When did you start getting tattooed?
Young, 14 maybe. My first tattoo was actually an Om, I’ve been obsessed with Om for a time without necessarily knowing the meaning behind it. I just knew that it was everything good. Even now it’s funny, people are so judgemental, they don’t attack, but they make me feel that I need to justify my tattoos. They ask, ‘Do you do yoga, do you do this, do you do that?’, but really it’s nothing to do with that, it’s more about the healing. They’re reminders, I used to look in the mirror and the things I would think were not nice, now I look in the mirror and I see a fucking Om on my forehead it’s pretty hard to feel the way I did.
Do you have a thick skin?
I’m still bare sensitive, but I use it and I translate it and I turn it into power, for myself. That’s my growth. I’ve been that person who has looked at people, and it’s conditioned from a young age, judged them. I’ve done it and I’ve experienced it, and obviously I’m a hot head and my first reaction is to get aggy, but I’m growing. The older I get the more time I take to react. I get funny looks, but I am a reflection that person needs to purge. We’re all reflections.
I read that Jon Ronson book ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ and a psychologist said that women are way more likely to get vitriolic abuse online. Are you able to say, ‘It’s their problem not mine’ yet?
More and more, I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at it yet, because I’m still a baby, but definitely more and more. I feel like it’s not the first life where I’ve experienced it. You know what I mean? So I feel like I’m kind of used to it and I have been from a young age, because people chatted shit about my tattoos before I had tattoos on my face. I was still getting the same bullshit.
I wanted to talk about your move to Mexico. Was it a family decision?
No, no, I went on my own. I moved with my boyfriend at the time. I love travelling innit, I love going to new places. So from like 17 or 18 I’ve been bouncing around.
This time I was like, ‘I wanna go Mexico’, and I did. In my head I didn’t want to come back. I remember my mom didn’t want me to leave this time. Before I left I was in a proper bad way, addicted to Xanax and stuff. I think she thought I was going to die out there. I was just banging them everyday; didn’t want to deal with nothing, so I couldn’t. That went on for nearly a year and in my head I knew Mexico was going to fix me, so that’s why I went.
What would you attribute the healing process to? Was it the change in weather? Was it all the stuff you had going on around you?
It was the space to unravel and look at everything from a different perspective. And also when I first got there I was still banging out the Xanax, but after a while I started working on this beach retreat, this yoga retreat, and I’d get to sit through all the self-help talks. And a proper element of it was bullshit, like a product they were selling, but I was getting the benefits of it because the stuff they’re talking about isn’t made up. I was involved in that and everyday being up with the sunrise and going to bed early and looking at the ocean and shit. I think finally it was just starting to sing again, my whole personality just changed.
So you were just on the beach and you were approached by KESH, who is your “guardian angel”, but professionally your manager?
She’s way more than a manager, yeah.
How did it happen?
Literally she drove past me and she was looking at me, and two hours later we were at the same place on the beach and we had a mutual friend, but she came up to me. We sat and spent the whole day together just chatting about music and stuff. She made me feel so safe in the space, I just sank into her. I’ve never had that feeling off another woman before, other than my mom. Always the feelings I get off girls are just like… The feelings are definitely to do with me too, stuff I’m carrying from school.
Where did it go from there? Did you move back to England?
No, I stayed in Mexico for another six months. Literally that week was my birthday, I was turning 22. A few months before I met KESH I was watching bands in town and I was like, ‘Aw I wish I had a fucking band’. I did an open mic, just before my birthday, and I think I sang a Lily Allen song? And then they asked me to do an Amy Winehouse song because everyone is always like, ‘Oh you sound like Amy Winehouse’, but it’s just the London accent innit? I left and the guitarist came and chased after me and was like, ‘Girl! We need a singer come join our band’. After that we had a couple rehearsals practicing Arctic Monkey songs and stuff, it was proper sick bruv. And then a week later we had shows, and I was making money. For out there? I was making money. Before that I was working 12 hour days for 200 pesos a day, that’s like a tenner and with the shows I was getting 1500 a show. Which is only like 40 quid, but for out there it was like this is sick. So that proper helped me build my confidence. And then I moved back to England and started making songs here.