Snapshot of SXSW

It's gonna take me a while to soak up and process the insanity that was SXSW. 

While I try to figure out the words, let me first say thanks to all the people who not only came to the shows, but were kind enough to share their pretty thoughts with the world: Live in Limbo (read here), Iggy/Ticketweb (read here), Glamglare (read here + here), ConcentusMusic (read here), False Advertising/Drowned In Sound.

Ok..I still haven't got my own words for this..so I'm gonna keep it visual. First thing - I went to SXSW twice on my own before (not to perform, just to soak up the madness). For those of you who don't know - SXSW (aka South By South West) is one of the worlds biggest and most influential music industry festivals in the world focussed on new music/artists/bands (read more here). I'd wanted to be an official SXSW performer for years even venturing out solo 6 years ago (before I was of legal drinking age in the U.S. - depressing) and 3 years ago. 

6 years ago I'd hung out with Darwin Deez (listen) outside the Latitude 30 (British Music Embassy venue), 3 years ago I'd watched Slaves (watch on right) and Royal Blood (listen) in the same venue...and just over a month ago..I was the one on that British Music Embassy stage at Latitude 30 tearing the place up. Hashtag So Emotional #SOemotional. That was one for the bucket list, and so was riding a mechanical bull, and finally what was never on the bucket list but should have been: creeping into someones garden to jump in their pool in total darkness at 1am with the band..and jumping in the pool during our set at the Sheraton, that shoulda been on there. I guess growing up in Scotland you don't think of these things. Anyway, check it all out for yourselves with the photos/videos below. Thanks again to everyone that supported me on this ride.

Out with the old..

My brain hits "reset" and I feel refreshed and impassioned. I'm loaded up with a new sense of wonderment at all of the possibilities and opportunities that the life might have to offer. It might be corny, but what can I say, I freakin' love a New Year!

2016 was immense for me. From my first international shows (Toronto, New York, Seoul), to Great Escape, my ExXtravaganzZa's, album launch and winning "Best Female" at the UMA's - I couldn't have asked for more (see photos here)! That's not to say that bad or sad things didn't happen along the way, we all have ups and downs and we all have our struggles - but a few "bad things" don't a "bad year" make (no matter how much the world is trying to tell you 2016 was "the worst year ever"! UGH BORING - your life/your year is what you make it). Over the last few weeks I've been reflecting on the last 12 months and dissecting what I liked and what I'd do differently. At the end of it all I'm feeling enlightened and empowered. The future is looking BRIGHT!

In 10 days I'm heading to Eurosonic Noorderslaag (Netherlands) with the band, and then up to Glasgow (Scotland) to play at one of Scotland's best venues: King Tuts. Later this year I'll be performing at one of my favourite festivals SXSW in Austin (Texas, US) and Isle of Wight festival (UK). These are things I could only have dreamt of saying at the start of 2016 but your support combined with all the hours my pals Team LX and I have put in have made these dreams a reality.

So thank you! If you came to a show, Pledged towards "Love Fuelled Hate", introduced a friend to my music (or did other awesome things) - you are an ExXterminator - and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love you've given and love you right back.

L xx

 

 

The Making of: Hating On You

As we come to the end of the month we come to the end of my #TBTseries. Here's a video of the making-of "Hating On You". It's an insight to one of the more complex tracks on my album "Love Fuelled Hate" with at least 3 different producer/engineers touching it along its journey.

My album was my proudest accomplishment of 2016 - and also marked the completion of a New Years goal/resolution. I feel blessed to have heard from so many of you enjoying your CDs. It was my dream to create an album that people would listen to from start to finish in one sitting and I'm incredibly happy to hear that you guys have been doing that.

I hear way too many people "poo-poo" New Years Resolutions. They get a bad rep because so many of us don't take them seriously and fall at the first hurdle - but you'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try. Not all the likers/fans on here are what I call "ExXterminators" but a hell of a lot of you are. An ExXterminator is someone who's killing it at life. An EXXterminator is the kind of person that makes a New Years resolution and sticks to it. My dream for 2017 is to find and celebrate more of you ExXterminators - those people that kick ass and are kind and support one and other. 

I love you all and wish you the best for 2017.

L xx

Throwback to Finishing

SO MUCH FOOTAGE, SO MANY PHOTOS. Where do I begin?!

Ross O'Reilly recording my vocals

I’ll start with the photo at the top - this is my manager Umong (pronounced Oo-mong) and I during one of the final sessions finishing my album “Love Fuelled Hate”. We were laying down drum tracks with Andy Wilder (drummer) and Simon Morgan (engineer who lectures at the uni Umong and my incredible bassist Samer went to).

The process of making an album isn’t easy, especially as an unsigned artist. I went in pretty ambitiously (AKA naïvely) with the goal of creating a seamless and dynamic concept album telling a story that would sit alongside a short-film (still in the works). My intention was to create something I could be proud of no-matter the commerciality of it.

I booked in 2 weeks with Ross O’Reilly (the main producer for the album and cowriter of “Home With You”). In the beginning we’d all thought this was plenty of time because at least 50% of the tracks had been recorded previously to some degree. But more importantly it was all I could afford. So..to cut a long-story short, after 14 days of intense work all the tracks were recorded nicely but I still didn’t have the seamless story-telling album I’d felt so strongly about creating.

So, what was I to do? Release the album as it was? It was unfinished to me but that’s only because I knew the goal - nobody else did... How the hell was I going to finish it? I couldn’t afford any more time in the studio. So my natural response was “OK, I’ll do it myself. I’ll produce the rest. but I was totally overwhelmed and was unsure whether I really had the skills..I didn’t even have a studio set-up at that point. It seemed almost impossible.

Me producing from home

A couple of months slipped by and I was still sitting on an unfinished album feeling deflated and defeated. To be frank, most of the time I felt I’d fucked up, that I wasn’t good enough, that I’d never be good enough, that I was wasting my time and that I’d been kidding myself to think I could ever have done it. Daily I felt ashamed and embarrassed to have told people I was gonna do something as I started to realise it was beyond me. It had been weeks since I’d listened to the album but I’d decided it was shit, that everyone would know it was shit and anyone who thought otherwise had shit taste...my brain was being a real pain in the ass. But amongst all of that demon-talk I still had a flicker of hope. It’s something I’ve always had and something that’s always kept me going - that tiny little thought of “maybe I can do it, maybe it’s possible” and “what if this is the final test?”. So I went to my room, turned down the lights, stuck my headphones on and played the album in order from start to finish. Lo and behold I was overcome with a warm sense of pride. OK it wasn’t finished, but it was sounding incredible already and it was only going to get better. Immediately I listened to it again but this time I took notes and then broke the notes down into tasks.

The to-do list was long but that hopeful naïve ambition had returned and suddenly everything felt achievable. Any obstacle was just a problem waiting to be solved. For some reason I’d been battling the album on my own for months..and all of a sudden I realised I didn’t need to face that challenge alone. I had friends, a manager, a team, fans, family - why was I torturing myself when all I had to do was ask for help? I put a call out on Facebook asking for help recording interludes, live drums and backing vocals - and guess what? The album was finished within the month - and what a fucking kick ass album it is.

"I get by with a little help from my friends" - Zoe, Kirsty + Chanta

Thank you so much to all my friends, family, fans and Team LX. You made this possible for me and for that I am so grateful.

[I’ll be reflecting on my Facebook page and www.ElleExxe.com every Thursday this month with unheard stories, unseen photos and videos from what has been an amazing year.]