Ambient, pop-inspired instrumentals, 80s synthesisers and a mellifluously soothing vocal are just a few of the musical components that make her sound. Neil Dowd met with Bryony to discuss the ideas behind her new musical project, her aesthetic imagery and what we can expect from her next.
For the benefit of our readers who haven’t heard of you, talk to us about Bryony – how did you bring this project to life and how would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard it?
While I was at uni, I met a producer and we worked together really well. I knew I wanted to go for a more pop-driven sound so we started writing together and worked closely together to create the sound I have now. I’d say it’s like feminist, stadium indie-pop.
Was your 80s influence intentional?
It started off as intentional but then it became less intentional as we were writing until it just became a part of the sound that was there. We knew what kind of artists we were inspired to be like and the goals behind it, which influenced some of the 80s vibes.
Tell us about the background of your stage name – where does it originate from and why did you choose to use a stage name as opposed to your birth name?
So my middle name is Bryony. I always saw Bryony as a different persona to my normal self. Whenever I used the name ‘Bryony’ I just thought it sounded more like a pop artist’s name and gave me a air of confidence. I thought if I could put that persona into my music then I’d have something really cool to work with.
What is your background in music? How have you developed as an artist/songwriter over the years prior to Bryony?
When I first started songwriting, I started as a singer-songwriter. I would do acoustic guitar driven music, think female Ed Sheeran (laughs). I started to get bored of writing and performing in this style once I started at uni. I didn’t feel like I was making music that I was into anymore. So I started going into more of a pop sound.It took me a while to find, but once I kind of settled into my sound,it felt a lot more natural and comfortable for me.
How much of your current sound is influenced by your previous musical works and background?
It started off with quite a lot. The process of how I write hasn’t changed that drastically. I still like to start with just me and the piano. But sometimes my producer will send me an instrumental and I’ll write over the top of it, which is so new for me. I hadn’t done that until I started writing pop. I guess it’s taking the parts of my old process that I liked and applying it to my new sound.
Do you have a preference between writing top lines over pre-made instrumentals or the basics of just you and the piano?
It depends on the kind of song. If it’s slow, I tend to prefer doing it myself as the slower songs tend to be the more personal ones.
In terms of this project, what artists inspire you? Are there any themes or ideas that are prominent across all of your tracks and if so, what are they and why do they hold importance for you?
Definitely Sigrid and Maggie Rogers. Chelsea Cutler and Dua Lipa are also massive inspirations for me.
The weirdest inspiration that I have that you probably wouldn’t have guessed is Phil Collins. Me and Joe (my producer) used to just sit there and listen to Phil Collins like ‘something like that part would be cool to use’. We were actually thinking about covering one of his tracks.
What track would you cover?
‘Somewhere on the Way to Heaven’.
Bryony is a fairly D.I.Y project. Could you tell us a little bit more on how you make things work behind the scenes in terms of writing, recording and production?
I literally write with the same writer/producer every time. We just work so well together. Shout out to Joe Cooper (laughs). He just seems to understand the sound that I want to have all the time.
I’m very visual and not very good with musical terms, but he can always change my language into something that makes sense to him.
Your debut single ‘Relief’ is currently available on all major streaming platforms. Whilst watching the music video for this track via your YouTube channel and browsing through your social media pages, I noticed that the use of the colour pink was very prominent both in the video and across your promotion of the track – was this a conscious decision that you made? If so, why?
I always wanted each of my singles to have their own colour. In my head, the colour would link to how the song sounded. So when I first heard ‘Relief’, I automatically just thought ‘this is pink’. I’m not sure why. Also, because a lot of my lyrics and values revolve around female empowerment, I guess the colour pink for the first single always made sense.
We’re going to try and follow that on with each release.
This is yet to be publicly announced, but ‘Bad Move’ is the title for your upcoming second single. Talk us through the process behind that track coming to life – are there any themes or ideas that you wanted to highlight lyrically through this track?
How did the process behind this track differ from the first one and what can audiences expect from it? ‘Bad Move’ is probably my favourite out of all of my songs, just because I hadn’t written just on my own for such a long time, so when I did for ‘Bad Move’ I was at my piano, like how I used to write. I sent the voice memos from my phone across to Joe and he came back with the perfect instrumental for the song.
It was such an easy song for us to put together. Everything just gelled and worked. I wrote it at the back of a coach, by myself (laughs).This track is coming from the perspective of realising that someone is treating you badly, whether it’s in a relationship or otherwise and having the self love to remove yourself from that situation and get the upper hand again.
Do you intend to continue using colour for ‘Bad Move’ like you have done for ‘Relief’? If so, talk us through how the themes and ideas expressed in the track link to the colour that you have chosen to use.
The colour for bad move is blue. I want to do it for my first set of singles, until I get to the point of releasing an EP. When it comes to the EP, I’ll want to come up with a new theme. I guess the reason for bad move being blue is that it started off as a sad song, but once I started messing around with it a bit more, it became more positive and happy. It’s like an empowering song that comes from a bad place.
The other colours we have for other songs are purple and red. It all kind of follows the lyrical themes, especially the purple one.
The purple song, what do the lyrics touch upon?
A lot of the lyrics in this song centre around time and night. So the purple kind of acts as a visual representation of the night sky. The main lyrics aren’t actually about time, but that particular lyric is the main one that stood out to anyone we’ve showed the track to.
You’ve previously stated that you are inspired by artists such as Sigrid, Dua Lipa and Maggie Rogers.
To what extent do these inspirations also influence your aesthetic in terms of your fashion? Sigrid would probably be the biggest inspiration on my aesthetic. Her clothing choices are always so colourful, which is definitely something I’ve tried to capture. Her clothing choices are a little bit more ‘casual’ than mine but I always thought her colours worked really well.
Chelsea Cutler and Maggie Rogers would be more musical inspirations as opposed to fashion.
You recently played your first ever headline show at The Workshop. How do you feel the show went? Were there any distinctive differences between headlining and supporting from this show?
It was really fun, I loved it. The venue was quite small, so it was really intimate. It felt like there was a lot of interaction with the audience, which is always good. I’ve always been the opener, so it was cool to come down early and check out the opening acts.
For anyone who hasn’t seen you perform live, what would they be able to expect from your live show?
A lot of mum dancing. Yeah I’m embarrassing on stage, everything becomes a lot more loud and live on stage. Because my producer is also my drummer, he’s really good at making everything come to life, which is great for the genre I’m going for.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years? Do you have any specific goals or aims you’d like to achieve?
In five years time, I’d just love to still be writing. Whether that’s for me or for anyone else really, just because that’s always been my favourite part of it. It’s where all my savagery comes from. That’s the fun part.
What are your plans for the future?
January 18th, I’ll leave you with that (laughs). We’re going to have a few more singles released in the four months following that also.
Finally, Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers or your fanbase?
Go and check out the new single!
Follow Byrony on Instagram at @ bryonymusicuk