LONDON (Reuters) – Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Freya Ridings won fans last summer with her UK music chart debut, “Lost Without You”, a soulful ballad which peaked at no.9.
Currently on a tour that has in the past month taken her to Paris, Amsterdam and the United States, the 24-year-old Briton spoke to Reuters about her musical journey, struggles with dyslexia and performance rituals.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?
A: I was hugely dyslexic so reading music was a real struggle for me (at school). All my music teachers just kind of one by one … gave up on me … I basically had to write my own songs … There was an open mic night when I was about 11 years old and I went and I played the songs that I’d written in my bedroom and it was the first night where I felt like I was myself at school.
Q: Do you write all your own music?
A: That’s actually the thing that I’m most proud of, as someone who grew up thinking that I couldn’t even write things down, to the idea of having written an album and a show that people actually want to come and see.
Q: What would you say are some of the themes of your music?
A: The universal theme of this (Riding’s upcoming) album, specifically because it was written over such a long period of time, is actually loneliness, which I know sounds a bit sad, but I feel like growing up I was so isolated that this was the only time that I could kind of be myself. I would just go to the pianos at lunchtime and tell the kind of stories you would tell to a friend to the piano.
Q: Do you have any tour rituals?
A: I find an apple before singing really, really helps … It’s like there’s something in the pectin in the apple that helps get rid of vocal clicks.
Q: Do you have any dream collaborations?
A: Taylor Swift, Florence from Florence and the Machine … and Adele … I think she’s an incredible woman and I’d love to do more duets with incredible women.
Reporting By Sarah Mills; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Kirsten Donovan