Liv Dawson has been making waves in the music industry recently, playing at UK festivals this summer, producing music with electronic giants Disclosure, and even earning herself a Facebook shout-out from Ed Sheeran. Her new single ‘Painkiller’ combines soulful vocals and an enticing dance beat. I had the opportunity to chat with the 19-year-old about her UK tour, her song writing process and what she has planned next.
SR: You’ve been so busy recently, you’ve played Latitude and Wildlife, and you just supported Tom Walker on tour, how is that going so far? Have you had any highlights?
LD: Yeah, it’s really good. I think festivals are just so much fun. I hadn’t really gotten to play at any festivals last year so it was really nice just to be able to sing all my songs and see how the crowd liked them. I really, really enjoyed it. The Tom Walker show was great, I really enjoyed it, it was really nice to play in the venue that I’m going to play in. I’m playing at Oslo next month, it’s nice to get a feel of it. Tom’s really lovely and his show is really good.
SR: You’re going on your headline tour now. Are you excited or nervous about that?
LD: I’m really excited. I love playing London shows in smaller venues, it’s so lovely. Getting to do more than one headline show, I can’t wait, I’m so excited!
SR: You’ve worked with some amazing people recently, HONNE produced your latest single ‘Painkiller’ and you’ve worked with Disclosure in the past as well. If there was anybody you could work with living or dead, who would you love to do that with?
LD: Oh God, I’d probably work with Beyonce. I’d love to work with her, and David Bowie would be unreal.
SR: Your new single ‘Painkiller’ talks about saying too much to someone, maybe when we’ve had a bit too much to drink, was there a personal inspiration behind the song?
LD: There was. There was an incident that happened and I wanted to get it off my chest and talk about it. I don’t usually dig so deep, I don’t really like writing songs, usually, about really difficult situations but I wanted to put myself in an uncomfortable position and just write about exactly how I was feeling. I did that and I wanted to make the production quite uplifting, so it’s not too down. I definitely wanted to dig deep and be as honest as I could be. So yeah, it was based on personal experience.
SR: When you are writing songs, is there a process that you go through, is it always different or are there certain things that you have in your routine when you’re writing?
LD: I normally do it differently, I never stick to one method of writing songs. It also depends who I’m writing with, sometimes if they like writing the beat first or writing the lyrics or maybe the other way around. Usually I like to do the lyrics, then I’ll do the melody and I’ll write the music to it. I like to work on piano and start organic and then build the song up, it’s always nice to know you’ve got a really good song and then you can make it better and better. But when it’s stripped back it’ll still sound good.
SR: You started when you were very young, how did you first get into writing songs and singing?
LD: I used to do a lot of gigs when I was about 12, I’ve always found since I was about 7 I was interested in singing, but I took it seriously when I was about 13 or 14. I just wanted to sing to people live. I didn’t used to write my own songs, I just used to do covers all the time. And then I started writing songs after I’d done a few gigs. I wanted to start writing my own songs and play those for an audience. Then I stopped for a bit, I just wanted to write and get as good at writing as I possibly could be. I write a lot with Jimmy Napes, Tobias Jesso Jr, Disclosure, and Honne. It’s really helpful to work with such amazing people because it really does teach you ways of writing. I feel like I just wanted to get better and better at writing. Then I released Tapestry so it’s been quite a while I’ve been writing.
SR: I know you shot your video with Jake Davies from The Missing, how did that come about?
LD: I just watched The Missing and I loved it, I thought it was just so good. I saw his character and thought he was perfect for what I wanted in my video. I tried to find the right person to contact him and it just happened. He did an interview and an audition for the video, and straight away we were just like he is just perfect. He’s the nicest guy as well and he plays such a good angry person which is exactly what we needed.
SR: What can people expect from you next, are you going to work on a debut album, are there any surprises?
LD: I’m working on my album at the moment, I’ve got a solid set of songs that I know I definitely want in there. But I’m just working and writing loads and getting the best songs I can possibly get. I’m thinking about putting out some more songs next year and exploring different parts of song-writing. I write a lot of different songs and a lot of pop songs. I want to start putting them out and just showing people what I’ve been working on really.
Liv’s latest single ‘Painkiller’ is out now on Method Records, available on Spotify and iTunes.
The official video is available to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9l3CJRzX1w
She is currently embarking on her UK headline tour, details below:
Oct 19 – The Chapel, Leeds
Oct 20 – Fallow Cafe, Manchester
Oct 24 – Bush Hall, London
Oct 25 – The Borderline, London
Oct 26 – Oslo, London
More information and tickets are available from her website www.livdawson.com
– Sarah Roberts
(Image courtesy of Hamada Mania Music Blog: https://hamadamania.com/tag/liv-dawson/)