Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Naomi Dawes. Together we discussed their relationship with music, performing in Birmingham, the concept of a “side piece”, and their newest EP “Siren” released today on all streaming platforms!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today? How was your holiday?
I’m doing great thank you. I had a lovely holiday, unfortunately I had Covid around Christmas, but I’m all better now ready for the New Year.
2. What was your relationship with Music growing up? What songs or artists did you enjoy during your childhood?
There was always music playing in my house growing up. Both of my parents are big music fans. They also love all types of music, so I was always surrounded by varying artists, from Pavarotti to Led Zeppelin. This exposure has given me a love for voices and sounds. My parents only played good music, from great artists with great songwriting. Some had incredible vocal abilities like Roy Orbison, Annie Lennox, and Whitney Houston to name a few. I always had varying favourites, Roy Orbison was a massive one but I also really enjoyed listening to what was in the charts. So Kanye West, Rhianna, JAY Z, Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse, and even the cheeky girls.
3. You began writing songs at age 13. Thirteen is an incredibly complex age for a human. What kind of songs were you writing at this time? Have you recorded any of these songs?
Majority of the songs that I was writing at that age were about crushes and rip-offs of Florence and the Machine songs. I also wrote a song about my Nan‘s death and the impact it had on me. There was a lot of heartache in my writing and it was overly dramatic. Which is something I’ve probably carried through into my songwriting today.
4. Three years later at 16 you began performing all throughout Birmingham. Can you recall your first show? How have you grown as a performer since?
When I was in college we used to go to this little bar called the Roadhouse, it’s where I did my first proper performance. I always sang in the choir and as a soloist when I was in school, but this my first proper performance. I’ve become a lot more confident on stage. My stagecraft and audience work has become a lot more refined and personable
5. Who (or what) influences you?
have many influences, some that I’ve previously mentioned, but growing up I also loved Lady Gaga, Adele, Freddie Mercury, the Kaiser Chiefs, Nirvana, and of course Florence + the Machine. But really the thing that influences me most is sound. If I find a sound I love, it will inspire me. That could be a sound on a hip-hop song or an operatic classic. Whatever it is, if I hear it and love it, it will inspire me or I want to put it into my work.
6. What is your songwriting process?
I tend to just sit down at my laptop and make a beat that moves me. Then the lyrics just come to me and I’ll build the song up that way. Also I tend to just write scrapy ideas in my notes On my phone. Then I’ll come back to them later or fit them into a new beat that I’m making
7. In 2019 you released your EP “Muse.” Could you share with us some of your muses at the time of putting this EP together? Has there been a muse of yours that has stayed consistent throughout your life?
I was pretty heavily into the 1975 at the time, so that had a big impact. But I was really just writing from the heart, about myself and my personal experiences. Loss, love and longing were the main themes of the EP, and they have continued into the music I make today. I think for a long time I had a sense of morbidity due to my Nan’s death, so that continues to follow me into my work today.
8. Mustard has heard of the concept of a “side piece” but never learned much about it. Is having a “side piece” common in human society? Why would a human want something/someone on the side? Could you share more about this single?
I think in today’s society we tend to have people we can go to to hook up with. Most people have that anyway, unfortunately I’m a bit more of a romantic so that kind of thing doesn’t really suit me. So Side Piece was about not having time for intimate relationships but only having time to hook up And leave. I also wanted to highlight the throwaway element that we tend to have in this generation of using people for our own pleasures and then discarding them once we are done. It felt very empowering to write like that as a female.
9. On your new single “Be Dead Soon” you proclaim “it ain’t fun if you don’t break the rules.” What are some rules that are fun to break? Are there rules you do not think should be in place?
I think in society, previously there’s been a lot of restrictions on lots of people but speaking from a female perspective I’ve definitely felt restricted and boxed in. There are a lot of pressures for females to act and be a certain way. But thankfully things are changing and I wanted to comment on being a female and not conforming. I’ve never liked being told what to do or being told how to act as a female, I’ve always been quite rebellious in that sense. So I like to break any rules that restrict me just because I’m a woman. I don’t think any rules should be in place about what we do with our bodies and our time. As long as you’re not hurting or taking advantage of anyone, I don’t see the problem with being ourselves and acting in a way that is true to ourselves
10. What can fans expect from your upcoming EP “Siren?”
SIREN is another big change in my sound. It showcases my production skills which takes my music to a new level. There are similar themes to my previous works, but I feel that SIREN Is an accurate representation of the direction my music is going in. Siren is a four track EP, with three songs and one interlude.
11. Is the siren on your EP more closer related to mermaids or law enforcement?
It’s definitely closer related to mermaids. The idea that a Siren’s song is so beautiful but so devastating is an attractive thought to me. When I’m on stage and I have the audience in the palm of my hand, I see the power and effect it has on people. You become this creature that has the power to completely change the energy and the aura of the environment. Plus I’ve always been a big fan of the little mermaid
12. What is next for Naomi Dawes?
More music, more performances, more experimenting and more female mythological creatures.
13. Where can readers listen to your music?
You can listen to my music on all streaming platforms by searching my name, Naomi Dawes, and you can follow me @naomidawesmusic everywhere