RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST DEBBIE SCHIPPERS
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
My family likes to say I got out of the womb singing and it’s kinda true.
I’ve always been singing since I can remember. I haven’t had the easiest childhood, so I’ve always used music, especially the piano and songwriting as a way to express myself… to find a relief.
I was aware of the healing powers music has from a very young age. I loved how the music made me feel and I wanted to make other people feel the same way.
My dad was my first fan and eventually gave me a little tape recorder to capture my ideas. Him and me would write and produce songs in the basement together my entire childhood all the way up to my teens. When people started telling me that the music, I make truly moves them I felt even more passionate about pursuing it full-time.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
The reason I started singing and writing were because of great vocalists and performers like Tina Turner, and amazing songwriters like Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys. They moved me deeply as a little girl. The more I listened to music though I learned that I don’t discriminate genres; I love them ALL. Soul, RnB, Jazz, HipHop, RocknRoll, Metal, you name it. My dad introduced me to Jimi Hendrix quite early on and it was a spiritual experience for me but so was Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Outkast and Jill Scott when I first heard their albums. At some point I was obsessed with 70s rock bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac etc and eventually found my way to grunge bands like Alice in Chains. When I started playing in bands in my teens I dived deeper into this eclectic mixture of RnB, Soul and Rocknroll and brought it to the stage. Gigging prolifically has made me the person and artist I am today. I am a live performer first and foremost and a studio artist second. My heart is on stage and belongs to the band and the crowd. These influences are what shaped my new EP ‘Station Rise’. I love bending genres and combining them. It’s thrilling.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums.
This is almost an impossible question to answer cause there is too many but at the top of my head right now:
Pieces of a Man – Gill Scott-Heron
Dirt – Alice In Chains
Baduizm – Erykah Badu
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
All along the watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?
Quite honestly, I don’t care. I know it’s controversial to say but I don’t make music for an industry. Music is not a means to an end for me.
I have a deep desire to express myself and share my creativity with whoever cares to listen, that’s all there is to it for me.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Women don’t feel safe anywhere ever generally and it’s due to one specific demographic.
We need to raise boys into better men who learn to respect, protect and value women.
How do we do that? I don’t know.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I think having a small community that rides for you goes a long way. Back in the day when I played with my band, we started out playing in small venues just inviting our friends and people we knew from school. But word traveled quickly and suddenly, we started to sell out. It’s ok to be patient and build organically. If you love what you do there isn’t a sense of urgency cause the very act of creating and experiencing is causing so much joy. So, invite your friends, play gigs in your local community, use what you have and build from there. But first and foremost, be consistent, be your own fan, love your shit and believe in yourself or no one else will.
Tell us two truths and a lie about you.
I own a black vintage Mustang convertible.
I’ve sang with Katy Perry.
I have a phobia of holes, called trypophobia.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Music has lost its value due to streaming. Spotify paying their artists, the very core of their existence, crumbs are just a mirror for society. We want things cheap, fast, and easily accessible and that happens on the backs of real-life people.
I miss the days where I was waiting months for my favourite band to drop their new album and when I finally held it in my hands, I would play it front to back every single day. It was special, the music was special. I would read the little booklets, get to know about the people involved, and learn the lyrics by heart. I still have those CDs and Vinyl and I take good care of them. Now compare that experience to streaming…
I also think Spotify has startled an unhealthy competition between artists which makes everyone sound the same. Everyone wants the next hit, the next trend, the viral new song that gets into New Music Friday and in order to get there and stay relevant you must sound a certain way.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
Yes haha, a few. I love a juicy conspiracy theory, but I take them with a pinch of salt.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
A wig lol
What was the worst experience on stage?
I peed myself on stage once, but I was wearing black pants, so I don’t think anyone noticed. And one time, I was trying to be sexy, missed a step and fell off stage and landed on my back on the dance floor. Someone from the audience picked me up and put me back on stage. The band kept playing, so I finished the set with a swollen ankle lol.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I have a short fuse.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
That I don’t care if I don’t.
I hear you have new music out, what can you tell us about it?
It’s a genre-bending, raw, melancholic, and nostalgic record and a love letter to South London. The title ‘Station Rise’ is the name of the street I lived and had my studio on. Everyone involved with the record, all of the musicians who are playing on it, including the mixer and the photographer, I’ve met on ‘Station Rise’. It’s my home away from home. It’s flawed and messy but so inspiring and full of love, just like my EP.
Talk me through the thought process of the new EP.
For the first time, I didn’t have one. During the lockdown I reached new personal heights spiritually by spending hours every day in meditation, just experiencing myself and being alive. I then went into the studio with the purpose of channeling what needs to be expressed by keeping a still mind and an open heart free from judgment. I would then have a little smoke, press record, jam and honour what comes out. When I listened back to the demo recordings, I was so surprised by what I had expressed. It was exciting, like getting to know new parts of myself. I have no aim just honesty to offer.
What was the recording process like?
It was spiritual, psychedelic, divinely channeled, and intuitively executed.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Letting go of the attachment to a result.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Nope, it was a perfect moment in time and an expression of who I was at that particular moment in my life.
I honour and don’t criticize that.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Don’t take yourself and this life too serious, you won’t make it ‘Out Alive’ anyway.
That’s the title and message of one of the 4 tracks from my new EP. Now go and have a listen!