In recent years, a lot of the world’s biggest stars, particularly women, have gravitated towards the sounds of the times gone by, finding inspiration in the 70s and 80s. Among those looking to the past to find the sound of their present, is Scottish singer-songwriter Kerri Watt.
Watt has always been obsessed with music and credits her female predecessors as the driving force behind her adoration of music: “Growing up my heroes were all female pop artists, I knew the choreography to every Britney video, all the words to LeAnn Rimes albums and loved the idea of doing that when I grew up”.
However, making her own music was always the plan: “I never wrote my own songs, didn’t know anyone in a band or any clue of how to get started so I ended up following a passion for musical theatre. It wasn’t until I was 22 and on tour with a West End musical that I picked up the guitar and wrote my first song. As soon as I realised I could create my own art rather than performing someone else’s work, I decided to go for it! It was a pretty impulsive decision. I left the theatre, moved back to Glasgow in with my parents and started hitting every open mic in the city”.
In her first few years in the industry, Watt was living the dream: “I still had stars in my eyes and everything about it was so exciting”. “I was just kind of on a roll. Over those first couple of years everything seemed to snowball in a really positive way, open mics turned into small venues, small venues turned into bigger ones and they turned into festival offers”. However, Watt admits that music hasn’t always been easy. “Once I got to a certain level, things started to slow down a little and admittedly it’s been a fight for the last few years to keep growing and engaging”.
As for her music, Watt’s sound strays beyond the 80s synth that has seen a major resurgence in the past few years, instead aiming for a more 70s Americana-folk sound. On her latest release, ‘Kissing Fools’, Watt nods to the coming-of-age film renaissance in which she grew up.
“It was written one afternoon in the Gibson Guitar Showroom Beverly Hills. A song writer friend of mine had taken me there to check the place out and we ended up in one of their little writing spaces jamming out”, Watt says of the track, “I’d had this idea to write a song about all my favourite 90’s movies I grew up with. There was so much inspiration to draw from with that theme so the song kind of just flowed out.”
The track is a bright and warm, dipped in the same liquid joy that coats the movies that inspired it. It is also made all the more nostalgic by its retro production, which is noticeably instrument heavy, which, according to Watt, is a very deliberate choice:“My influences as a song writer mostly come from 70’s bands. Eagles, The Allman Brothers, The Doobie Brothers etc. I don’t think you can beat the ‘feel’ of a live band in a studio. So, I decided that’s how I wanted to record my new music. The instrumentation on the new songs is almost entirely live, recorded with a full band in Austin”.
However, Watt is widely inspired, saying her creative inspirations are a “a real mixed bag of old and new. On the one hand, I love the lyrics of Van Morrison. But then I love the big stompy production of current Icelandic Rock band Kaleo”. Despite her love for both old and new, Watt can’t help but admit she has a real soft spot for the decades gone by: “I continue to be inspired by the legends of the past and often have to check myself that I don’t get carried away romanticising about decades gone”.
Check out the music video for Kerri Watt’s ‘Kissing Fools’ below!
Featured Image: Republic Media