For those who may not yet have heard your music, how best would you describe yourself as a musician and artist?
A very hard question to begin with! I like to think my music doesn't fit into a certain genre box, describing it isn't as easy as 'pop, jazz, soul, singer-songwriter', although those terms are a good start! I've never had a particular method to my songwriting, just whatever feels right at the time (cliché I know!), so I have written a lot of different styles of song. Right now, I'm concentrating on songs that suit my band, a four piece jazz/neo-soul ensemble. My great friend Ed Rice whom I met at University plays keys and helps arrange my songs with me. Matt Fletcher who also studied music with us at the University of Leeds plays drums, and Joe Ledsam, who studied medicine at Leeds, plays bass. My songwriting influences include the greats such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King, right up to my contemporaries like Lianne La Havas, Laura Mvula, and Joss Stone (a small insight into a vast list of artists I admire!) An attempt to summarise: my music is built around soulful ballads with jazz-pop fusion arrangements that accompany singer-songwriter story-telling narratives.
Your new single 'All Of My Life' is the only track in new movie Kajaki how does it feel to be such an integral part of that project?
That's a lot easier to answer. It has been such an honour to have 'All Of My Life' at what is in my eyes, the most crucial part of the film; when you meet the real men and read about their lives. Having met the real vets and their families, I was overwhelmed by their positive feedback and am so pleased (and relieved!) that the song has passed their approval. I also worked with the team at Pukka Films during post-production, so I got to know everyone really well and to hear that they were also happy with the song is again a real honour.
What was the inspiration and idea originally behind this song?
I wrote the song back in my first year of University. I'd moved away from home and subsequently someone who was very close to me. We had to make some tough decisions and the song is basically a tribute to moving apart from someone that you know you'll always care for. The song is written in such a way that I hope can be related to by different people in different situations. That's the main aim behind my music and narratives. When I came to re writing the lyrics, I took inspiration from the points of view that different groups of people have when they lose somebody: family, a lover, friends. It's really about finding closure and learning to live without them, but knowing you'll always care for them.
The proceeds from the track go towards three charities - can you tell us a little about that?
I wanted to keep giving to the charities that support those that the film, and the song, is dedicated to. It was an easy call to make, I went with the same charities that the film supports: Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion, and Walking with the Wounded.
Moving on to your career, are there any artists out there you'd love to collaborate with going forward?
Another hard question! So many, but at the top of my list has to be Submotion Orchestra, Kimbra, Laura Mvula, and Sigur Ros.
Do you have definitive aims for your future working life?
My 2015 is going to be very busy: I have a lot of ambitions to fulfill! I hope to be gigging a lot, building up a presence, recording new music and hopefully releasing an album before the fall. Working life = making music!
How tough would you say it is to carve out a career in this industry?
Extremely. You only have to hear about the way Ed Sheeran slept on the streets for months when he moved to London, or how Sam Smith worked at a bar before becoming the sensation he is now. Every musician struggles, and it would be naïve of me to think there won't be some bumps in the road. However, I don't have a plan B, so quitting is not an option!
Where should we expect to see you cropping up in the New Year?
I'm hoping to gig a lot more in London and hopefully play some festivals when summer comes around. I'm also planning to tour next year, so various spots around the UK will be on the calendar too! I'll be sure to be shouting about any movements and performances over my Facebook and Twitter so that everyone is involved!
Phoebe Katis' new single 'All Of My Life' is the only musical track in new movie Kajaki - out now.