RGM Introducing – SZOU

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to become an artist?

I saw Friendly Fires perform when I was aged 12 at a festival. I had no idea who they were but the overriding feeling I got from their performance was euphoria. I decided from that day I wanted to do music and send people to new heights and make them feel things. 

It’s been a bit of a wild last year, how have you guys managed to pass time and stay sane during lockdown?

I’ve been writing a lot – more than I ever have! I’ve really honed down my writing and production skills but that’s because I’ve had so much time to do so.  Also, I’ve been doing a lot of walking. I’m very glad lots of people have got into the walking hype because it’s so good to clear your mind and make you feel like your getting out into the world.

How positive are you feeling now we are in 2021?

I think I fooled myself into thinking 2021 was going to be the complete opposite of 2020 from the get-go. Obviously, it’s not been like that but I think this Summer is going to be different and I’m very much excited about that (especially going to gigs and the pub haha). 

How has 2020 affected your mental health?

Do you know what it’s actually been a time to really reflect on who I am and my mental wellbeing? It’s given me the chance to find out about myself and my brain. It’s been tough but with my own personal mental health battles, I’m more aware and more eager to heal. It’s been a sort of awakening in some ways. 

What support is out there for new artists in Manchester ?

During the pandemic, I’ve been doing loads of workshops with Reform Radio and Brighter Sounds. They are organisations that want to help local creatives. Their classes 100% kept me creatively stimulated during the pandemic. I’ve learned so much from their workshops and they were pretty much all free to do. They’re a great chance to virtually network as well.  

What’s your favourite song right now from another band currently on the circuit?

I will never stop shouting about Mealtime. They’re so damn good. Their song ‘Denim’ came out yonks ago but I’m playing it non-stop on the reg. I’m one of those people who will listen to a track a billion times over and over.

Who is inspiring you at the minute?

Baby Queen and Abbie Ozard 

If your fans could remember one thing about you what would it be?

I produce my own music too – we need to keep shouting about female and non-binary producers because as everyone knows, music is heavily male-dominated and that needs to change asap. 

What useless talent do you have/ party trick? 

I can do a really good impression of Shakira.

What was the most fun you have had on stage? 

I did this tiny festival in south Manchester years ago and the audience was all sitting down. This woman stood up and started to do some interpretive dancing which threw me at first. It was a really cool experience performing my own music whilst watching someone else perform. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

There was one time I did a charity gig and like they didn’t have any of the sound equipment and obviously my live set is all electronic and requires a PA. I fully got on stage, attempted to set up but knew there was absolutely no point because at the end of the day it would be playing out from my laptop speakers haha. Good thing there was only like 2 people there.  

Tell us a funny story from backstage?

This isn’t from one of my own gigs, but I and my boyfriend somehow swindled getting backstage at a Gorgon City gig. They had huge buckets of really expensive booze so we were helping ourselves because we thought no one would notice. Unfortunately, someone snitched on us and we were quickly escorted away.

Name a four-piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)

I’m gonna be that person and swap bassist for keys player  – sorry to all you bass players out there!Lead Singer- Ariana Grande Drummer – Jack GarrattKeys – Stevie WonderGuitar – Alex Turner

Who would you like to work with on the circuit right now?

I’m not sure if they’re so much on the local circuit anymore but more international, my dream of dreams is to work with Disclosure. Their banging production and my pipes would make some goosebumpy shit (well I would hope so). 

What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?

I’m such a hypocrite but don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own individual journey. Just go with the flow hun!

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus 🙂 )

My neighbors play ridiculously loud dance music at like 11am on a Monday morning. I’m all for smashing out some dance bangers and bevvies on a Friday night but we’re all trying to keep sane in this lockdown and your loudness is invading my personal space (in a weird audio way).

Whats your favourite song to play live and why?

To be honest, I’ve been away from the gig circuit for a few years. I did some open mics last year whilst I was living with my parents and moved to Manchester in March to pursue music. Little did I know Miss Rona entered the building pretty swiftly and all my gigs got canceled and I had to move back home again. Since then, I’ve written new songs and my music has changed direction a little so when gigs restart I’ll have completely new material. Oh and my favourite song to perform live is one that’s not out yet and I’ve never performed- I just know it’s going to pop off! Watch this space because it’s going to be released in a few months. 

I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?

Yes so my new single ‘Rose-Tinted’ is out everywhere on March 12th. I wrote and produced it last summer because I was feeling so nostalgic for ‘normality’ and missing my friends a lot because of the pandemic. It’s a love letter to them really and it’s also my first step at including more band-y elements in. It’s a deep song but I want it to make you dance. 

How was the recording process given the various restrictions the UK has been under of late?  

I produce it all from my laptop and bought myself a really good condenser mic when the pandemic started because I knew getting to the studio would be tricky. My brother invested in a mic to record his guitar in and he’s got loads of different amps so that was straightforward to lay down guitar parts. Then I just sent it over to Aaron (Perfume Advert) and Caz (Essa Weira) to be mixed and mastered. 

Finally and perhaps optimistically, what are your plans for the year ahead

I’ve just been signed to No Such Thing Records so that’s exciting. After ‘Rose-Tinted‘ I’ve got another track coming out and then I’ll be gigging and continuing to try and convince people that I’m worth listening to. It’s going to be a long slog but I ready to give it a shot. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

It’s okay to be anxious about the lockdown. All of our lives have changed so it’s going to take some adjusting back to normality. I dunno if that’ll mean anything to anyone just thought it would be worth mentioning. Peace and love.