Beth Rowley plays Chichester’s Chichester Inn on Friday, October 19 at 8pm on the back of her new album, her first in a decade.
Ten years ago her debut Little Dreamer went top ten, gained a Brit nomination and sales in excess of 100,000. But in the aftermath, she fell out of love with the record industry.
She felt compromised both musically and stylistically, modelled in the label’s image as a mainstream contender.
The new album Gota Fría sees her take back control.
“It is the first album for ten years. There was an EP in the middle of the ten years and a couple of failed starts. I have had a few times when I thought I was ready with a collection of songs and then just one piece of the puzzle wasn’t right. So I thought I would wait.”
And then it happened: “I guess first and foremost it is about the songs, just to be able to have a collection of songs that you feel completely connected with and that are important to me.
“But it was also the team. I just needed to make sure I have got the right people around me and that I was able to make music that was sustainable.”
There were times she doubted it would happen: “With anybody who is working creatively, you sometimes think ‘It is never going to happen! I am being stupid for keeping going!’ In the ten years, there was a real rollercoaster, thinking should I carry on or just go and get a nine-to-five job. But I managed to carry on doing music things, singing sessions.
“And I just knew I had to wait, that it would happen when it was ready.
“There were a few labels that were interested when I left Universal which was a couple of years after the first album came out. I stayed with them a couple of years and toured the album non-stop, so I was only without a label for eight years… which is still a long time.
“But I think I fell out of love with the whole music industry part of it. I had those dreams. I had the belief.
“It was having quite a romanticised idea of how it would work.
“But it was actually a constant tug of war between the industry finance side of things, the money side of things and being left to do what you love to do.
“In the beginning they were completely supportive and I think they were towards the end, but I felt the need and the pressure to bring out music that was successful. They wanted me to do the same thing as certain girl singers, and it was the old cliché about the record company having other ideas about what they see your potential as being.
“I felt quite uncomfortable. I knew it wasn’t for me.
“It is like it is your baby, and they just changed their minds. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t think that this was the life I wanted.
“I just wanted to stop and to enjoy life and to figure out what success means, and that was really what I was waiting for. And it took a while. But I just always knew that I wanted to get back to it.”
But yes, it is like completely starting again, Beth says: “Over the years this album has built up expectancy and pressure.
“This album had to be all the things that I wanted it to be which is why it has taken so long and because of that it took even longer.
“But in the end I was thinking I have just got to put it out otherwise it is never going to happen.”
And now the floodgates have opened. Beth is already working on the next album.
Tickets from the Chichester Inn.