Billy & Louie

Billy & Louie are releasing their new single I Get Caught Up this weekend – 23rd July – having started work on it in November last year, with the sound being more R&B than their previous releases. I Get Caught Up marks Billy & Louie’s return to original music since 2021, when they released Special In Your Eyes in October, and their previous song Am I Lost Without You? recently reached 40,000 Spotify streams. Live shows for Billy & Louie have seen them open for boy band LCKDWN, be part of the Make Some Noise Tour, and their upcoming live show dates can be found on their Facebook page. In 2019, Billy & Louie set up The Grace Notes choir, which they restarted after COVID, and they also hold group singing sessions. Recently, we chatted to Billy & Louie about their new single I Get Caught Up, having their song Am I Lost Without You? reach 40,000 Spotify streams and setting up The Grace Notes choir.

You will be releasing your new single I Get Caught Up on 23rd July, can you tell us about the release?

We are so excited to finally be releasing new music. After a little break, we are coming back with a song that fits more in the R&B category than our other singles have done and it’s called I Get Caught Up. It’s classic Billy & Louie, of course with ad libs and a huge amount of harmonies, but it’s got a grittier sound than our earlier music. Coming out of the pandemic and having had a difficult year in 2021 has greatly influenced our songwriting. We now both have life experiences that we can write about. Writing music, based on real experiences is a different challenge altogether but one we welcomed and embraced. To us, it’s evident that we’ve grown as people and experienced more highs and many more lows which we can now discuss and channel through music.

How long has it been in the making and what can listeners expect from the single?

I Get Caught Up has been in the works for a very long time. We looked back on some voice memos we recorded and the earliest recorded idea of this song dates back to the 3rd November 2021. A lot of things in 2021 and 2022 took over such as tours and gigs, collaborations etc… We suffered with COVID several times whilst living away from our home studio due to a house flood and dealing with several family losses and illnesses. So it was an intense period and we struggled to find both the time and motivation for writing and recording. We reflected on our life as recording artists and concluded that, at times, the cycle of creating music, posting on social media and marketing the music felt almost forced and too repetitive. Singing live is one of our biggest passions and we needed that back in our lives. So we were booked for lots of events and toured during this period. We’ve found a new balance of doing all aspects that come in this profession which makes us really happy, rather than focusing on one or two. This next song has been a journey but it’s been an insightful and rewarding one.

What have you enjoyed most about recording your upcoming music?

On this track, we collaborated with a fantastic guitarist who created the distinctive R&B sound which is reminiscent of old Blues and Soul. It’s something we had tried to replicate on many occasions but were never successful in doing. So, we employed the musical genius which is Francesco Renna! He translated our haphazard ideas into something really special that we had been wanting to achieve for so many years. The rest of the production was taken care of by us. For the last few years we have worked with Andy Rowland from Gatehouse Studios, a local producer, who mixes and masters our music including this track. It’s a pleasure to work with him as he always understands our vision for the final polishes that might not be too apparent to our listeners but without those touches, the song wouldn’t sound as polished and impactful. He’s got a a great way of highlighting our voices and harmonies but without affecting the sound of the track. For us, the most enjoyable part of recording this track was recording the ad libs and the harmonies. In this track and Special In Your Eyes, we really went to town with the harmonies, exploring dissonance and octaves which has the ability to illustrate the meaning behind the lyrics we wrote. We stacked so many harmonies and layered them with others and, for us, harmony is our forte so it’s cool to play on that and challenge ourselves.

In October, you released your latest single Special In Your Eyes, what was this like?

Special In Your Eyes is a poignant one to us. Not only because of the lyrics but because this was a collaboration with our friend Anthony Bert. He created the piano part for the song and produced the track for it. He’s an amazing inspiration to us and it’s always great to work with him. We really look forward to working with him again when time allows. The lyric video was cool too. We had the idea that the song was the underscore to a film which was playing within the lyric video.

Your previous single Am I Lost Without You? recently reached 40,000 Spotify streams, how did this feel?

This was an amazing feeling! It’s so rewarding to know people enjoy listening to our hard work and effort. It’s cool because we can track where our streams are coming from and then make guesses as to which supporter is the one streaming our songs the most. We are excited to release I Get Caught Up because it’s a similar vibe in terms of instrumentation and style but also lyrically too. So it will be interesting to see if the response that we had from Am I Lost Without You? will be similar to this track.

Where do you get the inspiration from for your songwriting and what is your writing process?

Inspiration comes from anywhere. In the past it’s come from television programmes, pictures, other songs and movies. Now we are older and we have a more experienced outlook on life, we can take inspiration from our day-to-day life and experiences we’ve had and people we’ve met too. Our writing process has changed significantly in the last year. As we’ve grown older and started realising who we are and who we want to be, not only musically but as individuals, our songwriting process has evolved and matured. It’s become more organised. We aren’t particularly well-organised people. We tend to record 100 voice memos and only one of them is important and when it comes to us needing it for reference, you guessed it, we can’t find it. So we tried to improve on that which has benefited us in the long run. Taking extra time to sleep on ideas and work things out has been something we’ve started to focus on. We hate to rush things so now we don’t finalise anything until we are completely happy. It takes longer but creates a far better end result.

How do you find the experience performing at your own shows and do you have any upcoming events?

We always have upcoming shows and events. Festival season has been busy for us and it’s almost certainly going to be even busier next year. We promote all of our shows and events on Facebook so you can check over there if you fancy watching us live. Singing live is always the most amazing experience, especially when you have a great audience who really vibe with you. It’s better now that we’ve gotten so comfortable with live singing, we can overcome any audience type and just have fun on stage. We used to get hung up on mistakes and imperfections but now we embrace them and joke about them. We love to meet loyal fans and new supporters at our gigs and it’s brilliant that we’ve had the opportunity to tour all over the country to meet our supporters in person.

How was the experience opening for LCKDWN in Manchester?

It was such a cool show! LCKDWN were amazing. We really vibed with them and their warm up band too. It’s an amazing feeling when like-minded people get together to create something amazing. The audience were excellent too. We saw some familiar faces that day and some new ones too. The meet and greet was our favourite part of it! We love chatting with everyone and taking photos, which we cherish and print into polaroids to remember each show by. We were nervous to sing in Manchester as we had never visited before but our nerves were eased by the cheers and buzzing energy in the Factory. We can’t wait to return!

What was it like on the Make Some Noise Tour and do you have any stand-out highlights from performing at the shows?

The Make Some Noise Tour was incredible! We were so pleased to be offered the opportunity to be performing in a line-up alongside artists like Bronnie, Brooklyn Wyatt and Mikey Cobban! It was quite an important opportunity to have after not being able to perform live for such a long time and we were anxious to see how the audience would respond. It was great to be in an environment where we could showcase our own music for fans to hear and dance to. The best moment was during the London show when the audience all got their phone flashlights out when we sang When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars. It was so special to us. It was really cool to collaborate with some dancers again for the Sheffield show. We got to travel there and back with them which was great fun as they’re really close friends of ours.

You’ve set up The Grace Notes choir, how did this come about?

The Grace Notes is a choir we set up in 2019 actually but naturally, COVID meant we had to take a break from holding our sessions. We restarted again in 2021 after our break, with lots of new members. The group keeps growing and improving and it’s lovely to be the founders and leaders of such a committed group of lovely singers. Our initial idea was to create this singing group as a relaxing outlet for passionate singers in our local community. Since then, it has grown into a bigger community with plans to perform and compete in the UK. We have since started up some close harmony groups as well as coaching aspiring singers. It’s been so rewarding to see our mentees benefit from our mentoring and we have loved arranging and sharing our tips and tricks with all of them.

What plans do you have for The Grace Notes?

We plan to keep singing, of course, and creating new, exciting musical arrangements of classic songs. We always take their suggestions into account so we try to cater to everyone’s interests. The plan is to perform at concerts and festivals. Of course we will put on performances and find every opportunity for The Grace Notes and our other groups to perform.

Do you have a favourite aspect of running a choir and holding group singing sessions?

Definitely the socialising. We found ourselves making strong, lifelong friendships with our members, and chatting to them in our tea breaks and at the events we hold is so uplifting. If we have had a terrible week, it’s guaranteed that The Grace Notes will lift our spirits.

What are some of your stand-out highlights of your career since appearing as contestants on Little Mix: The Search?

Most of the significant moments have actually been through social media. Coming from Little Mix: The Search and trying to navigate our way in an industry that was temporarily virtual due to the advent of COVID was difficult but some incredible highlights were formed. Making connections with Meghan Trainor on TikTok was very cool and receiving commendation from artists such as Jordin Sparks and Little Mix too definitely stands out for us. Touring the UK is of course a huge highlight that we’ll never forget and starting our choir again has been a memorable experience.

Have you been given any advice over the years that has stuck with you?

Someone told us that being unapologetic and carefree in most aspects of your life is a great way to live. That has influenced a lot of decisions we have made in our career. We are so happy to just do things for ourselves that benefit us. If other people like it then that’s a bonus. We create music and sing for the love of it and it’s amazing that people have been and continue to be so supportive and encouraging of us doing the thing we love. That advice has stuck with us and it keeps coming back to us when we need it.

What are you hoping 2022 brings for your career?

We both hope that 2022 continues to bring opportunities for us and new experiences. We love working with others so hopefully more collaborations come our way. Bigger stages and crowds would be amazing of course so we’ll stay hopeful for that. But we are happy to be doing this as our job and we are happy to go down almost every path that is offered to us.

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