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Rosie Frater-Taylor: Unveiling the Bold Evolution of "Featherweight"



Hold onto your hats, music lovers, because we're about to embark on a journey into the heart of a sonic revolution. Rosie Frater-Taylor's electrifying new single, "Give & Take," has already sent shockwaves through the airwaves, hinting at a bold new chapter in their artistic evolution. But the story goes far deeper than just a single song. "Featherweight," the groundbreaking new album, promises to be an immersive exploration of sound, emotion, and self-discovery, and this interview is your backstage pass to its unveiling.


Prepare to be swept away as we trace the transformative journey of Rosie Frater-Taylor's sound. From the introspective whispers of "Bloom" to the raw power of "Featherweight," we'll uncover the influences that fueled this metamorphosis: the electrifying energy of live performances, the desire for accessibility, and the constant push for artistic growth.


Since your debut, how do you feel your music has evolved leading up to 'Featherweight'? Could you share with us how your sound transitioned from 'Bloom' to now?" 


We had the pleasure of touring my last record a bunch and I feel my/the band's playing has evolved quite dramatically as a result, you can hear that added band-cohesion, chemistry, and power on the new album. In my trio, the guitar playing is super front and centre which was important to me to capture in the recording too! Finishing a jazz (guitar) degree in that time has also (ironically) given me the urge to move away from those niche / overly complex styles. I want the music to be accessible - to make a powerful statement; the lyrical themes are becoming much more important to me in the writing these days whereas previously the performance/playing has been the most important bit. 

 

You've channelled the grace and fluidity of artists like Lianne La Havas and Bat for Lashes in your latest single, 'Give & Take.' How have these artists influenced your musical style and vision?


I think it was Snarky Puppy’s Michael League who may have coined the term 'intelligent pop'... For me those artists are the epitome of just that; pop music that has that unexpected something extra: chords, musicality, rhythms, production, time signature changes, skilful playing. Some other artists that do this for me: Laura Mvula, Kimbra, Emily King, Madison Cunningham, Willow, so many!

 


‘Give & Take' explores themes of duality, love, and queerness. Can you talk about what inspired you to write about these topics and how you approach storytelling in your music?


Songwriting always relates back to your own personal story at some point, even if you're talking about the experiences of someone else, it's through your own emotionally tinted lens! Those themes have cropped up in recent times for me and they got my emotional cogs turning... That's how I tend to write, I seek out chords, riffs, melodies & topics that tug at my heartstrings, make me feel something or give me goosebumps!

 

The track is described as packing a heavy emotional punch. What were the biggest challenges you faced in capturing this intensity both musically and lyrically?


That emotional punch demanded a similar musical punch in the choruses that eluded me for a long time. It took my talented friend / co-producer Lewis Moody to take it to the rockier place that I had in my head. He literally bent down to my pedal board and whacked the overdrive right up to full and asked me to do a take. It initially freaked me out, but I realised that grittiness and power was what the track had been missing. I had to work very hard on the vocal delivery for that one too, it took a while to get a take with just the right amount of angst!



 Can you describe the creative process behind 'Featherweight'? How do you balance the mix of hard-hitting lyrical ideas with glistening melodies and textural contrasts in your compositions?


When I'm making music, I tend to layer up lots of guitars and vocals that provide a dense bed of rhythms / harmonies that sort of subtly interact with each other. Once I'm digging those textures the melody usually presents itself to me via some other part I've already recorded. For me, it's all about creating various 'moods' in a track. Once I've created that 'mood' I'm able to build on top quite freely. 



The music video for 'Give & Take,' directed by Tom Ewbank, depicts the internal battles of gender, identity, and relationships. How did this collaboration come about, and what was the concept behind the video?


I love Tom's work... He's created several dynamic videos for Jordan Rakei - so I reached out to him! We met for a coffee and spoke about the track's genesis and this idea of shedding the 'lighter' sides of your personality to embrace 'darker' influences and emotions whilst in tandem, feeling like all these extremes of emotions exist inside us all at once, being human and all that. Tom came up with the idea of the 'lighter' me having it out with the 'darker' me via a game of chess played against myself. Very 90s/PJ Harvey inspired that one.

 

 Following the release of 'Hold The Weight,' what kind of feedback have you received from fans and critics alike, and how has it influenced your outlook on the upcoming album?


I've been totally chuffed with the response in all honesty. We played my utter favourite venue OMEARA the other night for the hometown launches and it was amazing to see people singing along and really getting excited about the new songs! I think the record makes a lot more sense when you take it in as an album as opposed to just the singles. 'Give & Take' sounds vastly different, on the surface, to a track like 'Heartbeat' or 'Some Other Day' yet I still feel they belong together as different facets of this 'Featherweight' world I've created! Same band, same guitar, same chord choices, same me... Different moods. 



You've garnered attention from a wide range of artists, including Jimmy Page and Jordan Rakei. How do these diverse influences shape your music, and are there any collaborations in the works?


I'm a music-lover! I love showing off music I've just discovered... Don't we all? Whether it's something quite well known like Adrienne Lenker "Anything" or Willow's "Alone" (no one seems to have clocked how amazing her new music is ha !) or something lesser known like Lewis Taylor or an awesome guitarist I've just discovered called Pau Figueres, I think inspiration always starts from having that : "damn I wish I'd thought of that first" feeling you often get when listening to something amazing for the first time. No new collaborations in the works currently but it's very much on the agenda for 2024. 

 

With 'Featherweight' marking a stylistic shift towards a bolder, heavier direction, can you share any insights into future musical explorations or themes you're eager to tackle?"


 No idea! That's what's so exciting about this job... I just hope to make it as authentic and qualitative as I possibly can when I get round to it!

 

Looking back at your journey so far, what has been the most significant lesson you've learned about yourself as an artist and individual through the process of creating 'Featherweight'?" 


The importance of maintaining and nurturing that core belief we all must have in the art we make. Believe in your art, crawl/walk/run with it and don't let nobody stop you! 



Follow her journey on @rosiefratertaylor


Article By Sal Fasone


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