Blues award winner in Shoreham

Rebecca Downes
Rebecca Downes
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Winner of Best British Female Blues Vocalist and Emerging Artist in the British Blues Awards, Rebecca Downes and her band play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on April 8.

“I have been in bands since I was 13, but this particular band at the moment has been together about four years,” Rebecca said.

“I was just working with a few musicians when I was introduced to a guy called Steve Birkett, and we started writing together.

“It had been a while since I had been performing my own stuff, and it just spiralled from there. We write together, and he is the guitarist in the band.

“We had an initial EP out and then two studio albums and then one live album that came out this year.

“And we will be bringing our third album out in January next year. The songs have been written for a long time, but getting people into the studio takes time.

“To me, it doesn’t seem like we are prolific because we are writing all the time.

“The first studio album was Back To The Start in 2015 and the second studio album was 2016, Believe.

“The second was definitely in a different direction. I think with the first one, with the song-writing, even though we had been song-writers for years, we were still finding out what our sound is really. People say that a lot, but it’s the truth.

“But with Believe, we took it a bit further, and you can tell that the sound is more concise through the album. It was also slightly more blues-rock than the first one.

“The first one was a bit softer. We definitely moved in a different direction with Believe, and I think the third one will be taking off where Believe ended with the song Believe which was the single.”

As for the live album: “It was something that people were asking for. Everybody seemed to be wanting it, and for me, singing live has always been number one. Being in the studio has always felt quite strange in comparison.

“I was a bit concerned that the live experience might get lost in the recording of it, but I don’t think it did with this. If you want to get a feeling of what a live gig is like, then listen to the album – and I don’t think that is always the case with live albums.

“It was kind of like the highlights of the tour. Sometimes you record the whole show and then someone clanks a mic or something.

“I think this was basically three shows put together. Sometimes it is very painful as well. I am really hypercritical of what I sound like, and when I hear myself sometimes I hate it!”

As for the song-writing with Steve: “Sometimes one of us just has an idea that we kick around together in one form or an another and we get the idea that just comes together as the song.

“ Generally, for both of us, it is the personal stuff. It’s the experiences we have had, the hurt we have had, the kinds of things that happen to us. It is personal stuff really, but sometimes it goes a bit wider than that.”

Blues has long since been the natural medium for Rebecca, the way instinctively she expresses herself musically and always has.

“All the way through my live performing career, the blues have always been something I have returned to as a vocalist.

“It’s has always been something people have said I should be doing. I think my voice has its roots in it. But the blues are really varied. It is not just 12-bar blues ‘my dog just died’.

“The British blues scene includes lots of different styles.

“The blues scene here is really different and varied.”

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