Katy B On New Music & Craig David


Photo: Press

It's kind of hard to believe, but Katy B has now been soundtracking our nights out for over five years with hits like "Lights On", "Broken Record" and last year's chart-topper "Turn the Music Louder (Rumble)". In 2014, the soulful south Londoner also proved she can belt out a ballad with the devastating "Crying for No Reason".

When we meet Katy to discuss her brilliant new album Honey, she says the biggest misconception about her is that "people don't know I write my own songs. I think it's because I haven't got an acoustic guitar in my hand and I'm not sitting next to a piano." So obviously we wanted to ask about her songwriting process, as well as her new collaboration with Craig David and how she manages to achieve a work-life balance in the music industry.

Watch an exclusive premiere of Katy's new video for "I Wanna Be" below.

How is your new album Honey different from the first two?
It's very similar in a way, because I'm writing it from the same kind of place, working closely with dance producers. But club music is evolving all the time, so it's different in that respect because there are just so many new trends and sounds.

How do you approach writing songs?
I think I approach writing like a rapper, in a sense. I pick a track I like, one that inspires me and conjures up feelings and emotions, and then I write melodies and lyrics over the beat. I like writing songs in my bedroom, just like when I was a kid. I still like turning up the track really loud and having a little dance in my bedroom!

The track “Who Am I” is a collaboration with Craig David. How did that come about?
A while ago Craig's manager was like, "Craig wants to get in the studio with you," and I was like, "Oh my God, that's amazing!" So we've done quite a few tunes together actually. But this song is about loss of identity in a break-up, so I wanted a guy on the track to give it that male perspective. And I just thought, well, Craig's the guy.

Did you hang out at his apartment? I heard he has platters of Ferrero Rocher laid out for guests...
Yeah, he's got good chocolate... sorry, that sounds dirty! But seriously, he has lots of Ferrero Rocher and he even has his own branded M&M's which say TS5 [Craig's club night] on them. That's pretty cool, isn't it?

The title track, "Honey", is probably the sexiest song you've ever recorded. Where did the idea come from?
I grew up listening to people like Beyoncé and Jill Scott who talk about sex in their music a lot, but in a very loving way and a very celebratory way. They're amazing women, people who inspire me a lot, so that made me want to do a sexy song of my own. I wanted to show people that side of myself.

There's another great track on the album called "Calm Down", which isn't about calming down at all.
It's about not calming down! It's about when you're out with your friends and you know you need to go home early, so you can go to IKEA the next day to buy a sofa with your boyfriend. But you don't end up going home... and then the next day your bad hangover gets in the way.

How well do you function after a heavy night out?
Oh, I'm a girl who needs her sleep. Otherwise there's no trip to IKEA, do you know what I mean? It's just me in bed with a fry-up. A fry-up and a can of coke is my hangover cure. Or sometimes a Lilt, if I'm feeling old-school.

The big hit from your last album, "Crying for No Reason", touched a lot of people. Was that rewarding for you as a songwriter?
Definitely. I even had mental health charities getting in touch with me about the song. You know, I got the inspiration for that song from a friend who was really down. She rang me up and said, "I just started crying and I actually don't understand why." I definitely knew how she felt: We all have times in our lives when you're trying your best just to get through the day, but you've got your troubles and it's getting to that point where you can't sweep things under the carpet anymore. You just need to have a cry and talk about it.

Do you feel more confident now you're on album three?
In a way, there's an amazing sense of confidence you have when you're just starting out because no one's watching you, so there's not so much pressure. But now, coming onto my third album, I think there's a different kind of confidence: I've been doing this for a while now and hopefully people like my music and they're rooting for me.

You could presumably work all the time if you wanted to. Are you good at switching off?
I think that's something I've got better at over the years. I know how important it is for me to see my friends and family. That's something I'm actually quite adamant about. Quite early on in my career, I would make myself feel guilty about not working: I'd fill up my days completely and think, 'Well, I could be doing this now,' or 'I should be doing this.' I had to be busy all the time, but I've got over that now. I mean, I just had the best weekend ever. I went to a football match with my friend, I had a roast, I went out dancing. It's good to get that out of your system and then start again on Monday. I mean, you can't be creative if you're over-working all the time, can you?

Katy B’s new album, Honey, is out on the 29th of April.

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