Occasionally an artist shows up who is absolutely, definitely, poised for something special. Roxanne De Bastion fills that category perfectly. Oozing potential through the sweeping soundscapes of her music and the totally relatability of her lyrics, Roxanne is already coming to the attention of the great and the good of the music industry. Her latest double-A single, “The Painter” and “Heart of Stone” is already receiving critical acclaim.
Before you read on, Roxanne De Bastion is giving a FREE download of “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?!
Roxanne De Bastion served a worthy apprenticeship, composing and performing from the age of 15 and quitting school in her home town of Berlin at the earliest possible opportunity to move herself, her guitar, and her songs to London. It seems she made the right choice, having since graced Glastonbury’s legendary acoustic stage, performed a showcase at Folk Alliance in the USA, opened for Martha Wainwright, Ricky Ross and Thea Gilmore as well as touring in her own right across Europe, among many more.
Remaining resolutely independent, Roxanne self-releases her double-A single on 28th July.
“The Painter” opens with Brit-pop vibes, then travels lightly into folk-rock territory, delivering layered arrangements and harmonies that tantalise the ear. There’s a nod to the ’60s, too, with shades of Marianne Faithfull in the closing bars. Roxanne explains the evolution of the song:
“I wrote ‘The Painter’ together with my good friend Thom Morecroft. I don’t often co-write, but this was one of those magical moments when a song just seems to appear out of this air. Thom was playing piano and I was on the guitar, we started playing and the song just happened. He also sings guest vocals on the track, which he recorded remotely from Liverpool. Oh, and this is a super silly fact, but I’m playing Howard Jones’ harmonium on the track…I didn’t know it was his at the time! One of those little quirks of musical trivia.”
Accompanied by a video that combines 80s pop vids with shades of Dr Who, “Heart of Stone” is a quirky earworm of a song. Beware – the tune will inhabit corners of your brain long after the track has stopped playing. Which is how it should be. It’s a surprisingly chirpy little piece for a subject that could be quite dour, Roxanne explains:
“Heart of Stone is a song about overcoming or repentance – to wash your hands clean and start a new, to try and let go of those dark thoughts and memories that weigh us down:
“Before my heart turns into stone,
becomes a weight to carry around,
wash the blood up off my hands and let me come to…”
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.
Oh, and don’t get drunk on brandy on stage, because you might chip your front tooth on the microphone – and that’s not a good sound or look (true story).
That’s a story we’d like to hear, don’t you think?
Catch Roxanne live at the Cambridge Folk Festival on Saturday 29th July, and she’s on tour, supporting US artist Lambchop, between 8th and 18th August. Full details of the tour can be found 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