For our last Spotlight On feature of 2017 we speak to musician and local south east London dweller Only Girl about what makes her tick, how she finds soul in the smallest things and where in our fabulous stomping ground she likes to tread.
Tell us about what you do and why you do it….
I’ve always loved singing and performing from a young age, but as I grew older I realised it was the most amazing way
to express myself and to get my emotions out into the world. Also performing live is an unbeatable feeling and I really live for those moments onstage when you feel the applause and can share everything with an audience in such an intimate way and have people connect with it.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a large musical family with 4 brothers and my mum & dad in Kidbrooke, south east london. My dad is an amazing musician and we constantly had music in the house – he was always singing to us on the guitar or teaching us old classics on the piano, so music was such a natural part of our lives. We grew up on the vinyls of singers like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Bill Withers and classic rock and roll, and it really shaped my love of music and relating to those really raw, emotional artists, who wore their heart of their sleeve.
What’s integral to your work?
Definitely having the inspiration to write a song that really means something to me and that I can really connect to emotionally. I need to be in the right frame of mind.
How do you like to work?
What artists inspire you?
I’m inspired by so many artists, past and present, but some of my all time favourites would be, Janis Joplin, Bill Withers, Sampha, Prince, Frank Ocean, James Blake, Mariah Carey, Cocteau Twins, The XX.
What’s been a seminal experience for you?
I had an extreme life changing experience 6 years ago, when my boyfriend (now husband) suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was an incredibly traumatic thing to go through at such a young age and my whole life went on hold for 2 years, while I helped him as he emerged from a coma and went through the rigorous challenge of neuro-rehab. It really changed everything and my perspective on how fragile life is, so my music has been an integral part of helping me to cope and write about everything we’ve experienced.
What role – if any – do you play in your community? Do you think artists are integral to communities now?
I feel like artists are definitely integral to communities, although I think it’s sometimes harder in London as things can be so separated and spread out between the different areas. That’s why I’m always keen to connect with people in my immediate area of south east london and have definitely made an active effort in the last 6 months to reach out more and play little local acoustic shows.
What keeps your sane and what’s your guilty pleasure?
What’s your favourite spot in South East London?
- For a quiet drink and a lovely bit of food – there’s The Rose in New Cross, which was recently refurbished and has one of the best beer gardens!
- For a great view of london, the top of Telegraph Hill Park is the best!
- For a peaceful coffee and a cake, the Cafe of Good Hope in Hither Green is a lovely little spot, run by the For Jimmy Foundation, who are good family friends of ours.