Interview: Billie Marten on her new album ‘Drop Cherries’ and record-store tour

Hayley Lawson

Billie Marten is a folk singer-songwriter with a honey-sweet voice impossible not to adore. Prior to her upcoming release of ‘Drop Cherries’ and record-store tour, Impact’s Hayley Lawson was lucky enough to interview her.

As soon as Billie answered the phone, I could tell that she was a truly lovely person, with a polite and chatty disposition which made her so easy to talk to. We discussed her pre-performance rituals, inspirations, songwriting, and some of her favourite memories. It was such an incredible experience chatting with her, and I’m so pleased to share what I found out.

When asked about her pre-performance rituals, she claimed, “I have to ignore the gig entirely until I actually have to walk on stage. Sitting in the green room with the band talking about absolute nonsense… Because it’s such a crazy thing to do as a human, the more I think about it the more I don’t want to do it. So it’s kind of like a distraction technique to me that I think works.”

“It’s much more ‘welcome to my world’ rather than ‘does anyone want to listen to me?'”

This prompted me to ask her about her reaction to performing on stage, and whether Billie experiences stage fright. She said, “I definitely used to. It was a real problem – like, I’d feel physically sick and I wouldn’t be able to stop shaking. I feel like I’d kind of sabotage the performance because I felt like I was failing… Everything’s much better now. The more you do it the easier it gets, as with most things, and I’m just learning that you don’t have to try and impress people. They’re there because they want to see you and it’s much more ‘welcome to my world’ rather than ‘does anyone want to listen to me?’”

I found this comment really important to share as it indicates that things do get easier, which made me think it may have been hard for her as such a young person to go big online. I asked her about this. She described it as “deeply confusing”, but it told me about her stage name, which “comes from John Marten, who is my dad’s favourite artist.”

I asked her whether this was what inspired her, and if so then what was her greatest push. “It was certainly mum-driven. She would often just film me doing little covers at home, and then one of them just sort of did something online, and people from London started to talk to me and it was sort of out of my control, but I could have said no at any point.”

writing songs is “very sporadic, it kind of comes when it wants to”

When asked about her songwriting process, Billie stated, “I can’t not write from personal experience. I’m actually really bad at storytelling from someone else’s perspective and I struggle to write about things that aren’t directly happening in my life.” She said that writing songs is “very sporadic, it kind of comes when it wants to and I’m learning just to give myself time and space until it arrives and that is incredibly freeing. I’ll just be going about my day and then just get this really physical urge and it’ll just happen out of nowhere.”

With approaching tours, I wondered what Billie does to give herself this space and sort of freedom when she isn’t writing or performing. Her wholesome response was, “anything to do with the home – I guess I love having that kind of nesting, domestic way of living. I just find it really calming because obviously I do a lot of travelling and kind of high-pressure things and my home is very much my own; so I love gardening and cooking and reading and horse riding (I’m really into that). Just things that make me happy.” Obviously, it is super important for people to put their own wellbeing first, so it was great to hear about how she does this!

I then went on to ask about the most important aspects of her career, including songs, tour memories, and gig memories. She claimed that her most important song was Cursive. “I remember it being so deeply personal and melancholic… I think it’s the most emotional for me because I’m recognising how small a person I was back then and how much I was struggling and now I can sing it in a totally different way and a totally different mantra, which seems to help people in the room at that time and it’s almost like a complete turnaround of self.”

When asked about her favourite tour memories, she mentioned her tour of America in an RV. “There were just really great moments of waking up in Walmart car parks and thinking ‘What state am I in now? Where am I?’ I love camping and being outdoors. I loved just waking up and doing something so seemingly corporate at the end of a day that started out with kind of not anything. Sometimes you’d wake up to frosty hills in Denver and then we’d wake up near Venice beach in LA.” This truly does sound like a surreal experience!

“they kind of did all the harmonies and the background music and then I sang along to them”

Billie seems very fan driven. After claiming that she loves when people talk to her and communicate with her at gigs, she referred to a New York show that was her first headline. “There was a point where they were asking for this song, Liquid Love, and it’s not really possible to do with just me so when they started singing it and they kind of did all the harmonies and the background music and then I sang along to them and yeah, I’ll never forget that.” With this, I truly hope I get to see Billie Marten live someday, as I believe the experience would be unlike any other!


All in all, chatting with Billie was so lovely and I felt as though she was very open and honest, which you can also see through her music which is so emotionally raw and real. Seeing performers as remote and different from the rest of us is an easy habit to fall into, but hearing about such personal and mundane experiences from someone I find to be so incredible was really inspiring.

She performed on 11th April at Rough Trade in her record-store tour and will be stopping at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham on 22nd May – and I absolutely feel like both of these should not be missed!

Hayley Lawson

Featured image courtesy of Katie Silvester. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @billiemarten via Instagram.com. No changes were made to these images. 

In-article video courtesy of @billiemarten via Youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.

For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.

If you can’t get enough of Impact Music, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates on our latest articles, and follow our Spotify to find playlists made by our very own writers.


Leave a Reply