The pop artist tells us how she went to former X Factor contestant to finding the confidence in her voice
Taking part in UK singing competition The X Factor is often a double edged sword. Yes, it offers artists a quick trajectory to success, but the road is perilous for both those on the road to being crowned the winner and the winner’s career thereafter. So far, pop singer-songwriter Abi Alton has subverted such difficulty most recently with her latest single ‘Never Come Back’, bringing tones of Americana and electronic touches into her sound. We caught up with her to discuss what the track means to her, The X Factor and her love of touring…
Your brand new track ‘Never Come Back’ has gone down a storm over here! What has the reaction so far been like for you?
Thank you! It’s been great, people are falling in love with the new sound. It’s an amazing feeling to have that feedback- especially when I haven’t released anything in a while now. The support is still there and that is an amazing feeling.
The track is clearly quite a personal one for you and references a relationship and your finding self-empowerment. Can you tell us a little more about what you were thinking and feeling when you were writing lyrics to the track?
The lyrics are pretty candid and honest. I’d been involved with someone who was totally selfish and in love with themselves. I was angry when I wrote it, so it was quite a cathartic process.
The song itself has a bright pop sound that mixes in elements of folk and electronica with a dash of Americana to boot. Were you experimenting in the studio and how did you come to settle on this sound?
I’ve been wanting to move in this direction for a while. I want to make music which is poppy and uplifting but still meaningful. I got involved with an amazing group of producers at The Firm in Leeds who just totally understood what I was going for and are excellent to work with. Having great producers as an artist really is the holy grail. That said, the songs always have to work in an acoustic context, that is where they are born. It has to work at a bare bones level before the sparkle can be added. I always want to be able to go back and play it just on the piano and it still work.
It’s been four years since you were a contestant on The X Factor. How do you feel that you have matured as a songwriter and artist since that time?
I’ve come into my own. I know what I want. I think about my songs a lot more now. If I’m not sure on a lyric or a melody, I don’t settle until it’s absolutely right. When I did The X Factor I was very young. I didn’t know what type of artist I wanted to be, I just knew I wanted to make music.
In hindsight, what do you feel in regards to your time on the show?
It was the one of the hardest experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t want to go through it again. I wish I’d have waited until I was a little more mature, vocally and as a person, because I know I have come on so much since then. I choose not to be bitter, because it afforded me a lot of things. I’m glad that I was able to retain my label as a singer-songwriter and as a musician. I’m glad of how tough it has made me, I met some incredible people, I had some incredible experiences and I wouldn’t change any of that.
Your debut EP Souvenirs entered the Top 10 of the UK iTunes Chart! Were you surprised at what it achieved?
It was a great achievement because the whole project was a completely independent venture. I was a bit surprised because of that, yes!
With a new single under your belt we can only assume that you are gearing up to release an EP or album soon! What can you tell us at this stage to whet our appetite?
I have an EP coming out soon and I’m SO excited about it. I have some darker tracks that have a really gorgeous cinematic feel about them.
Are there any live shows in the pipeline?
I’d like to tour in 2018, once the EP is finished.
You’ve supported Ellie Goulding in the past and have been gigging a lot in Nashville. What do you most love about performing to an audience?
The energy that you get from an audience. The Ellie Goulding gig was incredible- I was terrified, but I could feel that they wanted me to do well and were rooting for me. When folks have bought tickets to my gigs I find that really humbling.
What album or artist has had a lasting influence on you and your music and why?
It’s really difficult for me to say one! I grew up listening to Johnny Cash. I love his songwriting style. It’s so honest and raw.
Abi Alton’s latest single ‘Never Come Back’ is available now. Read our recent premiere of the single.