Bo Bruce is known to many for being a finalist on BBC’s ‘The Voice’. However, for years prior to her television appearance Bo had been working hard at getting her music heard. Proof that hard work does pay off: In 2009 she independently released her debut E.P ‘Search The Night’. Three years later, in the week following ‘The Voice’ final, her hard work was recognised by her new found supporters with the 3 year old release peaking at no.2 on the iTunes album chart ahead of the likes of Coldplay (also securing a no.19 position in the official UK downloads chart.) Mercury Records soon offered Bo a well deserved recording deal.
No stranger to adversity, her music represents her journey. Her honesty as well as vocal talent and distinctive voice have earned her a strong ever growing fan base.
The Cut caught up with Bo mid- studio session to speak about her new release ‘The Fall’, songwriting and 80m hurdles!
Interview by Dwayne Gordon- Harris (@dstrictlymusic)
Hi Bo! First off, ‘The Fall’ is a great track. The video’s really interesting and visual what exactly is it portraying?
(The Video) I’m keen to not explain it absolutely because it’s so important people interpret it the way they want to and that’s the same with my music, I could sit down and explain what every song meant but I’d rather everyone had their own interpretation.
But ‘The Fall’ is actually a survival song. My best mate was like are you dying at the end??? (Laughs) But it’s not like that, it is about survival and it’s meant to reflect the chaos that has been, and that can be in a relationship or when someone dies or the breakdown of anything and the pain of that and surviving and evolving beyond that. It was an incredibly emotional thing to do. I was watching it yesterday and thinking it didn’t feel like acting it all felt a bit too real at times really. I remember there being moments on set when everyone was like are you alright? I was going this is what I need to do and show and it felt very real.
Is that realness something we can expect from the new album and is there a name yet?
I haven’t decided on a name yet there are loads of ideas bouncing about. But yeah, very very real, and I’m not afraid of that. The whole process of the album has been gruelling but really good because I’ve got to say how I feel and making music out of it.
Do you have any personal favourites or songs we should listen out for on the album?
We’re doing a vocal now on the very first song I wrote called ‘Lightkeeper’ and that’s a very important song to me. And I wrote one with Joel Part and Tom Marsh called ‘Over and Over’ which is gonna be really fun to do live. We’ve got The Fall and a lot of songs like it where it’s just my vocal and then there are the songs where I get to let go and run around.
Do you prefer the in studio recording process or performing live to big crowds?
It depends on the venue. Something like ‘The Fall’ the dream gig for that would be standing on Jools Holland with Johnny who I wrote it with being on the piano- that’s the perfect scenario. Those songs that are little and raw and frightening, I’m making them all in the cosiness of the studio and it is quite daunting to think you’re gonna have to tour that stuff and be brave and tell people how you feel, it’s scary.
It’s been a difficult year for you but also a lot of great things are happening. A year ago you were considering leaving music, and now you’re with Mercury and the balls rolling. How does that feel?
I think part of the reason I’m feeling so exhausted is because I’ve really been trying to work that out what I really do feel about it and I can’t. There are such amazingly exciting things happening for me and so much opportunity and at the same time I’m pretty fresh down the line from all the bad stuff and so every day is a sort of rollercoaster. I am so unbelievably grateful for the good stuff because this time last year I was working in a shi**y pub having a nightmare thinking is all this music I’m writing ever going to be heard? Does anyone care? And now it’s finally happening. Things have been pretty horrible this year but the good stuff has saved my ass.
You recently tweeted about The Killers being your label mates and how surreal it is, what’s been the biggest standout moment for you thus far?
Hanging out with the Killers in LA was mad. LA in itself is mad, I’m an English bird and I’ll always be happy sitting in a pub (laughs) but stuff like that is like whattt!?!?
Playing V festival so soon after the show and having hundred s of people really wanting to listen. I played ‘The Fall’ at V and everyone was telling me don’t do that! Everyone was like people will be wasted and the suns out and they won’t want that. But we managed to silence the whole tent, that I will never forget! And then from that going to watch the snow patrol boys from side stage and watching the boys do their thing and looking out at the size of crowds they play to and thinking I wanna do this, I wanna do this!
Your songs are all quite deep, what’s the Song writing process like for you?
It depends from song to song, but I am a sensitive little chicken and I’ve always been like that over-thinking everything and having to process everything before taking a step. Often that’s not a very good thing but as far as writing that’s a great part of it, being able to be that honest. Sometimes being too poetic hides what you‘re really trying to say, filling it with metaphors and stuff that could mean anything. It’s like what Adele does, she tells it how it is- this sucks and I’m in pain and that’s what people connect to. So that part of it’s easy… in the studio. I imagine standing on stage saying it in front of thousands is going to be pretty hard-core but I’m prepared for that that’s why I’m writing it.
Kate bush contacted you while you were on ‘The Voice’ to say she liked what you did with ‘Running Up That Hill’ How did that feel?
Magic. Total Magic. I know what an effort that would have been for her that’s not what she does, she likes to live her life separately away from the media and to comment on someone that’s doing reality TV it meant the world to me and I’ll never forget that. I can’t wait to meet her… If the chance ever came up to meet her I’d explain to her what that did for me it was huge.
How do you feel about being in the public eye and being recognised when you’re out and about?
This is what I’ve signed up for and I understand it. And I do it myself when I see someone I really want to talk to and I’m interested in their work, I want to go and talk to them about it so in that sense I love it. I love meeting people who’ve responded to something I’ve done and talking about that. I don’t feel I’m in any position to complain as it’s all part and parcel. The only time it’s worrying is if I’m with a boy having a nice drink and someone might come up and that’s when I’m a bit embarrassed (Laughs) But otherwise I love it, it’s really great.
This time next year what are you hoping to have achieved?
I hope to have done every single festival and played the Avalon stage at Glastonbury! And had a record that the right people have understood and been moved by. Really that’s the struggle for me picking the album list, there’s so much I want to say and I want people to hear and understand an relate to. Even if it’s just a few hundred people who are moved and changed by that that’s good. Obviously it would be amazing to be a great big artist but I’ve gone through something that I’m now writing about and it’s like making a scrapbook of the most bizarre year of my life and I want that to be received and people to really get that.
Long term goals?
Keep making albums and never have to stop. And if I stop it’s because I’ve chosen to, because I want to have a baby and move to another country and have a vegetable garden (Laughs)
Can you give us a random fact about yourself before we wrap this up?
When I was 12 I won the nationals at hurdling over 80m. I was a quick little bird, it was my thing I wanted to be an Olympic runner…and then I grew boobs and it was like nooo. Boys, smoking and alcohol and all of that came in (Laughs)
(The debut single is scheduled for February 2012 and the album is scheduled for March/April 2013)
You can download ‘The Fall’ for FREE below: