Welcome to a new series on Belles and Gals where Nick Cantwell (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals) will be highlighting some of the very best acts on the UK country music scene, casting an eye over their music and chatting to the artists too. The series continues today with the wonderful Liv Austen.
Liv Austen is one of the most featured artists on Belles and Gals and it’s been amazing to see how her career has blossomed since the first time I got to interview the singer back in March 2016 (one of our first interviews ever!). I remember that interview for a particular answer Liv gave, which really stuck a chord, as Belles and Gals is passionate about the UK country scene and it’s artists. Liv said,
“the UK audience is finally letting go of this myth that UK acts are just trying to copy the Americans, we definitely have our own voice and stories to tell, and we are a force to be reckoned with”
and I think she has been proven right in the three years since, and if you had to look for an artist to be reckoned with, you don’t have to look much further than Liv herself. 2018 was an amazing year for Liv Austen, as it saw the release of her debut album ‘A Moment of Your Time’, an album that we’d had glimpses of through the incredible singles such as ‘Don’t Regret a Single One’, ‘The Next Time’ and ‘Window Shopping’.
I caught up with Liv this week to chat about her year and her music!
Hi Liv, it might be the start of 2019, but I want to start by looking back at last year, an incredible year for you, with the release of your debut album! How do you look back on 2018?
Hi, and happy new year! Thank you – yes it was an unbelievable year. To finally release a body of work like that was something that felt like a lifelong dream, and that I managed to release something I was so proud of was amazing. It was an incredible bonus that it was so wonderfully well received.
It was hard work, for sure. I look back at 2018 as a year where I made a lot of important decisions, and really started working in a way that served me and my music and what I really want to do as a songwriter and an artist – and I started saying “no” to things I didn’t want to do. I feel like it was a year that set me up for how I want to move forward, which is exciting!
It was also so special to me that 2018 was the year of my first appearance in a major TV show. To balance my two passions, acting and music, can be hard sometimes – so that so much happened with both of those was encouraging!
The release of ‘A Moment of Your Time’ was one of Belles and Gals highlights of the year! Describe your own emotions in the build up to the release.
Thank you, that’s incredibly kind! I went through a lot of different emotions with A Moment Of Your Time. And a lot of different thoughts, for that matter! At times it felt like I’d never be able to let go of it and just sign off on all the songs. It really is just the way people tell you it is – you become obsessed with the songs, you go through a period of hating all the songs, then you step away from it and come back to all the work you’ve done – and you love the songs again. I think what was so special about the time right before the release was that I managed to get to that place where I was so proud and happy with the songs, the production, the messages, everything. I felt that on release day, if people hated it, it didn’t really matter. And similarly, when I (luckily!) started receiving great reviews, I could really take it in because I knew I’d worked for it.
You’ve been a firm fixture at Belles and Gals ever since we started. It’s our third birthday this week! How would you say you’ve changed as an artist in those three years?
Happy birthday!! That’s amazing. I kind of feel like everything has changed in those three years. If I think of who I was as an artist, as a person even, at the beginning of 2016… Man! They have been three incredibly significant years for me. My sound has changed, I feel like I have found my unique sound as an artist so much more. All of the songs I perform live now are written within those years I think. Some people kind of want you to stay the same artist you were when you started, so if there are people who knew me for the artist I was before 2016, they really need to check in again because I’m totally different. I am very happy to say that too – I think changing is wonderful.
And what can we expect from Liv Austen in 2019!
I’m getting braver by the day. I’m not doing things by the book anymore, or following any rules of what an artist like me “should” do, whatever that means. I am doing a special release in the spring, it will be a bit different from your typical single release, so that’s exciting. I can’t wait to share more about that. This year will be about two things I love; live shows, and songwriting. I will be performing the songs from my album live a lot, and I will be writing new music for me and with other artists for their projects as well.
You can see Liv Austen at a Belles and Gals promotion at the Green Note on February 25th, but tickets are selling fast so grab them now! https://www.wegottickets.com/greennote/event/454071