December 6, 2018
“Has anyone seen a writers’ round before?”
Anyone who had the misfortune of missing Write Like A Girl’s epic London debut at St Mary’s Church in May 2018 was caught up quickly with the sobering fact that only 17% of the songwriting credits in 2017 were attributed to women.
A quick glance at the crowd confirmed that pretty much all of them had indeed seen a writers’ round before. Probably that week, let alone ever! So, the format of each singer taking turns to showcase a song and tell the story behind it was not new. Fittingly, the three organisers performed first, allowing the crowd to build and warm up for the second set of less established artists.
“After a gig with the boys we eat cheese and have a stiff drink”
Emily Faye kicked things off, opening it up with her bloody brilliant song Open Road – she probably didn’t mean to make it difficult for everyone else by setting the standard so damn high! She introduced a new extended guitar intro and fake out bridge as a nod to one of ‘her boys’ who was in the crowd that night; guitarist, co-writer and performer in his own right, Elliott Joseph.
Her second song was a debut of Kitchen Table (working title), about the place where all the now-infamous cheese eating and stiff drink drinking happens. Not sure it’s quite the ‘safe space’ that Faye claims in the songs. What happens at the table doesn’t always stay at the table – she might well write a song about it!
All too soon, Faye’s final song was Grow. Again setting the bar incredibly high, this time in the crowd participation stakes. She had the confidence to know she could leave space for the crowd to sing GROW OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH back at her without prompting.
“If anyone finds a stray Malibu and Coke, I’ve lost mine!”
The venue was a slightly odd low-rent private club under a takeaway on the outskirts of Brixton, so it’s shame Allen’s drink went missing as the bar was in a completely different part of the rabbit warren of a basement.
Allen’s first song was written in Nashville and sounded a lot like our scene’s Nashville-pop starlet, Catherine McGrath.
Next up was sad breakup song I Can, followed by her latest song Keeping Me Up, which had reached number 4 on the country charts.
“Why don’t I just get a little coat and walk around London with a red balloon?”
The third event organiser, Beth Keeping, was whimsical about the experience of filming the video for Strangers In The Same City.
Flashbacks was another song about the consequences of a romantic breakup, while Building Bridges On The Dance Floor was about making amends with a friend.
The Write Like A Girl women joked about that lengthy title being Keeping’s Fall Out Boy song.
“I lost the rock paper scissors so I’m starting”
The experienced trio ceded the floor to the guests, and Roisin O’Hagan was up first.
Although not as familiar with the round format, she was no stranger to live performances.
In 2018, she was a finalist in Fender’s Unsigned Artist of The Year competition and given her lovely red guitar that she used to entertain the crowd at this round with songs like Living In The Dark and Miss You Like June.
“I was feeling quite a lot of self-inflicted pressure to succeed”
Aymee Weir was second in the second trio, performing songs like Regardless and Good Times. She blended Tracy Chapman style rhytmic guitar with a sweet head voice.
“I’m really darn proud of it”
Bryony Dunne was talking about her pride in writing her song inspired by Mona Lisa, Aphrodite and other more diverse female body types celebrated in times past. She also performed Maybe Tomorrow and Golden Girl.
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