London-based country singer-songwriter Simeon Hammond Dallas announces the release of her highly-anticipated second EP ‘Make It Romantic’, out now on all streaming platforms.
Following the success of her previous two singles ‘A Hundred Lovers’ and the title track ‘Make It Romantic’, Simeon doesn’t hold back with the release of her full EP. With her unapologetic lyricism and vivid storytelling at its core, combined with her captivatingly sultry yet raw vocal delivery, the EP was written over the pandemic and documents her experiences in the music industry as a woman of colour.
To help celebrate the release, we thought it was about time we got to know Simeon a little better, and luckily, she was happy to answer a few of our questions.
Simeon, it's wonderfuly to speak with you. Let's take things right back to the beginning, how did you first start making music?
"I started writing music when I was about 16 years old, really badly, on the piano. I couldn’t play the piano properly, but I had learned classical guitar at school, so after that initial song I picked up the guitar again and used it to support my voice."
Let's move right to the reason we're all here, 'Make It Recomantic'. Can you tell us a bit about it?
"I love to romanticise my life, and Make It Romantic acts as a soundtrack to it. It explores my experiences as a woman and particularly as a woman of colour in the music industry and acts as a little snapshot into my life so far. I wrote much of it over lockdown when I had some time to process and reflect on the spaces I was occupying and how it felt to be usually the only or one of very few women of colour in blues and folk bars, and in country music spaces. It also really delves into the nuances of femininity and what it means to be a woman generally in a patriarchal structure, so in that way I think it resonates with those who aren’t necessarily musicians but see themselves or their stories in my songs."
That track as been described as "Feminist and bold yet still gentle and vulnerable", but how would you describe your sound?
Were there any set influences you had when making the track?
"My dad’s record collection was pretty informative for me, and it was so eclectic. I grew up with reggae, ska, and soul playing in the house, and through his collection I found records I loved from The Cranberries, Rickie Lee Jones, and David Bowie. I love a buttery vocal like Ella Fitzgerald’s, but I also love the scratchy rawness of Janis Joplin, and I like to take the things I like from everywhere and put them together."
What is your songwriting processfor a single like this, is there something that stands out as particularly important?
"I start with different points all the time, but essentially it boils down to me and my guitar. Sometimes I will have an idea while I’m away from my guitar and either write it down or sing it into my phone or just repeat it in my head enough times that my mind will come back to it. Then once I have the bare bones of it I start building around it in my mind, until I can get into the studio and try things out."
"For me it’s communicating the message I want to get across in whatever way is most effective and authentic to the song. So, generally speaking I’d rather tweak the melody to support the right lyric, but in general the whole song needs to describe the emotion or concept I want to get across."
What’s next for you as an artist?
"I try to always stay open, so what’s next could be anything. At the moment I’m working hard to improve my lead guitar skills so maybe that will be featured a little more in future work. Until then, I’m playing shows around the UK with this EP!"
A final few questions for you before you go, what advice would you give to band’s who are looking to make it big?
"I don’t know if I’m best placed to give that advice! I’m just writing and performing because I love it and I believe in what I’m doing, and keeping on a path that has given me some great memories and an exciting life so far, and I’m hoping to keep growing and progressing and expanding. I guess if you really want to make it big you should be born into wealth and use your parents connections to make you a star."
What has been your best moment as a musician/band so far?
"I’ve had some really great moments as a musician, most recently playing at Black Deer Festival to a bigger crowd than I had expected and a front row of people all singing my songs with me, which was a really lovely surprise. I think maybe the best though is hearing a guitar solo I had written and played as part of my new EP on vinyl, which have been two big goals of mine realised this year."
Growing up in a house full of actors and music lovers, Simeon’s colourfully loud upbringing fuelled her passion for music. She says that she likes to live her life as if she is the main character in a rom-com movie, and this shines through on the EP as she takes her listeners on a romantic, yet powerfully thought-provoking journey into her mind.
With the release of her new EP ‘Make It Romantic’ and performances at Black Deer Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Tottenham Stadium under her belt, as well as a headline show at London’s iconic music venue The Lexington next month, Simeon is well and truly one to watch in 2022.
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