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Introducing... Stevie Parker

Young Bristolian singer Stevie Parker has not long been signed to Virgin Records, yet she's already released a stunning debut album, The Cure. The album contains a plethora of tones, emotions and themes and yet it stays so consistently focused throughout, it's a must listen. I personally have become a huge fan of Stevie's music over the past few months, I've even got tickets to see her in July and I'm very excited to see her perform. Luckily I had the chance to talk about miss Parker about her debut album, small gigs and positive reviews...

Question. Firstly, your album The Cure has just been released, how was that?
Stevie Parker:
Really exciting, really scary - but nice to finally get some feedback on the rest of the songs. The reaction has been really nice so I'm happy!

Q. Who's the biggest influence on the sound of the album?
SP:
Well, definitely Jimmy Hogarth who wrote with me on a lot of it and who produced the record. But also it was the sound that I always wanted but never had the technical know-how to achieve.

Q. How would you describe the album?
SP:
It's like...dreamy but gritty

Q. What's your favourite song on the album?
SP:
The Cure I think, although it's a really hard one. I think I'm most proud of The Cure because of all the elements coming together well. It's a hard song to sing live so it's nice to hear the best possible example of my voice on the recording, haha

Q. What was the biggest hinderance whilst making the album?
SP:
I think not really being able to play a lot of the material live. Some of the songs were written years before the production started and some pretty late in the cycle. I think it's nice to live with songs for a bit and play them and let them naturally evolve live before recording, but it's not always possible.

Q. With such a personal story and emotional topic, did that make it harder to release the album?
SP:
Yes in a way. But probably mainly because of the press. It's frustrating when people get the wrong end of the stick! Some things have been said that just aren't really true in relation to the context of the music and it's annoying to have things spun like that, because the subject matter is pretty personal and delicate.

Q. You recently played Rise in Bristol, do you prefer those more intimate gigs?
SP:
Generally not, although that show was lovely. It's very scary being able to see every face watching you. I prefer to play to a packed, sweaty room - that's when it feels most real!

Q. Reviews for the album have been very good, how much does that mean to you?
SP:
It's great. I mean I've always been told not to take them too seriously but it's hard not to - it's nice to get some good feedback

Q. When going into the studio do you have a pre-conceived notion of what you're about to create or not?
SP:
No I try to go in with as a blank slate. In the past I've really over thought songs and it almost always ends up with something that feels contrived or forced - I think people can tell when they're listening to something that's trying to be something specific

Q. What's your writing process like?
SP:
I start by just concentrating on just building up some textures, normally piano and then synths or percussion. Lyrics are usually last. A lot of the time many ideas get thrown into the idea before anything gets settled on. But it's nice and relaxed! I try not to put any pressure on myself.

Q. Which song do you wish you'd written and why?
SP:
Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. I think it's my favourite song. It's so heartbreaking but there's also an element of hubris to the lyrics - like she's laughing at herself too.

Q. You reply to your fans consistently on Twitter, do you wish to keep that fan engagement going as you get bigger?
SP:
Yeah definitely. I just kind of feel like in reality if somebody said something complimentary or kind to me I would always want to be there to say thank you. I don't see why this should be any different

Q. What was it like getting signed to Virgin records?
SP:
Pretty surreal! Very exciting and life affirming. I was also nervous at first but they reassured me very early on and I relaxed into it. They've been a great label to work with.

Q. How does that affect your career?
SP:
It opens a lot of doors obviously. I think by virtue of having a label behind you you're exposed to opportunities that might not have always been available before.

Q. What's the ultimate goal in music?
SP:
I'd like to just keep going. I don't really know beyond that, I've been doing this a long time and that affects your expectations. But yeah, to just be able to keep doing this is what I ultimately want.

Q. Now the albums out, what's next?
SP: The video for Prey is coming very soon, and beyond that loads of festivals, another single - hopefully loads more too!

Follow Stevie Parker on Twitter
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Purchase Stevie Parker's debut album, The Cure (iTunes) - (Amazon)

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