Antigoni. Singer/songwriter from London. She has writing and performing her own music for nearly a decade. She is fast becoming ‘one to watch’ as she takes the music business by storm. She’s just released her fantastic new track ‘2 Steps’. We at Those London Chicks are so pleased Antigoni has taken the time out to chat with us.
Had you always known you wanted to pursue a career in music or had you other ambitions as a child?
Literally always. Ever since I can remember I’ve always known I’m going to be a singer. When I was like 7 I found a poster in my school for a talent show at a local fair and got my mum to enter me. I sang the only backing track I could find: Dream A Little Dream of Me – Mama Cas. That’s the first time my parents heard me sing properly and realised I could actually sing.
What has been your journey, in terms of recording and releasing music?
It’s been a long and frustrating journey to be honest with you but I’ve learnt a lot. I signed my first publishing deal when I was 14 and since then I’ve been signed by an indie label (Dramatico). Then Darcus Bees signed me to Island Records. Neither of which I actually got to release any music, it’s crazy. But through those times I’ve written a hell of a lot of music that I’m really proud of. The fact that I’ve accumulated so much means now that I’m finally releasing, I can just keep dropping song after song. Not stop or loose any momentum! It’s not all been bad though. I feel like that can sound really negative. I’ve got to work with so many incredible writers & producers that I’m in awe of. I just love it so much. I feel from each situation that ended up being a dead end I’ve taken some sort of lesson from. To move forward with; but bloody hell I’m ready for that next faze now!
Where there any challenges along the way, if so how did you overcome them?
There’s two reasons I could over come these obstacles along the way; One is because my parents are incredibly supportive & they’ve always had my back in these situations. It’s so easy to loose confidence and doubt myself when these knock backs happen – and I’ve definitely had my low moments but they’ve always believed in me and I think that’s helped me to keep that strength. The second reason simply is because music is what I NEED to do, it’s what I’m meant to do in my life. I’ve always known that. There’s no plan B so therefore plan A must work! So I’ve just had to keep my head up and keep tryna move forward one way or another! Writing and performing my music is what makes me happy and gives me fulfilment.
The more popular you become the more people might think you just ‘popped up’. You’ve worked in the business for quite a while honing your skills. Do you think your distinct sound has evolved? If so, how and why?
Haha yeah I’m sure they will because that’s always the way it looks from the outside but that’s cool it doesn’t matter to me.
Yeah it’s definitely evolved. For a long time finding my ‘sound’ production wise was hard. I’ve always written songs starting from the guitar or piano & they work great stripped back like that but finding the perfect production to adorn these songs took some time. I love live instrumentation and it’s always been important to me that you can still here the live elements prominently in the finished songs. I think because my voice is quite different it wasn’t so straight forward – like one producer I worked with said to me that my voice is like a saxophone: powerful and makes a statement but has to be decorated in a certain way to make it work, unlike say a piano or guitar which is easier to place with other music. I thought that was kind of a cool way of putting it. For me it’s important that the song shines through and the story I’m telling and then the production should be just a few elements that are executed in a sick way & every sound you hear has a clear purpose – no filler. This first EP that 2 Steps will be part of is more stripped back vibes – (produced by Shy FX’s right hand man Dean Barratt) which I wanted to start with because it shows my roots of telling stories in a simple live way but the second EP has the evolved production sound and I’m so excited to get to that stuff! I made this EP in LA last year with a producer called Connor Mason who is part of the Bunetta Brothers crew (One Direction, Charlie Puth) and has songs on it written with John Ryan & Diane Warren.
“…you just gotta keep writing and honing that craft….”
Tell us about your brilliant new single ‘2 Steps’?
So 2 Steps is based on the amazing Lauryn Hill’s song Doo Wop. I’ve always loved the way that that song is split into parts where the first chorus is like ‘boys you know you better watch out’ and then the next one is ‘girls’. So I wanted to do my own little tale using that vibe and draw from people I’ve experienced or observed in my life and tell a few little stories as a kind of advice giver/narrator. I wrote 2 Steps with Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts who I love writing with. We wrote it to a beat made by a producer called Morgan Zarate which is not my usual procedure but it was fun! It felt right as the first single as I hope there’s something in there for everyone to relate to.
As a singer/songwriter what’s your process, from idea to completed track?
So there’s a few ways I write songs, I tend to write the lyrics & melody simultaneously rather than as separate things. Sometimes it’s like a little melody that comes to me first, or a title – I have a list of so many titles that I’m always adding to on my phone when I get an idea. But my favourite way of writing songs is when I have a very clear concept, like something happens to me or one of my friends or I read about something that moves me. Once I have that clear idea, that’s when the song just writes itself. I swear it’s mostly the songs that are the quickest and most effortless to write that end up being the best for me. So yeah, when I can just go into the studio and be like ‘omg’ this happened yesterday I wanna write about it, that’s the best. The thing is it’s not always that easy lol!! I was watching an interview of John Mayer and I can’t remember the exact wording but he was talking about how sometimes it can be hard graft to write a song. You might push through and write 100 songs and then one day that inspiration just hits. It’s almost like the universe rewards you for the 100 not so great ones. You don’t know it or when that moment’s gonna happen. But you’ve just gotta keep writing and honing that craft. I’m very direct with my lyrics too – sometimes too literal for my own good haha! But I just want to tell my little stories. So it would be hard to do that with loads of obscure hidden meaning type lyrics. I like to get straight to the point.
Do you think there is a pressure as a female artist to look a certain way, if so how do you deal with the pressure?
I think there’s a pressure on females full stop to look a certain way, especially nowadays with social media and people constantly fed pictures of ‘perfection’. This is something I talk about in my 4th single. The song’s called Is It Any Wonder? And it’s about the unrealistic standards that social media is setting for everyone. It’s not just looks either it’s everything, there’s just a mad pressure to have all your shit together and it feels like everyone around you does because we’re constantly seeing this highlight reel of peoples lives. I deal with this by counting my blessings, just being thankful all the positive simple things that are taken for granted sometimes like my family & running water etc. the stuff that can be considered as the ‘bare minimum’ but that I’m lucky to have, I just find that centres me and helps me put my problems into perspective. Also I have to remind myself to not compare myself to other people which is so hard to avoid when everything is at the tip of my fingers before I even get out of bed! But yeah just trying to stay focused on my own journey and not worry about other peoples.
Who are your musical influences and inspirations and why?
John Mayer is my biggest influence, I swear there’s big periods of my life where his music is the only thing I listen too. His songwriting is just so perfect and refined like he taps into certain emotions that I didn’t even realised I felt which is crazy to me. Yeah I’m obsessed haha
J.Cole is a massive inspiration for me, his views on life and the way he tells stories is so poetic & he has a point of view that is so raw and honest. I saw him live in the Electric Ballroom in Camden in like 2008 which was crazy because it’s so small compared to where I’d ever get to see him again. The energy of that show is something I’ll always remember.
I grew up listening to Etta James, Elvis, Billie Holiday and I’ve definitely been drawing inspiration from them my whole life in how I lay my emotions into a song when I sing. Amy Winehouse too is just the epitome of honestly in lyrics, she will always be one of my favourite musicians.
I’m literally in awe of Max Martin when it comes to pop and the craft of songwriting, how one person can consistently write such perfect pop songs for like 20 years blows my mind.
Lyrically Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is just on another level too and I love Pink! And Russ! There really are so many people I’m so inspired by I’d could be here all day!
I’ve heard you perform on numerous occasions and been blown away by your voice, lyrics and overall style. Describe your music in 3 words?
Thank-you! I would stay
You fit a lot in Antigoni. What do you do for ‘You Time’?
I love to cook so I do that a lot – I find it creative – and go to the gym. And really just hang out with my friends and family, there’s always food involved!
Finally. we at TLC are all about positive thought to realise one’s dreams into existence. What are your hopes for future?
I want to be writing music and performing for the rest of my life and so I just want to get my music heard by as many people as possible and take it all the way! I’ve got no boundaries or ‘managed expectations’ I really wanna fight for it all!
Thank you Antigoni xx
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Purchase 2Steps HERE
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