At Belles and Gals we love talented UK country artists and we were delighted when BCMA award nominated Samantha Lloyd agreed to an interview with us this week. Read on to find out more about her brilliant debut EP “Now That You’re Gone”, find out which city plays host to some of the best talent in UK country and find out which zoo animal that Samantha absolutely loves!
Hi Samantha! We first featured you on Belles and Gals last month with the brilliant “Everybody Can’t Be Wrong”. Tell us all about the song. The video is just perfect too. How did that come about?
Hi Nick! Well, I wrote “Everybody Can’t Be Wrong” with the wonderfully talented Robbie Cavanagh. My producer Justin Johnson arranged a writing session with him, myself and Robbie. I explained to Robbie my ideas for the song and some lyrics I already had in mind and we came up with the song, I couldn’t have done it without him though. I have to take credit for the video, the whole scripting of the video was my initial idea, Justin shot it, edited it and did a bit of directing. I love the video, it’s one of my proudest moments and let me tell you those tears were pretty real!
The song is a track from your recently released EP “Now That You’re Gone”. How exciting was it to record your first EP?
It was so AMAZING! I really enjoyed every moment, Justin kept asking me if I was OK, I was so overwhelmed with it all I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. When I do the album I definitely want to be a bit more relaxed and enjoy it more so, I have a really bad tendency to overthink everything and panic.
The EP is a personal one, each and every song telling its own story. How do approach your songwriting? Does a song start with an idea, a lyric, a melody?
I’ll be honest, it’s different with every single song, sometimes I have lyrics written and I try and come up with a melody, other times I’ll just be messing about on my guitar and a melody will come from no where so I’ll sing something that fits and then write the story from there. The EP was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because I was literally reciting every detail of my previous relationship and it was very emotional; however every time I finish a song I get a massive sense of excitement and achievement.
We featured you for the first time shortly after you were nominated for a BCMA (British Country Music Association) award. That must have been a high?!
Well I couldn’t possibly repeat the first thing I said when I found out haha! I didn’t click at first, Thorne Hill informed me and I just thought he was showing me his nominations! Turns out he was showing me mine and when I finally realised I jumped out of bed and messaged my mum and dad who were in Corfu at the time! This nomination is gold dust to me, honestly I’m so humbled and I feel honoured to be up there with those other fantastic nominees.
Your music career began in Musical Theatre. How did the transition to country music come about?
Long story cut short I had some health issues in 2014 and they changed my life completely. I started writing in 2015 properly and people told me I had a country twang, so when I broke from the ex partner and producer I was dating I decided to really go for it and try my best to become what I wanted to be. I love musical theatre and it’s something that I will always be passionate about but this is my journey now.
So, if you could choose a musical character to sing one of YOUR songs, which character and which song would you choose?!
Haha, I’d have to say Elphaba from Wicked the musical. The west end stars who play her character are always faultless. And I’d ask her to sing Cinderella story, I think it’s very suiting to be honest!
The UK country music scene is thriving right now and one area that seems to be a particular hotbed is Stoke-on-Trent. What is it about the city that produces this talent?
Oh my god Nick, I’m so glad you have said this, there is TONS of talented artists in Stoke and so many people don’t realise they are sitting in such a musically talented city. I want to take this time to say how proud I am to be from Stoke and how I underrated I feel we are in the music industry. A big shout out to Lee from “Rebel Bear” he does a lot for music acts in Stoke. I think the reason we have so much talent in this city is purely because people want to prove themselves! When you think of Stoke on Trent you don’t think of music but the people of Staffordshire are slowly changing this!
Which musicians have influenced you over the years, country or not? And if you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Oh blimey how am I going to answer this. So many people have influenced me, from Bruno Mars, to Carrie Underwood they are all absolutely amazing in there own unique way. At the moment my influences and inspirations are the local artists in the country scene, Thorne Hill, Narn, Robbie Cavanagh, Emma Moore, Jess & The Bandits (I could go on) I aren’t saying this for nothing I’m saying this because I look at these people and I just admire them so much, I want to be as great as they are and move in all the directions that they are moving in! As for the duet, I think I’ll break the country rules (which I may or may not get judged for) and say Ed Sheeran, I love how he is himself and he doesn’t play by the rules, he’s outgoing and humble and I admire that, he’s come from nothing and not turned into something he’s not.
What was the last album you played?
Jess & The Bandits “Here We Go Again” I’ve had it in my car since I went to FSA two weeks ago. I love it and I think that they’re amazing! My favourite song is “Nitty Gritty”.
Tell us something completely random about yourself!
I absolutely love Giraffes, I’m crazy about them. I also used to have a purple diamond birth mark right in the centre of my forehead.
So what plans has Samantha Lloyd got for the coming weeks and for the rest of 2016?
I’m currently taking my guitar grades, I struggle hugely with confidence when it comes to my playing and going for my grades is really helping me. I’m writing more, in different styles about different things that people can relate to. I’ve also started busking which is going so so well I love it! I always say people will get sick of me because I feel like I am constantly pushing myself and trying to build a fan base. But this is my dream, my passion and my heart is so deeply in love with the idea of doing this professionally for the rest of my life that I’m not about to give up, even on the bad days. I’m happy to be a self employed musician and I’ll keep being unrealistic and aiming for the stars. I’m a cheesy girl with a cheesy heart!