Featuring Jacques Greene, George Fitzgerald and Artwork on production duties, Katy B is back in February with a new album ‘Little Red’.
Artwork produced with Brien back in 2011 and he also produces on the new album. “In the beginning I spent more time partying with them [Magnetic Man] – so I wouldn’t really see them in the studio – they’d give me the beat then I’d record the vocal. This time round I’ve spent more time in the studio with Arthur [Artwork] and I really enjoyed it. It’s faster and easier rather than sending music back and forth.” ‘Little Red’ sees collaboration with fellow Brit, Jessie Ware on ‘Aaliyah’, but who is Katy’s dream collaboration? “Pharrell because everything he touches turns to gold. I’m also a massive Kelis fan.”
Katy’s album is a mixed bag, of ballads like ‘Crying for No Reason’ and club-focussed songs harking back to her clubbing experiences. “’Next Thing’ is about me and my friends going to three or four different places – onto the next thing – in one night like a little tour. Then there’s ‘Sapphire Blue’ which is about seeing someone you’ve been seeing around for a while in a club and just wanting to approach them.” The ballads on the album show an emotional side to Katy “my life has changed in the last few years. I feel like I’m in a different place now than in my early twenties and a lot of my friends do as well, we’re going through a lot of changes, so there’s that element to the lyrics.”
Each song is heartfelt: “all of my songs come from somewhere inside of me. I have to tap into that emotion for anything to come out: melody, lyrics – anything – you have to let yourself feel something for music to come out.”
As a female solo artist she is massively influenced by Beyoncé, naming ‘Crazy In Love’ as her favourite album. When Bey dropped her visual album last month, Brien was envious. “I think the visual album is a really good idea. I’d absolutely adore doing a video for every song but the label definitely wouldn’t let me! It’d cost too much money but maybe one day I can pay for it all myself, that would be wicked.” When that day comes and she has unlimited funds, she’s going to outer space: “I’d have some crazy special effects where I’m singing on Saturn or something…”
Back down to earth and Katy is known for singing in her distinctive London twang, but what does she think of the Mancunian accent? “I’ve been a Coronation Street fan all my life, all my family watch Corrie so I’ve got a strong attachment to Manchester accent!”
Brien has appeared in Manchester in various venues, from Parklife Festival through to tiny Club Academy and her favourite has been Warehouse Project. “I absolutely adore it; I’ve performed there with Zinc. I’ve had such a wicked night every time.”
Catching some festivals is Brien’s hope for summer 2014: “I love Glastonbury and Outlook. I went to the first two Outlooks but I haven’t been back since, my friends make me jealous every year when they go.”
The Burning Man, set in the Nevada’s Black Rock Desert is her festival of choice, partly because there’s no money involved “you just exchange things. There’s no money, people just do things for each other like water in return for someone braiding their hair, people build loads of art installations and it’s in the middle of a desert and you have to wear goggles because of the dust storms.” A peace and lurve type of festival, would Katy say she’s a hippy? “Oh, 100%, I am definitely a hippy.” You heard it here first.
– Kim Kahan
Conducted for The Mancunion