A force of considered electronica, distinct in the current audio climate – Billie Black has returned. After taking some time away from songwriting, the West-London singer is ready to disclose her fourth EP. We caught up with Billie to discuss soul influences, her growth as an artist and the video for ‘The Last Time’, ahead of her EP’s release on the 23rd November.
Tell us about the title track of your upcoming EP, ‘The Last Time’…
I wanted the track to be really bold and cinematic. I really enjoyed using strings to create an atmosphere. The song is about a love that you know is bad for you but that you keep going back to. It’s quite romantic and passionate – like myself.
The video for ‘The Last Time’ features you singing in a 1940s-style jazz club. What went into the creative process of filming?
I sing a lot of jazz in bars and clubs around London, even when I took a break from writing my own music I was still gigging around three times a week, so it seemed natural to have a shot of me actually singing into a microphone. I wanted the video to be really beautiful and honest and show a different side to me. The video was created by my wonderful friend Silence Aitken-Till.
You studied Jazz at Guildhall School of Drama and Music before going on to BRIT School. How did those two experiences shape you as a musician?
I gained a lot of confidence at BRIT. I started studying there at 14, knowing that I had a passion for music but not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it. During my time at BRIT I developed a love for jazz and was able to really develop my singing, specifically in that area. My time at BRIT is what enabled me to get into Guildhall to study jazz. I had a beautiful time at Guildhall but was only there for a year because I signed my publishing deal and dropped out to go on tour and focus on my own music properly.
Your sound combines jazz influences with electronic production inspired by the likes of James Blake and Sampha. What other musicians do you take inspiration from?
I’m really inspired by old soul – Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield. Recently I’ve become obsessed again with Donny Hathaway, I love how raw and emotional his delivery is. I’ll always be inspired by Sade, her music is timeless and I’m in awe of her sophistication and class.
How has your music developed over the past few years?
It’s been nice experimenting with different sounds and different genres. I feel my music is all under the broad genre of electronic music but within that, it’s been more RnB and then more dance-y and now maybe a bit more pop. My taste in music is very broad so it makes sense that my own music reflects this.
What can you tell us about your forthcoming EP?
It’s really romantic and honest and I love it and it really reflects where I’m at in my life at the moment.
Finally, who do you feel is an underrated artist at the moment?
Kadhja Bonet, I saw her live in London a few days ago and was mesmerised.