Monday 9 July 2012

Rachel Sermanni, Katie Sutherland and Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Rachel Sermanni
Katie Sutherland


Folk vs Pop? – the different routes into the business.
I first saw Rachel Sermanni at a Celtic Connections Open Mic at the Concert hall a couple of years back and noticed then her lovely voice and songs. That year she won the open mic at the festival.

Also here in Glasgow I went to gigs by Katie Sutherland in 2009, another 22 year old Scottish singer with a lovely vocals and catchy songs who also looked good. Katie, who was then calling herself ‘Pearl and the Puppets’, had put her songs up on myspace where they drew the attention of record labels. Katie has a mesmerising honey toned voice live.
I know of several other young people given major record label deals a few years back – the thing is they are little more than an advance and young people should be warned of the pitfalls here.
This year Katie has been recording an album and using Pledge Music to fund this and Rachel is playing several UK festivals this summer. I can’t help wondering comparing the two that going via the folk route can bring more ‘respect’ generally in the industry but can also mean less attention sometimes. It’s a very strange thing music. At the end of the day it should be all about the talent.  

Then there is also the very young Laura Marling – who sings slightly folk influenced songs. She has a distinctive image and sound which is also key and her father runs a studio. She is also Neil Young influenced and her voice has edge and depth in it. She has managed that valued cross over between being respected and also having commercial successes. Laura is from Hampshire and drew attention on the London folk circuit and it seems to be easier for younger artists in London to get the right label deals into the industry. Marling is playing at the London Albert Hall this weekend.

Even more worrying is the lack of many young male singer songwriters with much depth or much to say- where are they? Marling became prominent with the London folk scene, she has also toured with a number of well-known indie artists in the UK. Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim and her second album I Speak Because I Can were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2008 and 2010 respectively. She won Best Female Solo Artist at the 2011 Brit Awards.