We were fortunate enough to be invited along to the Cavern in Exeter to see Laura Doggett perform, it was a midweek gig and our calendars were blank so who were we to turn it down?
The interview was originally pencilled in for 7pm, things were looking very tight before the show and with 3 acts to fit on the bill, we were asked if we could have a chat after the show, being the flexible people that we are, we agreed and 10 minutes after she came off stage, we were sat in the legendary ‘Green Room’ which is basically a small area at the back of the bar, large enough to stand and spin your arms around (just). We cosied up, got comfy and unleashed some questions on Laura who was sipping some kind of magical hot beverage, possibly tea?
I usually take along a small gift to say 'thank you' for letting me have a chat to them and on this occasion, it was no different, trouble is, what do you buy a young lady on a cold Wednesday evening in Exeter, I doubt a kebab would have gone down well (seeing as she’s vegan), so what else but a Crème Egg Easter Egg (see earlier point about her being vegan…) I guess she could have eaten the chocolate but the filling of the smaller Crème Eggs were probably not suitable, I guess some of the band got paid in chocolate eggs for their hard work!
So, having just 10 mins to run through about 20 questions I had prepared was going to be a tall order, I had to prioritise them to ensure that the key items were covered and I left out things like ‘favourite hangover cure’ and a debate on whether Jaffa Cakes are in fact cakes or biscuits, hey ho, here we go….
Hi Laura, you really nailed it out there tonight in Exeter, were you expecting such a response from the audience?
I wasn’t at all, I’ve never been to Exeter before and it’s strange that you get people coming to see you in their hometown despite you never being there before, when I play in London, I can pretty much guarantee that friends will turn up to support me but I don’t know anyone from Exeter, it’s such a cool feeling!
Your track ‘Old Faces’ was the song used to promote Series 2 of the hit TV show Broadchurch, how did that come about?
That sort of stuff happens without my ‘power’, I wrote the song about my old hometown of Salisbury and one day I received an email asking my permission for the track to be used on the advert for the TV show and I instantly jumped at the chance! To be honest, all of this sort of stuff has to go through my label and they get involved and I just have to say yes or no! They had 2 songs to choose from, mine and another and to this day, I have no idea who the other artist was but it doesn’t really matter as mine was selected!
Staying with ‘Old Faces’, it has some great lyrics, “Small Town, Small Dreams, The same Old Faces, Still they haunt me” – Can you tell us what inspired you to write the song?
It sounds a bit silly but the thing I was thinking about when I wrote the track was my ex-boyfriend, he told me that I’d never change the world, I was quite an irritating 16 year old who just challenged EVERYTHING and as a result, I wanted to change things and I guess that’s really why I started to write songs. I was full of anger, angst and passion and to be told that I was never going to change anything, just give up and be like everybody else, I just wanted to write about those people, the kind of people that don’t do anything. You go back to the town 10 years after you left it and they’re still there, doing the same thing as they always did!
Annie Mac recently gave your new single ‘Into the Glass’ a spin on Radio1, How does it feel listening to yourself on the radio?
Oh it’s great, I was listening to it with my mum and she was screaming and it was ME telling HER to calm down, you’d honestly think it would be the other way round wouldn’t you? I hope there will be more major radio station airplay in the future, I think it’s also cool to see people’s responses to the music, I read loads of ‘tweets’ and also I like what the presenters say and how they introduce the track, it’s great!
Annie Mac is championing a LOT of British talent at the moment, we heard a track by a band called Nothing But Thieves recently and they played here last weekend (Laura pointed to some graffiti on the green room wall that they had scribed when they played the Cavern)
They’re my label mates on RCA and we have a little jokey relationship so I’m just going to add ‘love Laura Doggett’ at the end of where they wrote ‘Nothing But Thieves' on the wall, HA!
What is the best advice that you have ever been given (related to the music industry) and who was it from?
Ooh brilliant, I know the answer to this one! There have been lots but the two that stick with me were when my publishers told me that I was writing poetry to piano and I needed to be thinking about melody, that kind of got me started thinking about and writing more melodic ‘bigger’ songs rather than just sitting there with a piano to come up with lyrics, The other is a writer who I co-write with, he’s called Matt Johnson, he’s awesome, he produced a lot of my material and we wrote a lot of it together, he’s the keyboard player from Jamiroquai, he basically told me to make observations instead of judgements, I grew up being very judgmental and angry and this advice really helped me and overnight, the songwriting process just seemed to get easier. I did however turn into a bit of a voyeur, just watching people and situations and commenting on them and I guess it changed me as a person too, there were simple things in life that caused me some frustration, I grew up a vegetarian and everyday, people questioned why was I a vegetarian and I was forever answering them and I really felt like I was fighting to live that lifestyle and I don’t question other people’s so I realised that me being so judgmental made me just as bad as them, I like making observations now….
I saw you in the recent edition of GQ magazine where you entertained the A-Listers at a Christmas lunch in London, did you meet any interesting celebs? If so, which ones and what did you talk about?
I met Jamie Cullum, he’s so lovely and what made it worse was the fact I was wearing KILLER heels that day so I was TOWERING above him, still, his wife (Sophie Dahl) is a model and she towers over him! It was great though, he invited me up to his studio to ‘jam’ and I was utterly shocked….There were tons of really cool people there, David Gandy (model) was there and I think he’s one of the most attractive men in the world and I was chatting to someone and just happened to mention that I love him and she kindly pointed out that he was standing directly behind me and probably overheard most of the conversation, I just screamed and said that this was far too much to handle!
Where was the event held?
It was at a restaurant called Quagalino’s in Mayfair, I’d never been there before but they were lovely, I am vegan and they really went out of their way to accommodate my requirements which was so nice of them, it was a Christmas lunch event so it could have been way more tricky!
You’re certainly doing a great job of bigging them up!
Oh god, look at me, I’m giving out restaurant recommendations now!
You recently supported Years & Years at their London shows at the start of March, what did you most enjoy about the shows?
They were great, I was a little worried as the audience was theirs and they are more of a dance style band and my music is very soulful and I just thought that they wouldn’t warm to me but it was the total opposite, they really did give me a great reception. The venue was great and what made me feel really good was this girl at the front of the audience, singing all the words to ‘Old Faces’ that made me so happy. We played more of our ‘upbeat’ songs to fit in with the Years & Years material but all in all, it was a joy to play.
Bath is your hometown, you play there on March 20th, do you feel more nervous playing to a local audience?
Absolutely, it’s closer to home and no doubt I’ll be more ‘giggly’ on stage, when I play, I take on a very serious persona but when you’re at home, playing to people you know and family members, I can’t hide the fact that I’m a 21 year old, bubbly character and people know that so it can be quite hard, I’m just going to go out there and have a good time, it’ll be fun!
We were given the obligatory '2 minute notice' from the tour manager so we had to act fast, did we thrown in another question in the hope that she would be able to rattle out an answer in time or did we opt for some of our classic quickfire questions, we flipped an imaginary coin and the quickfire round won....
Camping or Glamping?
Up at the crack of dawn or can’t get out of bed?
Can’t get out of bed
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
Rudimental or Disclosure?
Camden Town or Oxford Street?
Broadchurch or Sherlock?
Glastonbury or Reading/Leeds?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Laura for agreeing to spare some of her time after the show to answer our questions and we wish her every success in the future, we hope to catch up with her again at another show, maybe even a festival during the summer!
Please take a few minutes to browse Laura's social media channels, they're all listed below, all you need to do is point and click!
Interview by Steve Muscutt