Q: What is the story behind your new single, “Shame For You?”
Livvy English: I wrote ‘Shame For You’ during a period in my early twenties where I began to really look out for and value myself. I spent a lot of my teenage years being so cruel to myself, thinking that I had to look and act a certain way to be desirable to boys and worthy of their love, and I know a lot of my friends had similar beliefs. It was only when I met my now boyfriend, who completely accepts and loves me for who I am, that I realised how hard I had been on myself, and how much toxicity I had put up with because I thought that I was the issue. I realised that the people who had been dismissive of or uninterested in our relationships were not worth my tears and heartache, and definitely were not deserving of my love, and what a shame that was for them, hence the title of the song. ‘Shame For You’ is really everything I needed to hear when I was younger, and everything I wish I had said.
Q: What do you want listeners to get from “Shame For You”?
Livvy English: Most importantly, I want my listeners to know that they do not owe anything to people who do not respect them- if a relationship no longer serves you, whether it’s romantic, a friendship or a professional relationship, you have every right to cut those people off and protect your energy; it will not be you missing out, it will be them. Since I was tiny, I’ve always looked to music for comfort and I know that a lot of other people do the same, so I wanted to use this song to spread messages of empowerment, and the importance of sisterhood and self-confidence in a way that would educate and unite people, but also be fun to sing and dance along with. When I was younger and struggling a lot with body image and self-love, and how I was being perceived and treated by boys, it was songs like ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa and ‘Ciao Adios’ by Anne Marie that were getting my friends and me through. I really want this song to do the same for young people now.
Q: What influences you most as a songwriter?
Livvy English: My songwriting centres around mine and my friends’ experiences of being a young woman in the 21st century, so all my songs are very personal to me and influenced and inspired by events in my own life, or those close to me. My mum was a blues singer when I was growing up, so I grew up surrounded by amazing musicians who expressed and channelled their emotions and struggles into their music, and this is something I have always done to get by in my personal life almost as a form of therapy, and have now brought with me into my artistry. I love soul, rock, blues, R&B, and of course pop, and there are definitely elements of each of these genres in my music. I grew up listening to incredible, strong female soul vocalists like Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Joss Stone just to name a few, but I also listened to a lot of Muse, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Buckley, Foo Fighters and more contemporary pop artists like Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Adele; these artists have definitely influenced my songwriting and musical style, and have helped shape me into the artist and musician I am today. I think listening to and learning from such an eclectic mix of musicians has helped me form my own kind of unique style as well.
Q: Do you have any specific goals as an artist?
Livvy English: There are a couple of goals that I’ve had since I was a little girl, one of which is to play my own show at The Royal Albert Hall with an orchestra- I sang in a choir there when I was about 9 years old and was completely mesmerised by the whole ordeal and have never forgotten it. Having seen Raye, who is also an independent artist, play there recently I can confirm that this dream is very much still alive and is on my bucket list! For the most part though, my goal is just to be able to do this for as long as possible. I really just want to leave a lasting impression and to inspire the next generation of women and girls to stand up for themselves and to continue to fight for themselves and their rights.
Q: What do you want to convey through your music?
Livvy English: I really want to be a strong woman for younger generations to look up to; the topics I write about are not just unique to me, they are about experiences that we as young people all go through, and I want my listeners to know that they aren’t alone, that they will get through whatever struggles they are facing and that they will come out the other side even stronger, just as I have. I want to convey female power and female rage. I want women to know that they are allowed to be angry, and that they do not have to always be polite and bite their tongues, and that they have every right to speak up for themselves and for what they deserve. Most of all, I want my music to be a safe space for all young people, not just women, to be able to learn about and be themselves unapologetically.
Q: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard of you yet?
Livvy English: Music written by women for women, although there is definitely something for everyone. My main genre is pop rock, but there are also a lot of soul, R&B and blues influences that find their way into my writing, and I touch on a lot of universal life experiences and personal struggles. New listeners can expect a lot of anger and sass as I’m not afraid to call people out for their bad behaviour, but also a lot of emotion, honesty, vulnerability and heartfelt lyrics (and some really cool guitar riffs and beats)!
Interviewed by Travis Boyer
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