Andreya Triana at Citadel 2015
At the first ever Citadel festival, held in London’s Victoria Park on 19th July 2015, I got some interview time with upcoming soul singer Andreya Triana.
Giacomo: How are you this afternoon?
Andreya: I am very well, thank you very much.
G: So how is your festival season going in general? Has it been a busy year?
A: Yeah, it’s been amazing. I’ve done Glastonbury festival, there’s Bestival coming up, there’s Jamie Oliver’s Feastival and amazing stuff in Europe, so it’s been a busy but amazing time.
G: So do you find, when coming to a smaller festival, that you approach the logistics, planning and preparation differently to the larger festivals?
A: No, I think it’s pretty much the same except this is just on a smaller scale. When you’re at somewhere like Glastonbury, it’s like this times about 200, you know? It’s huge. But this is really great; I’m on my home turf so…
G: You’re a Brixton girl aren’t you?
A: I am indeed.
G: So obviously it’s a very diverse part of London, culturally… would you say that has influenced your style, your sound?
A: Definitely. Yeah, I think from a really young age, you know when you grow up surrounded by so many different cultures – there’s African music, Caribbean music, Indian, Latin, you know – it’s a real eye opener and I think it’s great to be immersed in all those cultures.
G: What sort of age did you start hitting the music scene there or even taking an interest?
A: I think I was very very young. I was writing songs and poetry from the age of about 7, so it’s just what I’ve always loved.
G: …and I read something about you going to the Red Bull Music Academy and that was in 2006 in Australia? How did you get that?
A: Yeah, I applied. I was one of thousands and thousands that applied. I found out I got it and I screamed, I was so happy.
G: Was it like an audition process or did you have to send stuff in?
A: No, you’ve got to fill in about 60 questions. It’s like a really crazy application process but I found it really fun and yeah, it was just that and I got on.
G: How long were you down there?
A: I was in the academy for 2 weeks then I ended up staying in Australia for another month, so like a month and a half.
G: Then there was your debut, Lost Where I Belong, from 2010? It was produced by Bonobo. How did you come across this guy?
A: I met him kind of through the Red Bull Academy. I did a collaboration with a guy called Flying Lotus called ‘Tea Leaf Dancers’ and he heard it and we had a lot of mutual friends at the time so he was like “come and do some shows and hang out” and we just became friends. Then, when you’re mates and you try stuff and you play together, that’s how it happens.
G: How much influence would you say that he had on your recording? …Because obviously he’s more of a DJ producer. How much would you say that influenced your studio sound?
A: Well I’ve always had my own sound, really. I’ve always been a singer songwriter and always been into soul or contemporary soul, so it’s always interesting to see what someone else brings. The first album, I think, was perfect. It brought out a different side of him and it was just a great time.
G: And now you’ve got this year’s Giants, your follow-up album. Are you pleased with that?
A: I love it so much, yes.
G: What extent are you touring with it?
A: Touring? Loads. I’m hopefully going to tour more, hopefully over to the States and to Japan this year too.
G: Sweet. So it’s time for me to be cliché and ask about influences. Obviously you’re a very soulful singer… Was it parents’ music?
A: Well it was parents music, stuff that I found as well, stuff that my mates would pass me. Donny Hathaway was probably my favourite, Nina Simone… But I’ve always felt like soul music isn’t about just the typical Stevie Wonder or Nina Simone. I feel like it’s further reaching. For me, someone like Kurt Cobain or Thom Yorke, who are just so raw with their sound – that’s what I call soul.
G: So when the emotion comes through?
A: Yeah, exactly.
G: …anyway, I heard about you supporting Paolo Nutini. How was that?
A: Awesome! I love him!
G: Was he really hands on in terms of asking you to play a show with him? Was it him that gave you the call?
A: Well it’s kind of a funny story actually. I was at a dinner party, playing at a dinner party, we met afterwards and I was like “yeah, I sing too” and he said, “You should come and do some shows”… and the next thing I know, a week later, I’m there supporting him. He’s just a really open guy and he has a great energy.
G: Swaying slightly off-topic, you went on the John Bishop Show this week. What was that like?
A: It was awesome. It was so much fun.
G: Did that all tie in with the attention that you’re getting from the BBC at the moment, like a knock-on effect of that?
A: Yeah, maybe. They just seek you out and I got the call to do it so I was like “hell yeah, I’ll do it!”… So yeah, it was great.
G: Anyway, need to start wrapping this up now. You were on earlier this afternoon, how did you find that? Obviously you had one of the earlier slots – what was the audience reception like?
A: It was wicked. They were all totally on it! I sound checked and there were only about 10 people in there, so for it to be a packed tent of people was just amazing.
G: Are you going to stick about for the headliners later on?
A: Hell yes!
G: Who are you going to sway towards, as Leon Bridges clashes with Bombay Bicycle Club?
A: Ooh, I’ll check out Leon Bridges.
G: Good choice, good choice. Right, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.
A: You too, take care.
G: …and have a wonderful afternoon.
By Giacomo Palmieri