Chloe Reynolds play?
People should come and see Chloe Reynolds because it is more than just entertainment, if you want to be moved to the core then this is the music for you.
Having listened to your album I can honestly say that is not PR speak! Now, have you had a chance to think about the duet?
There are so many I could choose, I think it would have to be someone living just because of where my musical influences have come from. An incredible one to do would be an Alicia Keys piano and vocal duet. A more edgy one to do would be Emeli Sandé. They are totally different, Alicia is probably more similar in style to me but Emeli does slightly more dancy stuff than I do and that would be taking me out of my comfort zone and I am a big believer that great things happen when you step out and take risks.
Anything new in the pipeline before we go?
I aim to write and record a new album this summer. I aim to do a churches and or a cathedrals tour in September and in the next few days I will be announcing my next big tour.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]To book tickets to see Anastacia with support from Chloe Reynolds at Ipswich Regent on Wednesday 7th June click here: https://apps.ipswich.gov.uk/en-GB/shows/anastacia/events[/box]