‘Sing You Through The Storm’ By Rebekah Delgado.
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‘Lamentine’ By Rebekah Delgado.
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If hard work, talent and passion for your craft were the sort of attributes big record labels valued when signing artists, then Rebekah Delgado would surely be doing that whole Jools Holland thing whilst being regularly play listed by radio stations the length and breadth of this sceptic isle. But the truth is even in the internet age, it can still be difficult to break through to the next level without a reasonable budget or the backing of the corporate big boys. Which is a bit shit really innit? But on the bright side, there have been many examples of hugely talented artists, who having been signed to a major label, have been re-packaged and shrink-wrapped into something that’s just bland and unchallenging enough to be successful. We’re sure should Ms Delgado achieve the degree of success her talent merits she wouldn’t allow her music to become a pale imitation of it’s former self .. of course it is possible to make a few bob and retain your artistic vision… but more often than not you have to fight for it and Rebekah is certainly a fighter.
After being the front woman in two much loved London bands Ciccone and The Last Army , Rebekah has decided to go solo, after all if a jobs worth doing …..
She’s currently working on her album ‘Don’t Sleep’ and judging by the tracks she’s made available such as ‘Sing You Through A Storm’ ‘ Lamentine’ and ‘Sunrise’ it’s safe to say her debut promises to be something very special indeed. Vocally at times Rebekah conjures up the spectre of a less imperious Nico , a more tuneful Marianne Faithful and delivers songs which whilst introspective are full of darkly joyous melodies. Combine that with a teasing wit and genuine passion it makes you once again believe that music isn’t a career choice, it’s a calling.
As we often do , we had a chat with Rebekah about going solo….
VP: Hi Rebekah, after your previous band The Last Army appeared to slowly disintegrate you took yourself off to Cadiz. Was this the classic case of getting away to find yourself? To discover exactly what direction you wanted to take?
REBEKAH : Haha! Very insightful! Yes – I went away to come back, if that makes sense. I’d been working so hard for so long and had taken kick after kick after kick so I had to disappear. I ran away and stayed with family I’d never met before and not only did I find sleep there (which disappeared as soon as I got back to London), but I discovered the place I’m really from and got strong again. I walked by the sea for miles almost every night, staring at the big old moon until it told me it was time to go back across the Atlantic again.
VP : At that time did you ever consider quitting music?
REBEKAH : Before Spain, yes, briefly – but only very briefly, and only because I was completely broken. It’s a masochist’s life unless you have money, the right connections, LUCK (if such a thing exists), but it’s what I have to do because it’s who I am. There’s no choice there really and I’m a tenacious mo-fo.
I didn’t make a back-up plan as many people do (most of those seem to quit around the age of 26) – I didn’t give myself the option to fail. If I do, then at least my stupidity was wholehearted.
VP: After being in bands was going solo quite an intimidating affair? Do you feel more vulnerable without having that ‘gang’ mentality that can exist within close knit bands?
REBEKAH : I was terrified the first time I played alone. And the second time. And the third. I’m only just getting used to it now and yes, you do feel totally exposed. Quite a few of the songs I’m doing now are much more raw and I’ve no band to hide behind – so I’m opening myself up to being criticised on a personal level. Also, if you make a mistake you can’t look at one of your bandmates and tut, which used to be one of my favourite things to do.
The biggest pain with this solo thing is that YOU CAN HEAR PEOPLE TALKING (this didn’t happen when blasting my punk-pop of yesteryear). I’ve been doing this a year now and I still find it totally off-putting. To me, it’s akin to them to them shouting “YOU’RE RUBBISH!!!” at me (even when there are lots of people gathered around and listening avidly), which is totally ridiculous because music taste is subjective, and anyway people like to catch up and natter. I’m training myself to not take it personally by imagining a naked man dancing in front of me at groin height pointing at me and taunting me with the wrongest insults to try get over distractions like that.
VP : Talking of going solo, one of the new songs – Ménage à Moi – may raise an eyebrow or two! Do you feel as a solo artist you can take more risks and put more of your personality, humour etc into each song, do you feel that you can write more freely without having to consider ‘the band’ as such?
REBEKAH : Not having to consider the rest of the band in terms of songwriting is brilliant, as long as you can stick to the same level of quality control and not go on an over-indulgent bender like so many female singer-songwriters do. And yes, my personality is totally coming out more now. Still not sure if that’s a good thing!
And with Ménage à Moi – I want some eyebrows raised! Also, some people have heard it and not understood what it’s about so it’s not totally in-your-face. It’s rude but it’s not rank. Turning Japanese and Orgasm Addict etc, all great tunes – and why should ladies not have a song celebrating their, ahem, ‘me-time’ too…
VP : So…. is the album recorded and ready for release? Would you describe your solo work as radically different from your previous work or more a natural progression? What can we expect?
REBEKAH : It’s difficult when you’re in the middle of it to see the differences but I guess my solo songs are more private and guttural. Also sweet sometimes and animalistic and honest I guess. I’ve also put a bit of the Arabic/Spanish influence in there too, which I’ve never done before. The instruments are pretty different too – saw, violin, cello and E-bow feature a lot but the swirling feedback-y guitar of some of TLA’s songs make appearances on the album aswell. And I’ll always have some pop in there of course.
We’re still finishing off the album – co-producing it in a bedroom. So it’s been a case of snatching hours here and there to get it done. We’ve actually got a whole week booked off soon to finish it off but that coincides with a gig so practices etc will eat into that time a bit. But soon it will be done and then we have to narrow it down from 16 songs to around 12, and find a way to master and find money for physical copies etc. But – one step at a time.
VP : What plans have you got for the rest of 2011? And more generally how’s the year been for you?
REBEKAH : The rest of 2011, I’m just going to carry on doing everything I can possibly do to get my music out there.
If you want the truth, so far 2011 has taken me to the edge a good many times. Some of it’s been happy but I’ve so much constant work to do that it’s just been draining and exasperating. Trying to do anything ambitious with no or little budget is killer. So that’s the answer to that question. There’s been fun in there too of course; I have the best friends. I’ve also now found the promo partner-in-crime I’ve been wishing for, who’s the best back-up ever. And, I say this tentatively – more of the right opportunities seem to be coming my way. So hopefully, looking back, I’ll just remember that progression-wise it’s been a great year and forget the dark bits.
VP: The other day, I was visiting my dear old mother, I flicked her TV on (she has ALL the cable channels) and there was an MTV style station which played auto tuned song after auto tuned song… It was like being in R’n’B chart hell…. This is a rather long winded way of asking you … what do you make of the current music scene?
REBEKAH : I don’t really listen to the current music scene because I don’t want it to affect me – I want to make music that’s a bit timeless somehow – though of course that’s impossible to do in its entirety. I do keep an eye on the mainstream a bit. I like Lady Gaga, I think she’s the best pop star since Madonna in the way she’s subverted the dead-eyed stripper roles of Britney Aguilera who preceded her and taken the power back in a weird kind of way. I like *some* dub-step but that’s been around in London for like 6 years or something now.
I’ll probably look back in the future and discover loads of music around now that I like. Pretty likely, that.
VP : Have you noticed the economic down turn/ swinging government cuts affecting turn outs at live music events down in London? What’s the live scene like down there at the moment?
REBEKAH : I haven’t noticed a difference but then I’ve never had the pennies to go to bigger gigs anyway. I’ve always been the guest-list-and-sneaking-your-own-booze-in lady. If you go back through history – times of recession tend to have a really positive effect on the art and music scenes of the time. From the 20s jazz era to the late 70s US/UK punk scenes – explosions and cross-fertilisations of different disciplines when generations are politicised (or the inevitable drip-feeding from that) have created great movements. But then playstations etc might have changed that. I guess time will tell.
VP: What have been the best albums you’ve heard this year?
REBEKAH : For the reasons above I don’t listen to that much current music. New acts I really like at the moment are O Children and Pris. I’ve also had ‘At Last’ by Micah P Hinson going round my head for ages now.
VP: Finally, five words to describe your music…
REBEKAH : Dark, uplifting, introspective, word-centric, pop.