On Thursday evening I made the journey into North London to see a brilliant gig featuring Thorne Hill, Robbie Cavanagh, Liv Austen and Narn. I’d seen Thorne, Robbie and Liv play live before so I already knew it was going to be a great night (and followers of the site will know that we’re huge fans of Liv Austen, having interviewed, reviewed and featured her a number of times already). However, I’d never seen Narn play before, so I was interested to see if she was as good as her debut album? She certainly didn’t let me down, with an energetic, vibrant performance that really impressed, bringing the album to life perfectly. She is so energetic, that some of the audience enjoyed the #narn/drinking/game – where participants had to take a drink every time Narn raised an arm in the air (I was happy to join in, although by the end of the night I realised I might have joined in a bit too much..!).
Before the gig, I was lucky enough to grab a chat with Narn!
Let’s start by asking you where the name ‘Narn’ originated?
The name ‘Narn’ was a nickname before it became a stage name. So my real name is Rheana (pronounced Rhe – Arna) but the way that it’s written it looks like Rhianna, so I’ve had people saying it that way ever since I was a baby and the name kind of evolved over time through my parents. So it went Rheeana – banana – nana – narn and then it just stuck around I guess, teachers at school used to call me Narn, even now I’m on my university register as Narn.
Your debut album “Wasn’t Born to Lose” is just brilliant. How exciting is it to take it on the road?
So exciting! Justin Johnson produced the album and he is the drummer in the band and kind of the musical director for it I guess, so it’s like we’re recreating the album in a live situation – I love it, it’s so much fun. I feel like I found myself with the album, so I love performing the songs.
My favourite song on the album is the title track – tell us all about the song?
Yeah, the song is a little bit psycho I guess! I went into a co-write with Justin Johnson and Scott Poley. I had a chorus idea and I didn’t really know where to take it, it’s a little bit different to what it is now. As we were working together on it, it kind of grew into this song. We finished the song, but the end part part where the line “It’s gonna be hard to break my heart from six feet underground” plays at double speed wasn’t originally in it, as we were thinking of doing a separate song with that part in it. But then we thought, no, let’s put in there – and now that’s one of my favourite parts of the song.
How do you feel when comparisons have been made between you and Taylor Swift?
Yeah! I mean we both have country music routes and she’s gone pop now and we’re both blonde (laughs)! I don’t really think my music is like Taylor Swift’s music but I think she is a great person for people to be influenced by and since about the age of 16 she’s been doing amazing things. So I wouldn’t compare my music to her, but I would compare my hair to her (laughs again!).
The UK Country Scene is great right now, it must be an amazing thing to be part of?
Yeah it is, I mean it grows all the time. For example, I went to the BCMA’s for the first time in 2014 and it was great, but it was a smaller event than it is now – and you’ve got all the country music festivals around the country are being given more funding every year. There are more festivals coming up as they see all of the other one’s happening, so it’s a really cool thing to be part of. There are artists coming from other genres into country music, so it’s getting much bigger yeah.
What made a girl from Staffordshire take up country music in the first place?
I’ve always been around it I guess. My grandparents listened to country music when I was younger, listening to artists like Jim Reeves and that kind of country and so my did my dad, and my mum listened to artists like Black Sabbath and artists like that. So I think it’s always been there, but I’ve had other genres influence me too – my album is country based but there are elements of both pop and rock in it.
How do you go about song writing? Is there a certain process?
It depends. Sometimes I’ll write the melody first, sometimes I’ll write the chord progression first and write a melody over it. Other times I’ll have a lyric which I think is really cool and base a song around that. It happens differently every time. I’ve been co-writing on the album, some of the songs I’ve written myself but there are co-writes too and I found that I learnt a lot through that as I saw how other people write, so my way of song writing has changed.
Your perfect gig – where would it be and who would you perform a duet with?
It would have to be an arena gig, maybe the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville! A duet with Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert would be great – either one, I’m not fussy!!
What can we expect from Narn in the coming weeks and months?
Right now I have loads happening, like the tour and stuff. Then next year I’m going to be releasing a single. I’m heading back into Parr Street where I recorded the album (that’s where I’m playing tomorrow as well) and I’ll be recording the brand new single.