Spotlight On Nottingham – Interview: bexx

Gemma Cockrell

Even though she now lives in London, bexx still has major connections to her hometown of Nottingham, including currently being a finalist of Future Sound of Nottingham 2021. Following the release of her latest single Biggest Mistake, Impact’s music editor Gemma Cockrell caught up with bexx to find out more about the lyrics of the track, her song-writing process, and how the bands that she was obsessed with during her teenage years influence her to this day.

How would you describe your sound to new fans?

Retro-inspired sad bangers.

How has the Nottingham music scene influenced your music?

I don’t really know – what’s been strange about recording and releasing my first originals in 2020 and 2021 is that I feel quite isolated from actual physical music scenes, either in Nottingham where I was born, or in London where I live now. I see myself more as part of an online music scene or an LGBTQ+ music scene. Perhaps that will change now things are reopening!

What is it like being an independent artist?

Stressful but rewarding! Things I love about it include meeting and chatting to fans, when a song comes together for the first time, working with talented people, and live shows. Things I don’t like are playlist submissions, writing songs I end up hating, and the way “the industry” is obsessed with numbers.

BBC Introducing honestly changed my life

What has it been like to receive support from Future Sound of Nottingham 2021 and BBC Introducing Nottingham?

BBC Introducing honestly changed my life. The first time I was played on the show, I posted a video on TikTok of me reacting to the comments they made about the song, and it went viral really quickly. It basically gave me an audience in the first place. Dean from BBC Intro is so nice, I love that he’s such a big fan of everyone he plays on the show. Future Sound of Nottingham has been a seriously cool experience too. I can hardly wait to play Rock City in the finals, even though we still don’t know when that will be! Industry recognition is not as important to me as finding fans who will resonate with what I’m doing, but it has made people take me more seriously and has sent new opportunities my way. So, it’s pretty cool!

What is your song-writing process?

I’m still working it out! I usually come to a writing session with a concept and some vague lyric ideas and go from there. Lately I’ve been learning to produce my own stuff, so if I’m working alone, I go with chords, groove and structure first and then put lyrics over the top.

This song is kind of a letter to my past self

What influenced your latest single Biggest Mistake lyrically?

A lot of my lyrics are sad with no resolution, whereas this time I wanted to say something positive and talk about the light at the end of the tunnel. I spent a lot of time during lockdowns considering personal growth and wrote a lot about wondering whether it was possible to change for the better. This song is kind of a letter to my past self – yes, you did get better! And it’s great!

I spent my teenage years obsessed with Paramore, Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance

I noticed that the track had elements of pop-punk, what is the importance of that genre to you? And which artists in particular influenced these sounds in your music?

I spent my teenage years obsessed with Paramore, Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance. I was also a big fan of that blink-182 album Enema of the State which I’m sure was really old at the time. I really wanted to think I was a rock chick. I’m referencing all of those things, but my major inspiration was Rina Sawayama. I love the way on her album she unapologetically references so many different genres and musical eras, and combines them in really compelling ways. So, you hear the pop-punk influence but I also think there’s elements of Fickle Friends, Griff, Holly Humberstone, Sam Fender, even older Coldplay stuff. It’s fun to put those elements together and see how it evolves.

Biggest Mistake is out now.

Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of bexx. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @bexxmp3 via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.

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