Interview by King City Online ©
Abz Winter has been on quite a journey already in her young life, but still has far to go, and if her determination to overcome setbacks is anything to go by, we think she’ll get there. From an early age, she used rejection as inspiration:
In year 6 I auditioned for the school Christmas show which was a mixture of all the usual pantomime princesses, but I didn’t get picked for a decent part or for a singing part either. I ended up having to play a fairy and I’m not very dainty! That’s when I realised that I wanted to sing for a living.
She eventually made quite an impression in a talent competition, Teenstar, despite being slightly reluctant:
I think talent shows can be a good platform, especially when it comes to increasing followers, but I also think there can be an agenda. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to go for it but I don’ t think people like it if you’ve appeared on TV etc as A&R and labels like to think they’ve found you first. And ideally I want to sell out stadiums rather than have a small moment of fame. But never say never!
From there she signed up to a couple of academies where, while not perfect, she learned a lot.
I also joined a choir and started writing... not very well! But I had masterclasses with JinJin who told me just to write and record everything as I thought of it. I worked with Fred Cox on my first EP - an insane writer and musician, and moved to another academy, Legacy, where Jez was brilliant at pushing and encouraging my craft. Eventually I left due to lockdown as it was so far to travel and wrote my album at home.
It wasn’t a bad experience for the most part, and I learnt writing skills and to sing and gig in pubs. I met some nice people as well so yeah, I gained lots of experience and I know to be wary now.
Incompatible Me was given heavy rotation on CWR & BBC WM Introducing, which was where we heard you for the first time.
Incompatible Me came about by chance. I found a beat I loved while I was with Legacy and me and Jez worked on the lyrics. I love retro beats that are fun and upbeat even if the lyrics are dark. It’s about a guy who sent me a nude picturie through Instagram - I didn’t know him - and I was just getting him back by mugging him off with the lyrics... “I’m not in the mood for your tiny nudes”. I think I was 15 at the time. Then Dermot O’Leary did Some Mothers Do Indie and my mum phoned in. They played it on BBC Radio 2 and the song did really well.
Then came the beautiful Falling For You.
I wrote that for the Coventry City of Culture Front Room Sessions album, which was commissioned and produced to help local artists. They invited me to participate because I was doing really well in Coventry. I wrote it and did the melody at home, 14 Records did the production and it was recorded in my house. I even got paid for the experience which really good. When the album was released Falling For You got over 15,000 streams and I got invited to do an online event, #WMWeekender with Birmingham Opera over the August 2020 Bank Holiday. (I recently sang for HRH Camilla Parker-Bowles as part of another Coventry City Of Culture event). I wrote the lyrics based on experience... not that I’ve got much haha!. I always thought I couldn’t write songs but it started working and I was very pleased with what I did. Me and Mum always sit down when I’ve done my songs. She’s honest and tells me if it makes sense or not and then we work on it.
Any other collaborators apart from Mum?
On the last few songs I’ve worked with Kieron Pepper from The Prodigy, he’s been absolutely brilliant with feedback on writing. He loves this next one, BS. It’s not his genre obviously but he thinks it’s fun and it’s brilliant for TikTok and the young market. He says if it gets to the right people it could fly! I’ve got another eight songs ready and they’re very different but all with retro beats. Some are more serious than others but yeah I think it’s all there and will be really good. Birmingham electro-pop wizard El Sam is mixing and mastering through Elixir Productions.
Who are your musical influences?
Lana Del Ray, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Olivia O’Brien cause she’s straight to the point.
Speaking of which, your exes cop some flack in BS don’t they?
I love singing the chorus and I smile every time. This song has so much attitude. it’s one of my favourites and revenge is very sweet. When we were making the video everyone was singing the chorus.
We can see why. BS has soulful vocals, danceable pop vibes and uncompromising lyrics, all built around an infectious guitar motif, and Abz is gaining quite a following. She has gigs booked and is looking into putting on a headline show. Here at King City, we can only see her adding to her burgeoning teenage fan club.