Chatting with SheBeat is kind of like walking through a whirlwind – in the nicest possible way of course! She has so much to tell you, so many snippets of wisdom and insights to share, and like a whirlwind she throws them all at you at once! You try to focus in on something interesting she’s just said, to ask a follow up question maybe, but by the time you’ve formulated a sentence, she’s moved on and thrown something else even more attention grabbing at you. She’s everything a musician should be – feisty, fun, creative, full of ideas, and best of all, she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
We talked for a while about her background and the roots of her music. SheBeat was born and brought up in Liverpool, “I’m a proper Liver bird!” she enthuses, “but I reckon I must have been conceived in London, ‘cos I love London too. Perhaps I’m a cockney Liver-bird…” She left Liverpool as a young adult during the city’s wilderness years in the mid 90’s to experience life in various places around the UK, and circumstance brought her back just two years ago. “I f***ing love it here now!” she exclaims, “I never, ever want to leave again, I feel so of this city. The heartbeat of the city is within me, it’s so special! If I hadn’t left for so long I don’t think I would appreciate it quite as much as I do now.” It’s certainly easy to be swept along by her contagious enthusiasm.
SheBeat has enjoyed music and singing all her life. “I’ve always been a proper karaoke queen,” she laughs, but she only took up the guitar a couple of years ago, and only started performing as SheBeat a year ago. “I was playing at the Best of Monday Club at the Cavern a few weeks ago,” she says, “and I realised that it was my first anniversary of performing live.”
It’s difficult to believe that she has come such a long way in such a short time; she’s not just “involved” in the Liverpool acoustic music scene, she’s a central character in it. In just a year SheBeat has performed at an impressive range of Liverpool venues, including Heebie Jeebies, Camp & Furnace, the Cavern and of course K’s Choice. “I’m always looking for new venues, new experiences, new challenges! I don’t have a favourite venue, but my most exciting gig recently was at Sefton Park bandstand at the Liverpool International Music Festival, that was a great day. I want some Wirral gigs now – look out Wirral, SheBeat’s coming for ya!”
What else would we like to know about SheBeat? Well, I asked her a few questions, and true to style she gave many more answers than there were questions, with a fair amount of laughter into the bargain.
Q. What have you been doing today?
A. Normally, on a weekday I would be at work writing radio commercials, that’s my day job (that’s why you’re getting so many great little soundbites from me, it’s my job to write them) but I’ve had a day off today. I’ve been researching for “Beerdfest” (she spells the word out) it’s a beard and moustache competition in Liverpool that I’m running. There’s beer involved too, that’s why Beerdfest is spelled the way it is. I love doing daft, random stuff like that.
Q. Tell us something random about yourself….
A. I run a beard blog! Check out tashwags.blogspot.com and you’ll find pictures of some wonderful facial artistry.
Q. Tell us about “Supermoon Lover”, your song on the album, what’s it about? Where did the inspiration come from?
A. It’s about an ex, a relationship that didn’t work out. I cried when I wrote it and at first it upset me to even play it so I didn’t perform it for a long while. I actually wrote it sitting in my car in the car park at Pleasureland in Southport, which struck me as a very strange place to be crying! I find I can enjoy performing it now though – a lot of people like it, I think it has heart and speaks to them, it’s a simple little story really, and people can relate to it.
Q. How does your song writing process normally work? Typically how long does it take you to write a song?
Some of them are instant, they come together in a day. Others are two thirds there pretty quickly but then need a couple of months to simmer before I come back to them and finish them. Most of my songs are short and quite simple, 2 to 3 minute songs are my favourite, they don’t need to be elaborate and clever, they just need to tell a story people can relate to. I’m a bit of a busker really, my performances are getting better as I gain confidence in what I’m doing. The important thing is just to enjoy it, I just jam it and the songs usually come together eventually. I do quite a lot of driving for work and the creative part of my brain comes up with things while I’m driving, I record ideas on my iPhone as I think of them. (Presumably she stops the car before using the phone!)
Q. Do you ever work with other musicians when recording or performing? Are there any musicians you’d like to work with?
A. I do some backing vocals for friends, I’ve been working with The Science of the Lamps and Joe Kelly recently. I love collaborating with others. I’ve got a good friend helping me with my stuff at the moment, he’s putting some backing tracks down and helping me mix them in, so stay tuned! A lot of my music has a 60s vibe, which I love and so does he, so we work well together.
Q. What are your music influences? Do you have a favourite decade? Or genre? Do you have a role model?
A. As I say, I’m a 60s kind of girl. I don’t care if anyone thinks this is corny, but I just love the Beatles – they’re my fave ever band! For years I was a closet Beatles fan, because coming from Liverpool it seemed to be a bit of a cliché. But I came out of the closet recently and now I’m a militant Beatles fan! I say to people, “If you don’t like the Beatles and can’t appreciate what they did for music you are no friend of mine!” But I like all sorts of other music too, I’m also a fan of 90s grunge.
Q. How do you feel about performing or releasing your own songs? Do you ever feel shy about revealing yourself to the world?
A. It can be difficult, I get self conscious because a lot of my songs are about past relationships and are pretty personal. I don’t want people calling me Liverpool’s Taylor Swift, always singing songs about boys! But I find that for any song, after the first few plays, it’s out there as a piece of art, and people can interpret it as they want to. It can be quite liberating to be able to get personal stuff off your chest actually.
Q. What makes you listen to a song? Lyrics or melody?
A. Music is an emotive thing and your response to it can change after a lot of listens. Sometimes a song hits you with one emotion when you first hear it, but you relate to it differently after 20 or so listens. For me, the melody, mood and lyrics must all combine to tune into the way you feel at that moment and that’s what hits the spot.
Q. Are there any songs that make you emotional? Laugh or cry?
A. My own song “Supermoon Lover” used to make me cry all the time! Plenty of songs make me laugh and cry because I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, but “Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin always makes me stop and go “Wow!”
Q. What is your proudest moment ever?
A. In May I played at the Cavern club wine cellar stage with the Cave Dwellers. The place was packed out with tourists and visitors to the city and I played my own song “Freaky Crazy”. As a Beatles fan playing a song I’d written myself in the Cavern made me unbelievably proud – good luck topping that, the rest of my life!
Q. What do you think about self published music? Is it likely to be the future?
A. As a newbie to world of music recording I’m figuring it out as I go along. The growth of home digital recording has made it much easier than it used to be, and I’m hoping to self publish a CD of my own this year. Trouble is, I’m just a part-time enthusiastic amateur, I have a day job (which I love of course!) but I’d love to live my life as SheBeat full-time. That’s not happening at the moment though. I need investment – can I have a benevolent millionaire please? I have faith in my product and I know I can sell it.
Q. Would you like to be signed and compromise your musical principles a bit, or would you rather be an untainted amateur?
A. It would be difficult to turn down any deal, but I like to think that I’d stick to my principles and carry on writing and playing the music that I love. Until that benevolent millionaire comes along I don’t know!
SheBeat’s song “Supermoon Lover” is track 12 on CD2 on the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 compilation album. https://soundcloud.com/shebeat/supermoon-lover
To find out more about SheBeat and links to her other work, click https://www.facebook.com/shebeatmusic
Find out more about the K’s Choice compilation album and purchase a copy here https://kschoiceacoustic.wordpress.com/the-city-of-music-2013-compilation-album/