Starting off on the UK soul scene is not an easy thing, yet Bonnie Freechyld is an artist that is about to do just that. We caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about her single, finding her sound and oh yeah, making a band!
Soulside Funk: Let’s start at the single, Give Love a Chance, how did you go about writing it and where did the idea come from?
Bonnie Freechyld: I had a boyfriend in 2007 and when we broke up I was heartbroken. I wrote a lot of songs about how I missed him and let’s try again and that sort of stuff. When I recorded the song I had just realised I was over it. I was with the producer, Darren Martin, and it was kinda on my mind. We ended up writing it the first day at the studio session and most the lyrical content was from me, from that situation. It just turned out to be a nice chilled out kinda song which kinda suits the mood and subject matter as well
SSF: So how does that Neo Soul sound compare the new stuff that you have been making?
BF: There’s kinda two sides to my music. When I first really got into song-writing I was writing from thin air, because I was distraught from this break-up. It all ended up being sad, and melodic, and you know chilled out, which ended up being neo-soul because I had guitar accompaniment.
Recently I have started writing more to beats. So that has led me more of a funkier sound and which I actually am personally preferring. I feel like I’ve got more energy too! But Give Love A Chance is a nice song to perform as well. People generally bop their heads and it’s nice to listen to and perform. A lot of my friends tell me they listen to it in the car when they are driving and they just sing-a-long…
SSF: So is the neo-soul thing something you are going to leave in the past, or do you think you will return to the sound?
BF: When I do an album there will probably be a few songs like that on there because I do love that kind of music and it kind of comes out of me naturally when I am sad about something, you know when you feel something strong in your gut, so there would probably be a couple of tracks like that. But now I am doing music full time and I mainly feel happier so am doing more upbeat, fun kind of music; although that guy came back to me in February (the one I wrote all the songs about and… then I wrote some more songs about…) (laughs)
SSF: Were they [the new songs] happy songs?
BF: Not happy but like stronger, a lot stronger. I’m using my voice a lot more now as well because I have a more powerful voice than you would think from my older stuff!
SSF: It sounds like when you are writing music it’s all you. Do you feel that as well, this is a way you get your story told and you get things, maybe you didn’t want to talk about, out of your system?
BF: Totally, writing is therapy for me…!
SSF: Is it a good therapy?
BF: Yes! It’s good because sometimes I get in these moods you know, when you’re just really upset about something and you’re really just like ‘aaarrrgggh.’ So you might wanna just call someone and tell them like, ‘oh my god this happened blah blah blah’ so I do that…(laughs) but at the same time as doing that I go and write a song about it. And once I’ve written a song about it I feel calm and I feel like it’s gone and I can move on…
SSF: So its giving you closure?
BF: Yeah, exactly. I write and it’s like, ok I’ve dealt with that I can move on definitely.
SSF: Moving on to your live music to you’re decision to stop focusing on acoustic music and search for band, is that to do with the move from the soul sound to something funkier?
BF: Putting a band together is going to suit the music that I am writing [now] more than what I was writing before. You could probably translate the other stuff to a band as well but I feel like I need to step it up a level and I think having a band is stepping it up a level.
SSF: What does a band give you do not get acoustically, and vice versa?
BF: [A band] allows you to do different things ya know. You could do an acoustic song with a band; just have a little bit of drums and a guitar. Whereas then if you wanna do a heavy rock song (not that I do that kind of music, but maybe I want to at some point!!) then a band can do that. With regards to performing acoustically, it is nice because it’s intimate. Neo-soul is such an intimate thing anyway and doing that with guitarist and one backing singer works quite well. It’s very simple and effective.
SSF: So how has it been trying to find a band? Has it been difficult?
BF: Yes, it’s been a freaking nightmare! (laughs)
SSF: What have you done to find people, how do you vet people?
BF: Basically, anybody that I know in music I’ve said, put the word out I’m looking for a band, ya know drums, keys, guitar, bass and anybody else that wants to join the bandwagon basically. Like I’ve got a sax player, and a congas players, so I’m kinda open to anything… maybe someone will want to play the triangle!! (Laughs)
SSF: So what’s next for you?
BF: I’m doing as much song-writing as I can and then with regards to the band I wanna write with them. I’m just really into writing and just want to experiment as much as I can because I don’t really think I have found the passionate perfect sound for myself.
SSF: So what do you think your sound is missing?
BF: Um… I don’t know. I’m not sure… it’s just like, when you know what you don’t like, but you don’t know what you do like? It’s kinda one of those situations. I know it needs to be funkier. I wrote this song called Red Dress and it’s got that heavy kind of boom clap beat [like Philadelphia soul] which really gets you moving. Then the lyrics are quirky, which is really me, and I’m using my voice a lot more. I just think I need to use my voice a lot more because the old music is like softer, where as I can actually belt stuff out and I should be doing that I think.
I want to get into gigging all the time, having a band that are all in it together. I wanna do a couple of gigs a week until we are doing really really good shows and then showcase our stuff… broaden the fan base as well. Go to other cities and tour, a little tour… that sounds so cool…..!!