‘Stop listening to what everyone else wants you to do, and do what you want’. Interview with Singer/Songwriter @arlissaxx

Arlissa is a singer-songwriter raised in Brixton and signed to London Records and with Jay Z’s Roc Nation management at just 19 years old. From collaborating with Nas to supporting HAIM, her career to date has been impressive. Due to release her album this year – we caught up with her to discuss everything from songwriting to her inspirations.

1. You released your first single, Hard To Love Somebody, with rapper Nas in 2012, how do you think you’ve evolved as a singer and songwriter since then? What advice would you give your 19 year old self? 

To stop listening to what everyone else wants you to do, and do what you want. it took me years to get to a stage where i was finally true to myself.

2. What are you working on at the moment and what else can we expect to see/ hear in 2017? 

I’m getting my album together at the moment!

3. What’s been your favourite gig to date and when can we next see you perform? 

I have two, one was when I supported Haim at their sold out gig at Koko with just me and a guitarist, the response was honestly sooooo special I dont think i’ll forget it. I also love playing for So far sounds, it’s really special because you feel like you’re just singing and having a laugh with best friends. Everyone really listens. It’s such a great feeling to know people are truly listening to what you have to say.

4. As a video magazine we’re a big fan of how you share your music on Instagram/ YouTube, how important do you think it is for people to see you perform and experience your music visually? 

I never really thought about the importance, I started to do that because I felt at the time, the people following me didn’t really know I was an artist because i was so scared to share my music. I just wanted to show people how much I love singing and songwriting.

5. You’ve worked with PMoney, Netsky, Schiller, Tough Love and collaborated with Nas for your first singleHave you got any collaborations coming up? 

I haven’t planned any yet, but I’m sure there’ll be more in the future!

6. Who would you love to collaborate with right now? 

Childish Gambino, The 1975, Sampha would all be dreams.

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7. What’s your songwriting process? Your songs explore heartbreak – does your songwriting process and inspirations differ for tracks you write for other people? 

My songwriting’s really personal, I don’t ever sit down and think ‘today I’m going to write a song about this…’ because it feels forced then. Theres no formula, I just let what ever wants to come out, come out through melody and then I go back and refine it. I just find it’s the best way for me to be really honest. Writing songs for and with others is a completely different process because it’s about getting in their headspace. I find it so fun! Because it allows you to come up with lyrics and melodies you’d never do yourself, but appreciate with someone else’s style and tone.

8. You posted a picture with Rick Rubin earlier this year – what was meeting/ (working with him?) like and how did that come about? 

He emailed me really out of the blue when i was writing in LA saying he’d like to meet. Then when I had a day off in LA, I got a call from his assistant saying he wanted to meet me then and there, so took an uber to Shangri-La studios, played music and then met other musicians and got to write down there! It was one of the most surreal times of my life, and one of my proudest. I know everything about Shangri-La because I’m such a fan, so to work there was a genuine dream come true.

9. You described Nelly Furtado who recently covered your single ‘Sticks and Stones, for her album, ‘The Ride’, as one your favourite artists and inspirations. Which other artists inspire you? 

Jeff Buckley is one of my biggest inspirations, he was just so free and open when he sang. Grace is still my favourite album to date. Nina Simone is also a huge inspiration to me, everything about her was so honest and true and that’s what I really want to do with my music. I also love The Rolling Stones. I just feel these artists were so unapologetically themselves. I kinda grew up always trying to please others, and they’ve really helped me realise you can’t create art or even live properly without being unapologetically you.

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