After spending the last year releasing a flurry of fresh and exciting alt-pop offerings, Manchester-based artist Szou has now returned with her energetic new gem 'Rose-Tinted'.
Channelling the dynamic sound of acts like Christine & The Queens and Sigrid, 'Rose-Tinted' makes for an incredibly engaging listen. Filled with a bouncing aesthetic, exciting ideas, and her brilliant vocals running throughout, it feels like the next year will spell huge things for the emerging name.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with her to find out more about her background and what has inspired her most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
The piano! My Dad bought us a piano when I was about 7. He didn’t get us piano lessons for about 6 months. He said he wanted us to play around with the feel of the piano before we got to understand it and do grades. I honestly feel like this trained my ear to truly listen to the sound of it and be unafraid to try things out.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
I’m always searching for music that is euphoric and takes me to other places. As a teenager I was really into Florence & The Machine, Friendly Fires and early Ellie Goulding. I’m now into more electronic music but those artists were amazing at making music that took me to new heights. They laid the foundations for me.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Haha it’s a weird one. I remember my uncle bought me Destiny’s Child - Survivor for Christmas. I don’t think I actually listened to it at the time but now I have a massive appreciation for that album. All of their anthems are on that record.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
Do you know what I’m going to be really rogue here. I hate musicals but one of my favourite things in the entire world is The Sound of Music. ‘Edelweiss’ is such a beautiful song with such a lovely melody. It’s just one of those songs you don’t get bored of.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
So usually before I write a song I’m often thinking about what I might write about. My writing comes from a deeply personal place so I’m often writing about things I’ve been mulling over for a while. I might write phrases and make voicenotes on my phone before actually sitting down to write it. A new ritual I’ve been doing over the past year or so is rewriting a song. The first take of a song is never the same as the finished thing and that makes me feel like my songwriting is improving. I make the skeleton of the song and then go back and refine.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Baby Queen - honestly she’s one of my best finds of 2021. Her track ‘Raw Thoughts’ is that same euphoric atmosphere I look for in music and she nails it on the head. I also really like SG Lewis’s new album and have been listening to Daft Punk RIP.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Being able to make music that I’ve always thought I couldn’t make. I’ve been working with a fantastic producer (David Simpson) to co-produce my upcoming tracks and he’s making my music sound the best it ever has. Collaboration is key to making the music of your dreams people!
And what is the most frustrating part?
Knowing when a song is finished. This is so so common for musicians. We’re all a bunch of perfectionists. I’m usually never fully happy with the track when it’s finished. You have to learn to accept that you need to draw a line and say ‘I’ve done as much as I can’ and ‘I’ve tried my best’. Working with other people also really helps because they have another perspective. They can sometimes tell you enough is enough haha!
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
That everyone is on their own journey. There’s absolutely no point in comparing yourself to other musicians because every person has their individual path to follow. I’m so guilty of comparison but I remind myself of it everytime I’m feeling bad about my progress. If you’re trying your best then success will come in whatever way that might be.
Szou's new single 'Rose-Tinted' is available to stream now. Have a listen to it in the player below.