When I first heard Caswell's single Animal I was instantly transfixed. Her tone, her incredible ethereal essence and hard hitting lyrics ("I'm going to hold you accountable for things you can't control"- LOVE) had me addicted straight away. She has the type of voice that has the ability to transport you to the most romantic moment of your life and keep you there for the entire length of the song. Her songs sound like they could be used in an incredible indie rom-com you'd find in the back pages of Netflix and obsess over for too long until your colleagues get bored of you and tell you to shut up about how dreamy the lead is.
We talked to Caswell about growing up in Brit School & what's going through her mind when she writes.
You come from a very musical family, how do you think this influenced your experience of music?
Although my family were all into music, I was never put in music lessons as a kid. I wasn't expected or told to do music, I came to it myself so I've always seen it as a positive thing. The experience of enjoying music has always been an integral part of everyday life for me, so the progression of going on to create it seemed natural.
What is your musical background? (In terms of artists you admire etc)
I remember my Dad being into a lot of Reggae, and my Mum was in a punk band at one point and loved her country music. I've always had a range of influences around me and in my later years when my Mum became a vinyl dealer we had every kind of record imaginable playing in our kitchen.
Listing favourite artists is near impossible but have to include Bjork, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, Devendra Banhart, Tame Impala.. the list goes on!
You have such a beautiful voice! When did you realise you could sing?
Thank you! I've always enjoyed singing, but I remember when I first starting writing and considering it as a career I was about 10. I formed a little girl group (that I called November) out of my school friends and created our album artwork out of pictures of Bratz dolls. After school, I would write songs and bring 4 copies of the lyrics in the next day so we could rehearse at break time. I was certain November would 'make it', it's hilarious!
Tell us about the inspiration behind your single Animal.
Animal is an unusual song for me, in the sense that it is more a stream of consciousness than about a singular situation. In it's initial form it was about how as humans we like to think we are so much more developed than animals, but in reality, we are all still slaves to our impulses and don't have as much control as we think. It's also about reconnecting with your instincts and intuition, and how that's empowering.
What was it like discovering your sound in a place like the Brit School?
Quite hard actually. When I first enrolled I had quite low confidence and felt less deserving than my peers, who already seemed to have their own style. Even though I was only 14 I thought I should've already been fully formed, which looking back now seems ridiculous! But not having a 'box' gives you a lot of freedom to try different things. I was there for 4 years and as the time went on I just grew and grew - it's an incredible place, totally unique.
Who are you listening to right now?
The last artist I played on Spotify was Anderson Paak who I'm really into at the moment. My Mum also gave me some vinyl for my birthday a few weeks ago so Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington have been on repeat.
When you write music, what is your aim and who are you writing for?
For me, writing is hugely personal. In everyday life I find it quite difficult to express my emotions and I can be quite closed off as a person, so I think writing keeps me sane sometimes! It can actually be hugely helpful in understanding, accepting and finding closure within a situation. I think if you write for yourself and the song is coming from somewhere real and honest, other people connect with it too.
What are your plans for 2017?
I was in the studio a lot through-out 2016, so this year I'm really excited about finally sharing more new music. Watch this space.
You're only young but your sound already seems very developed, how has it changed throughout time so far?
It's like anything in a way, the more you do it, the better you become. Style completely develops on it's own and has different phases, it just needs time to grow. The artists I've listened to and worked with have always had some kind of influence on my sound. I've always written on the piano, but in recent years the more I'm in with different producers I find my sound becoming more electronic and sonically experimental, which I'm really excited about.