Scottish singer Kerri Watt is currently making waves in the UK music scene. We recently covered her latest single, ‘Long Way Home’, a stirring and soulful song with a tragically evocative video. Now we’ve caught up with her to find out what makes her tick. Check out what Kerri had to say.
EP: What’s the Kerri Watt story!
KW: Kerri Watt was born outside Glasgow in a little town called Milngavie. She grew up learning piano and attending every music/drama/dance class there was in the city. At 16 she convinced her parents to let her audition for a music and drama school in California and studied out there for a year before moving to London to pursue the dream! She toured a bit as an actress in musical theatre before picking up the guitar and falling in love with song writing. In the last three years she’s played almost 300 gigs, toured with some exciting acts including Mike and The Mechanics, Nina Nesbitt and The Overtones and in the last few months has finally let the world hear her music!
EP: Talk us through “Long Way Home”. It’s a very moving, almost heart breaking video!
KW: Long Way Home is a song I wrote when I was feeling confused, emotion and vulnerable. I wrote it from the heart and it’s a very honest song about something I was going through at the time.
When it came to finding the right story for the video, I wanted a narrative that reflected how my situation made me feel but using a different story. The video is a very passionate piece that we wanted to make feel more like a mini movie. It deals with everyday challenges people face in the name of love!
EP: You performed at Glastonbury. How did that come about? What was that like!
KW: I was very fortunate to be asked to play Glastonbury this summer for the second year in a row. It’s a dream for any act to play at that festival so it was a magical experience. I felt so grateful to be surrounded by so many other incredible artists and bands, and there’s not only music there – you also see some other great talent in the forms of circus, theatre, art…
EP: Do you write from personal experience?
KW: Most of the time I write from personal experience. I’ve come to find that if you write honestly from your heart, those are the songs people connect to most. Usually if I’m going through something, lots of other people will have been through something similar so I think it’s important to write those songs that people can relate to. But sometimes I’ll write about a friend, or a story I’ve read or even characters that I’ve made up in my own mind.
EP: You’ve just come off a massive 27-date tour with The Overtones. Highs and lows?
KW: I’d honestly say the whole 27-date tour was just an absolute high! Of course I got tired now and then, but I was just loving being out on the road, different city every night, playing to some huge appreciative crowds in iconic venues and really just living out my dream. Birmingham Symphony Hall was my favourite though – that theatre really just took my breath away. I had a little tear roll down my cheek when I walked out onto the stage for the first time!
EP: Where was the video for “Long Way Home” shot?
KW: The video for Long Way Home was shot near to where I grew up in the hills of Scotland. It was directed by some friends of mine and the actors are friends too, so we based the film crew from my parents house which was really fun to have them experience what goes on at a video shoot.
EP: Top 3 songs/artists you’re listening to right now, and what do you like about them.
KW: As I answer these questions I’m listening to Amos Lee – he’s an American folk/soul artist who I think is absolutely wonderful. His lyrics and melodies are well crafted and emotive – along with beautiful instrumentation. I always listen to him to relax – he’s my favourite artist to listen to in my headphones when I’m at the dentist!
Second is Jack Garratt. You’ve probably heard of him by now but I’ve been following his progress since meeting him last year and I think he is a true talent. Besides a beautiful voice, he’s doing something really different and exciting. Check it out!
I’m also loving the Alabama Shakes. I’m a huge blues fan; I love listening to Buddy Guy, BB King and all those old cool dudes! It’s harder nowadays to find some really good blues, but the Alabama Shakes incorporate it with some rock, soul and roots vibes and it just sounds awesome.
EP: Advice for anyone getting into the music industry right now?
KW: I think the best advice I can give is that if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing and you think you’ve got what it takes, don’t let anything get you down. You’re going to get knock back after knock back coming at you from all angles, but that’s what makes you strong and you have to go through all the hard stuff to earn it I think. Especially if you’re aspiring to a career with longevity. And of course, stay true to yourself. Whether you’re writing your own songs or singing someone else’s, sing them from an honest place and be truthful with yourself. People will connect with that.
EP: What’s one question you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
KW: No-one’s ever asked me what the first song I ever learnt to play is, which surprises me. It was the Scottish folk song “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” and my gran taught me it on the piano when I was about 5!