18-year-old newcomer Ladybyrd has spent most of her youth living a relatively sheltered existence. While the life experiences she draws upon in her songs are largely based upon classical coming-of-age emotions – relationships, desire, longing and regrets – a bigger influence is her fascination with literature and film. Those characters have lived lives far richer and complex than she is, which infuses her songwriting with a grander dramatic scale to boost her teenage tumultuousness. Those elements are all evident in her debut single ‘Too Close To Call’, which is out now.

Who were your musical influences growing up?

“Growing up I mainly listened to modern christian music as my father is a vicar. It gave me a good understanding of very clear song structures and making things catchy! Other than that it was the radio pop songs my older sister would burn onto a CD for me or a bit of U2 from my father. A turning point influence for me was probably Mumford and Sons album ‘Sigh No More’. I loved their lyrics, they weren’t the usual ‘I love you’ songs and had many metaphorical meanings to unpack. Thankfully my music has evolved a lot as I have expanded the artists I’ve been listening to. More recently I’ve been inspired by female artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams and Taylor Swift.”

Tell us about your new single Too Close To Call and what inspired it?

“This track was super interesting to write. I keep tons of lyric ideas on my notes app and I finally put them to use with this song. I imagined this very specific couple in a secret relationship and wrote a small story around it. I often picture cinematic scenes and story lines and write from that, if I’m not currently inspired by situations in my life. It’s a song about being infatuated with someone you know isn’t right for you – or you know you can’t have. Since writing it in August there have moments since where I’ve found I’ve related to the lyrics more! 

In the studio when writing it, I had just two chords on a loop out of the computer and the melody came to me and matched so well with the lyrics in my notes and it went from there…”

You’re building a following on TikTok and using it to show your creative process.. tell us about this.

“Any artist wants to be able to share their art with as many people as possible and TikTok can have incredible reach so it seems wise to use this app whilst it is doing so well and changing so many careers. I’m definitely not a natural  ‘content creator’. Ultimately I like writing songs and singing them, and sometimes I don’t find it easy to sit in front of the camera and share my creative process. But I know I enjoy watching other artists on TikTok share their own processes so it’s important to get involved too. I think I’m slowly getting used to it!”

Describe your music in 3 words 

“Evocative. Melodic. Passionate.”

If Ladybyrd could collaborate with any other artist – who would that be?

“If I had to collaborate with one artist it would probably have to be Hans Zimmer! For me, nothing beats a good film score – I couldn’t live without listening to them. 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.”

Where did the name Ladybyrd come from?

“Ladybird 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. We changed the spelling slightly as we thought it was more interesting – and it reminds me of the famous British composer, William Byrd.”

If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?

“Wow, good question. I just hope I’d be remembered for bringing light into people’s lives.”

Have you got any gigs coming up?

“Yes – follow me on instagram to hear updates about gigs!”

By Siân Parker