Interview: Foxes

Louisa Rose Allen, more generally known as electro-pop star Foxes, is a Southampton born singer-songwriter best known for popular hits ‘Youth’ and ‘Let Go for Tonight’, who also found acclaim with a Grammy win in 2013 with ‘Clarity’. While Foxes’ upcoming second album All I Need has been delayed until February 2016, this hasn’t stopped her chasing chart success, as the album’s lead single, ‘Body Talk’, hit the UK charts in July, proving Foxes’ brand of infectious pop prevails on album number two. Beth Maguire had a chat with Foxes ahead of her headline gig at Plug this month.

Hello! You’ve got about a month until tour time, so what’ve you been up to recently?
I was in the studio for about five months, and straight after Christmas was writing the second album which was really good fun – it kind of felt like I was hibernating! It was nice to have a break from the madness of last year, but I’ve definitely been ready to get back into things and get the new music out again.
I write a lot of the music videos because I like to be quite heavily involved in the whole creative process, so I did that for ‘Body Talk’ which was really fun, and ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ – that one was a sort of Billy Elliot inspired video featuring a really cool young dancer that I found to star in the video. Then I did an H&M campaign which was fun as I’m a big fan of theirs, and now I’m onto promoting the second single of the album, ‘Better Love’. Very busy!

You’ve also had a busy summer hitting the festivals. How has the new stuff gone down?
It’s been great! It’s always difficult to come back after you’ve been away for a while, and music is constantly evolving, but I’m so happy with the reaction that I’ve had. It’s nice to come back and know that your fan base is still there.

How have the musical/lyrical elements progressed with the new album?
I wrote the first album when I was growing up, so it was a process that kind of felt detached when I went to put it out. It wasn’t necessarily relevant to what was actually going on at the time, because really I’d written it when I was a kid, so it was kind of delayed. But this album feels completely right for now, and I think I learned a lot in the last three years. This is the album I’ve always wanted to put out.

What’s the meaning behind ‘Better Love’?
I wrote ‘Better Love’ with Dan from Bastille, and it’s about moving on from something and someone, and coming to terms with the fact that a relationship is never going to work out. Love is a very scary thing, and when you’re in love you can’t always see that it might not be the best thing for you. It took me writing an album to think, ‘hang on a minute, this isn’t right’. It’s quite a personal song for me, and it’s really just about asking someone to give you the best love that they can, but I realised in the end that that person could not give that to me.

Are there any other collaborations on the new album?
I wanted to keep this album quite personal, so I think had I collaborated with anybody other than Dan (who is a friend of mine) and written with strangers, it would have been difficult to keep it that way.

Aside from writing, who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
I love Eminem, I think he’s brilliant and I had a big obsession with him growing up. He’d be someone I’d love to write with. I think Calvin Harris is really great too; I love his style of writing and think he’s very talented. There are a lot of male writers I’d love to work with because I love male voices – that’s why Dan is on ‘Better Love’ – I didn’t want to take his vocals out because he sounded so good in the chorus.

You’ve made a name for yourself supporting, amongst others, the likes of Marina & The Diamonds. Can you give us a hint as to who is supporting you on tour?
A great girl called Izzy Bizu who is really incredible! She’s got an amazing voice. I really love finding new music, and I think it’s really important to support great new artists because it’s so exciting. To be able
to bring someone on tour with you and expose them to your fan base is a really nice thing.

What was it like to win a Grammy back in 2013?
It was a mad thing to happen because I went from this being this girl writing and recording vocals from a bedroom in some shared flat in London, to being at the Grammys in a dress, having absolutely no idea I was going to win it, accepting the award with gum in my mouth and bursting in to tears! After that, the year became a whirlwind. My Grammy is actually at my mum’s so I don’t see it a lot, but when I go to visit I’m like “Shit, mum! I won a Grammy!”

Do you feel pressure to top or match it?
I think of it more like a journey; there’s enough time to achieve what you want to as long as you don’t put too much pressure on things. I think as long as I’m doing work that feels right for now then it makes sense to me. With ‘Clarity’, it was so far away from the music I was (and still am) making, and I’ve always tried to have an identity because it’s easy to get lost as a featured artist, so it’s more important to create your own path.

Back in the early days of your career you left a music theory course to focus on song-writing. As this is for our student special, what would be your advice for students that aren’t sure that the traditional route is right for them?
Try not to panic if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. A lot of people don’t, and it takes time to decide. If you’re not enjoying something, don’t be afraid to leave it and start something new that you do enjoy. It’s all about what you want to do and who you want to be at the end of the day, that’s the priority. It’s so hard not to worry, and I remember when I left music school, I was like “fuck, what am I gonna do now?” but it’s important to know that everything is happening for a reason. As long as you’re happy and you’re doing something you love, it should all fit in to place.

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