In November, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Ladybyrd released her debut EP Sub Zero, which she co-wrote with Adrian Zagoritis and Torsen Stenzel, and she also released an official lyric video for the title track. Previous releases for Ladybyrd have been three singles, Stolen Sunlight, Oblivious and Too Close To Call, and she is set to release three further singles. Ladybyrd has had her music aired on BBC Introducing, and she performed a set at Clapham Grand in September. Chatting to us, Ladybyrd told us about her recent debut EP release Sub Zero, filming the official lyric video for the title track and performing at Clapham Grand.
Can you tell us about your debut EP Sub Zero, which you released in November?
My debut EP is made up of five songs, all of which are very close to my heart. There were so many songs that could have been on this EP, but each one was chosen for a specific reason. These songs all give a voice to those feelings of discovery, vulnerability and hopefulness that were with me as I was writing it. Such strong and real emotions like love, grief and anxiousness are illustrated in these songs, which all perfectly depict these last few teenage years.
How did you find the experience co-writing for the release?
Funnily enough, the song Sub Zero was my first proper co-write. I’m naturally quite reserved so I found it tricky at times – I was so used to writing on my own. But it got so much easier, and Adrian Zagoritis and Torsen Stenzel, who I’ve been co-writing with most of the time, put me at ease and learnt when to leave me for a bit. We’ll often get to a point where I’m like “ok, I need some time alone just to think and write lyrics or perfect a section for a bit”. They have been so wonderful and I’ve developed so much as a songwriter because of them. Some songs, such as Winter and Orion’s Belt, I wrote a few years ago and brought them into sessions saying I wanted to work on them. We changed them quite a bit, added sections and made them more emotive and up-to-date.
How long were you working on your EP and who do you think your music will appeal to?
I had started two of them when I was much younger, but they were all finished between August and October of 2021! So, quite a while ago now – it’s so good to have them out there finally! I think my music appeals to such a wide audience because there is something for everyone! I’ve had lots of support and love on social media from other teenage girls who are hopefully a big demographic listening. But I’ve also had support from older people nearer my parents’ age – especially with the more rocky songs such as Oblivious!
How was it filming for your official lyric video for the title track?
I actually wasn’t feeling too well on the day we filmed it but still managed to make something I love. Sub Zero is about a toxic relationship but is a very upbeat song so I wanted to reflect both feelings. I wanted it to be fun so we filmed it in different rooms in the flat and just messed around. It represents how someone can seem joyful and content with someone (like the person filming) when the reality is actually the opposite (hence why it’s black and white) and the person needs to let go and leave! Ruby Francis filmed it on my old Panasonic camcorder and Emily Hoang (the unlucky penny) added beautiful and animated lyrics.
What has it been like seeing the listeners’ response to your music, which includes your early singles Stolen Sunlight, Oblivious and Too Close To Call?
It has been wonderful. All an artist wants is for their songs to connect to a listener deeply, and many people have reached out to convey that message. I am so thankful.
We understand your music was aired on BBC Introducing and you had a set at London’s Clapham Grand, what were these like?
Yes, BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks have been so great and have played many of my songs, and I had a great interview with them too after releasing my first single. Performing at the Clapham Grand was so much fun and one of the highlights of the year. Everyone had such a great time and we raised a lot of money for two brilliant charities, which is amazing.
What is your songwriting process and where do you get the inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere – even characters and stories in books and films. But as I have grown up and experienced more, my songs have become more personal, with writing being more about my journeys and struggles. The process of writing is different every time – sometimes it can start from an idea I have while walking somewhere, that I’ve recorded quickly in my voice notes. Other times I’ll be sitting at the piano or with the guitar and just playing away and working it out as I go along. I write lyrics and poems most days, even if it’s so brief, in my notes app and come back to it when I’m working out melodies over chords and rhythms that I think fit.
Where does your love of music come from and how did you get into the industry?
I was lucky to have grown up surrounded by music. My family is very musical and my father is a vicar so I mainly listened to modern church music which gave me a good understanding of very clear song structures and making things catchy! I started to write my own songs at age ten and learnt the piano and taught myself the guitar. I pursued it at school and started to make demos. A friend I had shared one to sent it, unknowingly, to one of his old friends – a British songwriter and record producer Adrian Zagoritis, who I then had some Zoom calls with and bombarded him with about 50 songs I’d written – but he liked what he heard and he’s taken me on!
For those that haven’t heard of Ladybyrd, can you tell us about yourself and your sound?
I am a 19-year-old singer-songwriter based in London. I’d say my songs are evocative, melodic and passionate and I aim to write the soundtrack to your life. I’d say my sound is multidimensional and infused with a rocky edge, cinematic soundscapes and eclectic electronic elements with striking lyrics. My name was a nickname that my grandfather – who I never got to meet – gave to my mum, who then passed it on to me. Although it’s personal to me, I think it’s a beautiful name that represents my music really well.
Who are some of your favourite music artists to listen to and do you have any you would like to collaborate with?
My favourite artist to listen to is Taylor Swift. Her lyricism is something else and I can relate to so many of her songs. But if I had to collaborate with one person it would probably have to be Hans Zimmer. I love listening to film scores and I’m a big fan of cinematic songs with sweeping string parts, and I often find myself singing over some of his pieces. He is a genius who uses technology in such an innovative way, so it would incredible to learn from him.
How do you like to spend your time away from your music career?
I’m actually in my first year at uni at King’s College London so a lot of my time is spent there and in the library reading and writing essays! I also work a part-time job so I keep pretty busy. When I have time to myself, I love to read, listen to music and have nice evenings with friends.
Do you have any upcoming plans that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
I have a lot coming soon… three releases that I’m already super excited about! I’m hoping 2023 is a year for creating more music and having more and more people find my songs and connect to them. I can’t wait for all that is next to come 😀.
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