Emerging singer-songwriter Lettie chats to Ciara Andrews about the challenges facing modern musicians and the possibility of giving up
In today’s fast paced, internet obsessed world in which artists can vanish from the spotlight as quickly as they were propelled into their fifteen minutes of fame, is there room for another female solo artist to emerge and stay relevant? There is no doubt that in recent years women have ruled the charts and it seems more are emerging everyday with similar ambitions of being the next big thing. Lettie, a Suffolk-based songstress, knows the frustrations of trying to make it in this fast paced music scene more than anyone; so much so that her latest offering Good Fortune, Bad Weather almost didn’t happen. What started out as a promising career with her Age of Solo debut, soon became stagnant and surrounded by misfortunes, forcing Lettie to give up on her musical ambitions all together.
“I thought I’d try and do the recording for the third album in Oxford but unfortunately that never evolved. The recording process was very slow and I was running out of money. We didn’t really finish any songs and I had to stop it because it was just not going anywhere. In 2010 David Baron asked me back to work with him again [Baron produced Lettie’s previous two albums]. There was a lot of tragedy around the first albums because David lost his daughter so when he was mastering my first two albums he was in a terrible place and I had also lost my father. We’re kind of in a different place now and with this album we both wanted to create something that was a bit more direct and more fast-paced”.
Despite the setbacks, Lettie returned as determined as ever and in the process created what is arguably her most accomplished work yet. Good Fortune, Bad Weather is an extremely diverse piece of work with tracks ranging from sweet electro -pop to laid back acoustic and even venturing into blues-y guitar riffs that accompany Lettie’s ethereal vocal and pretty melodies that weave the album together. She has been described as bubble-gum pop’s cooler, older sister which aptly describes what she’s all about. An intelligent songwriter, her focus often shifts from the intensely personal to significant world events. ‘Pandora’ is based on the oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico that occurred in 2010 while ‘Sanctuary’ takes influence from the financial crisis facing Europe. “The system let us down, I feel for everyone now”. On what is undeniably her most revealing and honest track on the album, ‘Lucky’, Lettie admits, “I’m so tired of being broke… I’m so sorry I let you down”.
Lettie is unwavering in her determination to succeed through an independent approach; she is not signed to any major label and releases her music independently with the help of her producer and music partner David Baron. However, she remains realistic: “If people aren’t buying the CDs then you’re not getting any income and it gets really boring. I’m not interested in making money but I don’t want to keep losing it because that means I can’t even get out there. If I can become more popular then I’ll have a future, if I don’t then I’ll have to give up. I know it sounds awful but it’s the truth”.
Despite her unyielding drive to succeed, you won’t find Lettie partaking in any TV talent competitions. “How I feel about those shows is that the mystery of the artist is gone and that was my main criticism. It’s incredibly difficult for them to come out of it with any sort of mystery. The contestants are never able to progress; I think that they destroy you. They are only out for themselves. Somebody called me and asked would I want to be on The Voice and I said no; it represents everything I hate. I just find it a bit depressing”.
Lettie garnered some media attention in 2010 with a performance at Glastonbury as part of BBC documentary Hello Glastonbury as well as licensing tracks to H&M and embarking on a two month tour of Europe supporting Peter Murphy. With her latest release she continues to be positive but stays grounded. “My next goal is getting out and playing live and taking it as far as I can really. I feel very encouraged so all I can do is sit tight and see what happens. I’m still doing my day job and I’m being quite practical about it”.
Good Fortune, Bad Weather is available to download from LettieMusic.com