Being from Yorkshire, we’ll always have plenty of time for our fellow county lass Billie Marten. Not that it would make a difference even if we weren’t – her brand of ridiculously heart-rending acoustica is a winner regardless of where you’re from, and she’s cutting to the core of us while still in her teens. With a future this bright, it only make sense that we try corner her (in between her studies, of course) to find out a little bit more about the nation’s newest rising star…
Firstly: yay, you’re from North Yorkshire, we’re from West (Bradford, to be precise). Can we just get a shout out to the awesomeness of Yorkshire? And, to keep it relevant we suppose, how that surrounding has influenced your music?
My mum is from Bradford! Yorkshire is and always will be my favourite, I’m pretty sure all of my songs have at least one mention of water or something landscape-y related. So without growing up in the North I’d almost definitely have nothing to write about.
We were first introduced to you via Unaware, an amazing, heartbreaking song. Who the hell affected you that much at such a young age and do we need to go break their legs? But seriously – where does stuff like that come from? Are your family ever quite taken aback by it all?
Ha, uh oh. I was 13 I think, just testing out a random guitar tuning and Unaware came out but trust me, I had no emotional trauma then – I was just saying words! No legs to be broken please – I think I’m quite ambiguous and annoying with my songs because no one ever really knows what I’m singing about but I like it that way.
Obviously age is something that’s mentioned quite a lot with regard to you and your work. Do you ever find it patronising as a young woman? Is it harder to get your voice heard when it comes to major labels, etc? (Also realise this question in itself may be patronising but hey ho)
It’s mentioned a lot, I wouldn’t say it’s patronising but people often say ‘she’s good… for sixteen.’ Which makes me panic that I’m gonna be god-awful by 25!
You’re playing bigger and bigger crowds now, including London last week. How does Billie Marten psych herself up before going on stage?
She gets stupidly nervous and walks in circles for a bit, also a lot of heavy breathing.
You’re still in school; how do people around you react to, say, something like the BBC Sound poll? Is it a bit of a reality check when you then have to go write 1,000 words on Chaucer?
It’s hard when you’re not in the world of music to understand it, so with things like the sound poll it doesn’t really mean much if you’re not aware of what it’s about and what it does for artists, but I try to never bring up music things at school so they stay in two separate worlds. Sometimes in gigs I’m thinking and worrying about the essay deadlines!
What would you say to other teenagers who are looking to take the same route you did?
Be honest and real, don’t let people change you into something you’re not, I’d say. TRUST THE GUT.
What’s next for Billie Marten? How is the sound going to develop on the album, or are you going to pack it all in and go off to uni?
Not saying the album word yet but, I’m writing a lot right now and something will come out soon – I’d never do that! But I hope to carry on studying because I love that too.
Finally, a very revealing question we ask everyone. What’s your favourite Beyonce song?
I’ve had many the emotional lip-sync to Listen, and it’s quite something.
Billie Marten’s As Long As EP is out now and can be ordered here.