The London-based singer-songwriter known for her prominence and background in the world of Fashion beautifully explores the transition of inspirational female pop artists delving into the new era of rock music. She has recently dropped her thrilling debut EP ‘Girl Who Ruled The World’ so we thought it was a great time to check in with her and have a chat!
Hey Ches, thank you for joining us today. Could you please tell any of our readers that haven’t heard about you yet what you’re all about?
Thanks for having me. Well, I’m a songwriter and have been writing music for as long as I can remember but first and foremost, my background is in Fashion. I started my first company Façonner at 21 curating and editorially art directing some of the most beautiful fashion houses globally and then went on to launch my own luxury clean beauty brand, Ches Editions. The influence from that ‘life’ very much seeps into my music and writing – I recently had the opportunity and finally, an adequate amount of bravery to actually release my songs. So here I am.
Congrats on the release of your EP ‘Girl Who Ruled The World’. How are you feeling about this right now?
Given what a ride it’s been to get to the moment where I felt ready for this, it feels like I’ve arrived ‘home’ somehow. I feel very grateful to the reaction so far and lucky. These songs have lived in me for so long that on release day, I really had to ‘let go’. So that’s how I feel now; glad it’s out there but detached. These songs, in all their bold exploration of ‘ego’ which is what Girl Who Ruled The World is all about, belong to an audience now and I feel very happy about that.
Could you talk to us about the process you have made as an artist to get to this point?
I think I had to go around the proverbial ‘world’ and back quite honestly. Music has always been the most ‘natural’ part of me and it was sort of obvious from when I was about 5 and started playing the piano that this was who I was. Songwriting just came easier than anything else. But that translated into writing; which then translated into other art forms and eventually found me in Fashion. There was a logical element to starting and running a company which satisfied that part of my brain whilst art directing fashion shoots was a different type of creativity – I’m also very aesthetic. Mostly though, it proved an efficient ‘mask’. It’s easier to be confident when you’re not exposed. My photo shoots were always full of subtext and suggestion rather than a direct announcement of their maker – I was behind the camera, not in front of it. So I think the most fervent aspect of this process has been confidence; believe it or not. Whilst I’ve always been social, I’m not inwardly confident (I’m way too over-analytical). But now I am. I hope people like my music because music is so powerful in bringing us together; to be able to give that to an audience is awesome. But aside from that, I don’t really care what the naysayers think of me anymore. When I knew I was fine with that was when I knew I was ready for this.
We’re loving the artwork theme the EP. Could you please explain the meaning behind this?
Thank you so much. It’s really about dichotomy. For the EP cover I wanted to emulate an almost doll-like ‘pretty’. You don’t expect the music to be what it is from looking at the cover and that was really about exploiting and leaning into how I’ve been interpreted all these years which is surface. I love pretty sure but pretty is boring without the edge underneath. With the promotional artwork, it was about creating that alter-persona; the literal ‘power suit’. And then there were subconscious influences I guess; one of my favourite films is Adrian Lyne’s ‘Lolita’ and my favourite fashion photograph of all time is ‘Le Smoking’ by Helmut Newton so there’s probably a little bit of those concepts there too.
If you had to describe the EP in 3 words which, would you pick?
Bold, gritty, pretty
What are the challenges that get in the way of releases music as a new artist?
Great question. In the first instance for me, understanding how it all ticks. Music is so vastly different in operation to what I was used to in Fashion. You need need a thick skin for both but Music is a lot more personal and a lot more direct. It’s also comparatively slower in pace to allow for creativity to be drawn out. That takes getting used to; me for example, I’m used to having to be decisive and working at the speed of light. I had to learn to slow down and give others their ‘process’ even if I felt I was already ‘there’. There can also be a lot of drama – so even if you’re not dramatic, you probably might be by the end of it; that can get in the way. The second and most prevalent for me was learning technical aspects enough to be able to express myself properly without losing creative flow. We as artists rely so heavily on engineers to get our sound sounding as it should. When we got to mixing, I found that massively challenging as I had no idea how to describe in technical terms (or any terms) how I felt in terms of sound when for example, I didn’t feel like it was sounding ‘together’ or like a record. And as a new artist, there’s the feeling that others always know better than you. I think finding the balance between being smart enough to know that yes people definitely know better than you but also trusting your gut is key. I was lucky that I got to start with some seriously notable people in this industry – that made me learn, fast.
Has listening to any other artist throughout your youth inspired this record?
I’m sure it has – I’m so connected to music and the songs I grew up listening to that they’re probably all there subconsciously. For her integral honesty and approach to lyricism, Alanis Morissette. Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chilli Peppers is, I think, one of the greatest lyricists of all time. Fiona Apple’s approach to melody. Listening to Hole as a teen allowed me to explore in my head so much thematic premise in terms of power and femininity – that’s for sure thematically relevant in my record too.
What can we expect to see from in the future from you?
I’d really love to write for and with other artists too. And for film and television. But first, an album. I have to do that now with everything I’ve learnt from the EP!