#MyInfluences: Billie Myers

Originally published on So So Gay on 28 May 2014.

After recently giving us a little insight into the music that resonates with her as a person, we decided to have another little chat with singer-songwriter Billie Myers to explore the music that motivates the artist.

What song reminds you most of your childhood?

It has to be the The Archies’ ‘Sugar Sugar’. It’s not something that I particularly connect to one memory or time, but it’s just pure bubblegum pop and what child doesn’t love that? Thinking about it, with that being one of my favourite tunes back then, it probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that I’ve ended up as something of a closet pop fan!

What song inspired you to become a musician/singer?

Honestly, I can’t say that any one song actually inspired me to become a musician. I’m not sure that I would have ever even considered it if it wasn’t the belief others around me had in me. Having said that, I’m sure there were more than a few moments on hearing Janis Joplin, Tracy Chapman or Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain‘ where I started daydreaming of wanting to be those women!

Which song do you wish you had written?

You know, that’s a question that’s really hard to answer. There are songs that have revolutionised a nation and orchestrated entire movements, and I think any songwriter would be lying if they said they wouldn’t want to have written those. Take TLC’s ‘Waterfalls‘, for example. If you pay no attention to the lyrics, it might come across as just another pop song. The truth though is it’s a song with an incredibly powerful social narrative and brought the issue of HIV / AIDS into the public domain.

On a more personal note, I’d love to claim anything by Joan Armatrading, but if I had to choose just one song then it would have to be ‘Jealous’ by Sinead O’Connor. It’s one of those songs that captures the sentiment of break-up perfectly. If I ever managed to write something that was able to capture even 10% of the perfection in that song I would die happy.

Which artist/band has been the most inspirational to you?

Again, there are so many. Grace Jones and Annie Lennox have always been huge inspirations and continue to be. From a music sense, they both blow me away with their talent. Chrissie Hynde might have written ‘Private Life’, but for me no-one sings it better than Grace. It’s the same with Annie – if you forced me to choose between ‘The Saddest Song I’ve Got‘, ‘No More I Love You’s‘ and ‘Why‘, I’m not sure I could. Annie’s humanitarian work is also incredible – I think it’s important when fame provides you with a voice that you use it for good whenever you can. Annie is a prime example of that.

Which song/album currently dominates your attention?

I probably should be embarrassed to admit this, but I’m currently listening to ‘Happy‘ by Pharrell… about every five minutes. It’s one of those tracks that can snap you out of a bad mood and, for just a few moments, help you feel free from all your troubles. Granted, I probably look like a fool dancing around to it, but i don’t care!

Which artist/band do you currently have a close eye on?

From a newcomer’s side of things, Sam Smith. ‘Safe With Me‘ is a beautiful track, and while I know some people haven’t been completely won over by his EP, I personally can’t wait to see what else he has to offer.

At the other end of the spectrum. I’m also really intrigued by what Anouk is up to at the moment. I’ve been a fan since I first heard ‘Nobody’s Wife‘, and could listen to ‘For Bitter or Worse‘ on a loop forever more. Choosing to go independent is a big scary decision and it’s been really interesting to see the direction she’s taking. Many musicians feel the need to play it safe and stick to the sound their audience knows them for, but I’m loving how she’s embracing her creative freedom. I’m sure many people are shocked to see her tie up with Nicky Romero and Afrojack, and who knows if it will be commercially successful, but kudos to her for trying!

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I’m going to cheat on this one as I can’t narrow it down and go all Band-Aid on you. To have the opportunity to work with Adele would be amazing. I’m still blown away each time I hear ‘Skyfall’. It’s a real example of what a Bond theme should all be about – it’s got the strings, the melody, the build, the drama – it’s something that Shirley Bassey could have sung and I mean that as a huge compliment. If we could just add Prince, Sinead O’Connor, Grace Jones and Joan Armatrading as co-writer, I could die happy.

Oh, and how could I forget Amy Winehouse. Such a talent. Another one taken far too young.

Billie Myers’ latest album, Tea & Sympathy, is out now and is available to download from Amazon and iTunes.


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