There was a moment in the middle of last year when a piece of music made time stand still and we fell just a little bit in love with the singer-songwriter behind it. That was when we heard Roxanne De Bastion for the first time. We knew that she was going places. Less than a year later and she’s delighting the music world with another release. De Bastion is inclined towards the unconventional, resolutely independent and doing things her own way. This shows in her choice of double-A single format, which were unusual enough when vinyl 45s were the only game in town and almost unheard of in these digital days. Her double-dip offering of “Rerun” and “Unwind” is released on 16 March on her own label, Nomad Records.
Before you read on, Roxanne De Bastion is giving a FREE download of her track “Heart of Stone” to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
Rerun is all about the vocal, which is just as well, since De Bastion has a delightfully clear and engaging voice. Combining crystal pitch with precision diction, she is a vocal technician’s dream. There’s storytelling of storytelling here too:
‘Once I heard the truth
Come crashing down
And as it descended
I rushed to grab a pen’
A curious blend of secrecy and sharing, hope and disappointment. A realisation that we don’t have it all worked out yet, wrapped into a in a reflection of life’s choices.
Perky and joyfully curious, “Unwind” opens with a few instrumental bars, including sweetly simple guitar phrasing, before posing the question:
‘Have you rummaged through my dreams?
Hidden them from view?’
Is this a song of insomnia? A coping strategy for today’s stressful world? As the arrangements take a distinctly dischordant turn, music mirrors cleverly placed emotion:
‘As I’m waiting for my mind to mend and sleep again…
it takes time to unwind’
Within this combination of tracks, taken from her critically acclaimed 2017 album Heirlooms and Hearsay, De Bastion reveals the tensions inherent to a creative life. Whether her own, or that of an imagined protagonist, she brings forward something into which the listener can paint their own experience. That is surely the mark of a confident, capable and inspirational artist. Woven together with blissfully under-produced musicality that allows those oh-so-pure vocals to float effortlessly above, this is a duo of music that deserves its place in any collection. File it under ‘artists who deserve success’ and you won’t be far wrong.
Roxanne’s advice to anyone just starting out with their music is down to earth and practical, with just a touch of humour:
If you have a bunch of songs that you’re happy with, my advice would be to play live as much as humanly possible. I started by playing open mic nights across the country and saying yes to whatever show was offered to me. It’s great that we live in a world where we can create music and share it with the world instantly, but I believe there’s no substitute for playing your songs live, honing your craft that way and connecting with people in the moment. For me, that’s what it’s all about and that’s what drives me to do more.
I’d also urge anyone starting out to make the kind of music you want to make. You are likely to get a lot of advice, solicited and unsolicited, on your music and what direction you should go down. There’s so much music out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and influenced in ways that aren’t very helpful. The second you start changing your music to suit something other than making yourself happy, you’re going down a dangerous path. So make sure that the music you create makes you happy and is what you want to say. You can’t really go wrong with that.
The great thing about the ‘music industry’ today is that there really are no rules. You can be completely in charge of your career and do things in a way that’s right for you. Don’t feel you have to go down a conventional route or do what’s expected. There are so many tools and platforms that we can use to get our music out into the world, so just find out what works for you and don’t worry too much about what others are doing. If you are making music that’s true to yourself and are working hard, it will resonate with people.
Finally, I’d advise you to be nice human and try and make lots of friends. That may sound silly and trite, but there really is nothing more valuable than a good network of mutually supportive people around you. The more musicians support one another, the better it is for everyone. Also, I’m pretty sure there are load of gigs that were offered to me just because the promoter was sure I’d show up on time and be easy to deal with.
If you want to hear more from Roxanne De Bastion, she’s written a book about her touring life which is being released on 16th April with a headline gig back at the Lexington in London. There’s been a distinct buzz around this project, since she crowdfunded it in less than 48 hours, so don’t miss out, get your copy here.
And get your free download of music from Angry Baby now, including Roxanne De Bastion’s “Heart of Stone” – just pop your email down below