Interview with the Savannahs

The Savannahs are a newly formed group who came together to appear in BBC One’s “Pitch Battle” which was screened last month. From left to right, the members of the group are Rebecca Rosewell, Emily Moment and Hannah Rose Platt. Having played live a couple of times since, we were delighted at Belles and Gals when the ladies agreed to play in a Belles and Gals sponsored gig. This event takes place at The Sound Lounge in Tooting tomorrow evening (Thursday 24th August) and it promises to be a very special evening. The first half of the night will see the three singer songwriters performing in the round, before coming back after a break to perform as a three. Personally I can’t wait! You can grab a ticket here

I was fortunate enough to catch up the Savannahs this week ahead of the gig and ask them all about the group, their careers and their inspirations. This is what they had to say!

What was the best thing about appearing on ‘Pitch Battle?’ on BBC One.

Rebecca: Singing and playing together in the studio in Manchester, and the experience of meeting and hearing the other lovely acts on our episode.

Emily: I think it would have to be getting to collaborate with these strong and talented women.

Hannah: Spending time with the girls, and getting to see behind the scenes and the amount of work and detail goes into making a TV show.

You went out of the show early, but you certainly made a good impression, especially on social media? That must have been a nice boost?

Rebecca: Yes, we had a great response on social media. Lots of nice comments and new fans. We were pleasantly surprised by the response.

Emily: We were completely unsure about how we would come across on the show so the positive response from strangers was really heartwarming.

Hannah: Yes it was so lovely that we had such a positive response from the public!

Which ‘Savannahs’ song do you like performing the most, whether original or a cover?

Rebecca: Cover is ho hey for me. I get to sing the lead and I love it when the girls come in with their lovely harmonies. Original.. I’m enjoying singing and playing Emily’s new song ‘Savannah’. Great song.

Emily: The 2 originals we’ve had the chance to introduce so far ‘The Stone That Never Rolls’ and ‘Savannah’ feel really special to perform and I can’t wait to incorporate more to showcase what great songwriters this group has. Before these were ready, it would have to have been ‘I’m On Fire’ which has always felt effortless.

Hannah: ‘Savannah’ written by our own Emily Moment.

How did each of you become involved in the music industry?

Rebecca: Playing small gigs and featured spots after I met my partner Simon at an open mic night 12 years ago, forming our band The Rosellys.

Emily: Music has always been in my life because my family is that way inclined, but the ‘industry’ aspect developed for me out of the New York open mic scene where the cup of unique talent runneth over.

Hannah: I’ve always written and performed as a solo artist and was so lovely to meet these other girls on the circuit and have a separate project.

Which artists have inspired each of you in your careers?

Rebecca: Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, Dixie Chicks, Redlands Palomino Company, Chris Stapleton, The Steel drivers, The Lavens, The Flyin’ A’s.

Emily: Joan Baez was one of my earliest inspirations. I used to listen to her live records over and over. Later on I learned from genre-blending local songwriters in NY that i didn’t have to be pigeon-holed with a singular sound. Above all, I find inspiration in musicians who put all their heart into their lyrics so ‘Ruminations’ by Conor Oberst, ‘Short Movie (Director’s Cut)’ by Laura Marling, and ‘Southeastern’ by Jason Isbell are all on rotation at the moment.

Hannah: Definitely Ryan Adams, Martha Wainwright and Emmylou Harris and also Gretchen Peters.

Tell us a little about your music careers outside of ‘The Savannahs’?

Rebecca: Lead singer/songwriter for my Americana band The Rosellys. I play with my parter Simon, and we have a double bass player and pedal steel player.

Emily: I am one half of ‘Mahoney & The Moment’, a Transatlantic folk band which we like to call ‘Brit-pop meets Americana’. We have been playing as a band in between New York and London since 2010 and together we run and host a monthly ‘Americana’ night in Camden called ‘Chalk Farm Folk’. I also have some solo work released under my name to which I am currently working on the sequel for hopeful release later this year.

Hannah: I recorded my debut solo album ‘Portraits’ in Nashville 2 years ago and am almost finished recording my second here in the UK. This one has a bit more of a band, bluesy grittier edge than my last one, I’m super excited to finish it!

You can do a duet with any artist on the planet. Who do you choose?

Rebecca: Eva Cassidy or Chris Stapleton

Emily: Right at this minute it would have to be Conor Oberst. The depth of his songs and emotion in his performance is so moving. Also, I love all the girls he chooses to sing with so I’d consider myself in very good company.

Hannah: It would have to be Ryan Adams, or Jason Isbell.

What was the first single you ever bought – be honest, no matter how embarrassing it is!

Rebecca: Hanson, mmm bop!

Emily: I can’t remember what the first single was I bought, but I can remember the first single I was given…it was a double A side by Ace of Base and I won it at a school dance. Perhaps that’s embarrassing, but hey if there were any pre-adolescent girls not dancing around to ‘The Sign’ in 1994, bring them to me.

Hannah: I can’t remember which song but something by Hanson… I bought their album ‘Middle of Nowhere’ when i was 10 after saving up pocket money!

What is the best thing about being in ‘The Savannahs’?

Rebecca: Singing and playing with these lovely women, who have become really good friends, as well as fantastic musicians to play gigs with.

Emily: Working with the girls. The team aspect and shared effort to make this little band work through such an unusual situation like a tv competition has been genuinely satisfying. I know I can count on both of them to put in 110% at all times and I’m so grateful for that.

Hannah: The other girls! It’s so much fun to make music with these gorgeous talented ladies!

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