Singer Anne-Marie puts Rudimental behind her as her solo career looks set to soar
Rising pop/hip hop/R&B star Anne-Marie looks set to be a huge breakthrough act this year. With new single Do It Right getting lots of airplay and a debut album on the way, the Essex native talks to Brian Campbell
ANNE-MARIE is not just a pop star on the up but also a karate expert (a triple world champion in shotokan) and a West End musicals veteran at the ripe old age of 24.
The Essex singer possesses a show-stopping voice and is happy to be compared to the likes of Jessie Ware, Katy B, Rihanna and Aaliyah.
She has jokingly said that her record label “wants to make me the biggest thing in the history of life” and with naggingly catchy pop/hip hop/R&B tunes such as Do It Right, Boy, Karate and her brilliant cover of the WSTRN single In2, it’s easy to understand the record company’s ambition.
Anne-Marie has her share of ballads too (Stole, Gentleman), has also worked with Magnetic Man, Gorgon City and Raized By Wolves and counts Ed Sheeran as one of her many high-profile fans.
Having toured the world with London dance act Rudimental (recently appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show with them), the singer with the infectious laugh speaks to Scene as she gets set to release her hotly-anticipated debut album – which has the working title Breathing Fire.
Hi Anne-Marie. Are you expecting a pretty busy year to come?
Hopefully, yeah. I'm going to be even busier than the last two years, so I'm psyching myself up for it. My album will be out in the summer. I was writing the whole time I was on tour with the Rudimental boys and whenever I got a day off I was in the studio. So it's nearly ready.
Do you like to switch between styles in your songs?
Yeah, definitely. I want to have a bit of everything on the album. I do love ballad-y albums, but that's definitely not what I'm like. I have so many parts of my personality that I need to get across in the album, so if I just did ballads people wouldn't really get who I am.
Do you have a particular method in terms of how you write songs?
It's so different every single time. I love writing so much. Everything I write is about my own experiences and stuff I've been through and I love how that transforms into a song.
What do you think about getting compared to singers such as Jessie Ware, Katy B and Rihanna?
I don't mind it. When you start out it’s hard for people to understand what your style of music is, so I guess they need to do that. I read a thing recently that said I was “the Essex Aaliyah”, which I loved.
You said in an interview last month that you might just beat up Rihanna and then become `the new Rihanna’...
It's funny, because I was laughing my head off when I said that but then when you see it written down it looks quite serious. I'm not really a bully (laughs).
Are you looking forward to doing more of your own gigs this year?
I'm so excited about it, but it is nerve-racking doing it without the [Rudimental] boys being on stage with me. I did a gig in London late last year and I was crapping myself; I was so nervous. People were like, `Why are you nervous? You've done this in front of thousands of people'. But it's so different to the Rudimental gigs, because everyone's looking at me and only me and it's my material so it's much more personal. But it’s been amazing and so much fun. It’s made me realise that I want to do it every day now; there's no turning back.
What are some of the biggest audiences you’ve played to so far?
We did Glastonbury last year. That was probably the biggest one and probably my favourite one. We did Korea too and that was massive. But I love the small gigs too, when you can see everyone's faces and feel everyone's energy.
Have you done many Irish gigs to date?
I’ve been over for gigs with Rudimental and I remember we did a Guinness thing too; that was fun. I love it there. Hopefully I'll be back on my own soon.
Have you been singing since you were very young?
I basically went to a performing arts school since I could walk and at the age of six I went for a part in Les Mis in the West End and got it. My parents were like, `Oh. You can sing?' That was a nice surprise for them, I guess. I ended up being in Les Mis twice and in Whistle Down The Wind – that's how I know Jessie J, she was in the same show. Then I started doing karate and that took over until I got back into this.
Which singers and bands were you into when you were growing up?
I really liked hip hop and stuff like Eminem and 50 Cent and Prince and Lauryn Hill. I used to be into S Club 7 too (laughs). There's not one style of music that I don't like, which is why it's hard to get a 'sound' for me; it took a while but I finally got it. I love everything.
Who would you love to get the chance to collaborate with if you had your pick?
I'd love to work with Kendrick Lamar… and Alanis Morissette. You can put the word out for me (laughs).