This month we had the pleasure to speak to singer and songwriter Kerri Watt, whose debut album Neptune's Daughter came out on 15th January on Cooking Vinyl Records. Kerri has shared some of her thoughts on working in lockdown, the influences behind her music, and working with Machine, who produced her "absolutely awesome album", as described byBauer Country Hits Radio’s, Matt Spracklen.
How has the past year been for you? Have you found any positives in doing remote sessions and livestreams, or are you waiting to get back to in person meetings and gigs in front of a real crowd as soon as possible?
It’s been interesting. On the one hand, I’ve missed live shows but I’ve equally loved having the time to get really creative. The two EP’s I released last year were a result of lock down and it was really fun learning to shoot and edit my own music videos for the songs. Livestreams have been a great opportunity to connect with my audience in a new, more personal way and challenged me to keep coming up with new material/interesting covers to play each week.
What were the main influences behind your debut record ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ and how did you come up with the title for the album?
Sonically I was inspired by some of my favourite bands and artists that have been influencing me for years - Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Rolling Stones, Train. And lyrically, it was a real deep dive into my own mind covering everything id recently experienced from heartbreak and loss to love and family with lots of nature and adventuring stories thrown in. As someone who loves the outdoors and references the ocean, sunset etc regularly in my lyrics, I wanted the album title to reflect that side of me that people might not know much about. I feel calmest and do my best thinking while staring out at the water. Neptune was king of the sea in Roman mythology and in the same way we talk about ‘Mother Earth’, I am “Neptune’s Daughter.”
Where do the Americana roots in your music come from and how was it working with a producer like Machine, who sits on the opposite end of the musical scale?
They started right here in Glasgow. Growing up some of my favourite artists were LeAnn Rimes and Shania Twain. I don’t think I knew what genre they were at the time, just that they had killer voices and great songs. As I got older and started spending time checking out the Glasgow music scene, I really discovered blues and rock n roll. It’s not hard to find that music in bars and pubs across the city and if you listen to the likes of Paolo Nutini or the Temperence Movement, you can hear they’ve spent time hanging out in these corners of Glasgow too. Of course my interest in country, blues and roots music was solidified when I moved to the U.S. and when I started writing my own music, this Americana blend is naturally what came out.
Working with Machine was super exciting because we were both intrigued by the others musical background, but also found we had so much taste in common. We had a lot of respect for each other and at the same time were both full of fun and whacky ideas, so it just made for a really creative time where the positive vibe of the people involved really led the feel of the record.
Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process? How do your ideas come to life?
It’s different every time honestly. It could be a lyric idea that’s floated into my mind, maybe something I read in a book or it could be a melody or chord progression that sparks a song idea. Usually once I have an initial thought, il sit down and type lyrical ideas for 20 mins. Sometimes they don’t make any sense and won’t be used but it’s great just to get them all out on paper. I like to write the full song on just piano or guitar before I move onto any production ideas (although I usually have them in the back of my head.) That way I know structurally and melodically the song works at its bare bones - and often I’ll end up playing them that way at acoustic live shows.
What makes you excited for the future? Are there any post-lockdown plans that you can share with us?
With the debut album just out, I’m excited to see what journey it will take through the rest of the year. At the moment I’m recording a 12 episode podcast series where I talk to some of the creatives who worked on the album with me so that should be an interesting listen. During lockdown, I've been working a concept for a movie. It started off as a songwriting project but my team and I have turned into more of a ‘creative hub’ coming up with the story and imagery too. I’ll be excited to see where that leads... Beyond that, I’ve been loving being a part of songwriting camps during lockdown, most recently ACE. It’s cool to connect with other writers across Europe and always fun to work with new people.