You’ll recall we spoke to Hattie Briggs last year about her debut album, ‘Red & Gold’. Now the Gloucestershire singer/songwriter is back, with a new album, ‘Young Runaway’, due out on 8 July. We had a chat and asked her what’s been going on since our last interview.
EP: We spoke to you early last year about your album ‘Red & Gold’ – now you’re releasing your second album, ‘Young Runaway’ – what has happened between then and now? Do you feel like you’re in a different place?
HB: The main thing that has happened is that I’m a much more experienced performer. I played over 100 gigs in 2015 and that has really helped me figure out who I want to be as a musician on and off the stage. My songwriting has also developed a lot over the past year or so and this second album is definitely more sophisticated and well rounded than “Red & Gold”.
EP: ‘Young Runaway’ is an interesting title – what’s the story behind that?
HB: The title of my debut album, ‘Red & Gold’, is a lyric from Eva Cassidy’s cover of ‘Autumn Leaves’. For my second album I chose a James Taylor lyric as he is another of my musical heroes. The track it came from is called ‘My Travelling Star’, from the album, ‘October Road’. I chose this particular lyric because it ties in with one of the themes of the album, which is taking risks and making decisions based on what makes you happy rather than being conventional. I dropped out of a Russian degree at Oxford University to pursue music full time so that’s what it’s referring to.
EP: What’s your favourite song on ‘Young Runaway’, and why?
HB: At the moment it’s ‘Summertime Man’. I think of all the songs on the album that’s the one with the best vibe. The production is really joyful – perfect for the mood and meaning of the song and it brings a smile to my face when I hear it.
EP: You’ve worked with Peter Waterman on both your albums – he scouted you out from YouTube originally? You must have been (quite rightly) happy with him the first time around to work with him again – what do you feel he brings to your music?
HB: Pete found me through my nomination for the Radio 2 Young Folk Award back in January 2014. I think we’re incredibly lucky to have crossed paths as we get on so well. Pete is amazing at getting the best out of artists and musicians and he’s a joy to work with. He really understands me and what I want to get out of every song/album. He’s also a great team player and doesn’t try to control everything. One of the most important qualities for a producer is knowing when to delegate as well as realising when somebody else has an idea that is better than yours. Pete does all these things and he’s creative with it. He’s helped me to discover my sound.
EP: You’re currently touring your album – what can fans expect from your concerts? You’re going to The Netherlands shortly – how exciting is that! And tell us about the US and Canada! How long until we can expect you to be ‘Digging To Australia’ for real?
HB: They can expect a positive and joyful set – more upbeat than my previous tours, especially if I’m playing with my band. There are a lot of catchy songs on my new album so they’ll probably go away humming to themselves. Yeh, I’m really looking forward to going back to the Netherlands as I had such a good time there last Autumn. This time around I’ll have my guitarist Jack Cookson with me as well so can do a more varied set. We have booked our flights to the US this September and will be there for 2 months. I’ve been to America before, though not on tour, and absolutely loved it so I can’t wait to be back there. We have 4 gigs booked already in various different States and are planning lots more. Fingers crossed I’ll make it to Australia in 2017!
EP: What, if anything, would you do differently if you had the opportunity? And why?
HB: I can’t think of anything I’d change to be honest. Even the mistakes I’ve made have helped me get to where I am now.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
HB: If you had a pet dragon, what would you call it? Answer – Pam.
‘Here’s To Hoping’ is the first release from her new album, ‘Young Runaway’, due out on 8 July.