Dan chatted with Liv Austen about her brand new single ‘Window Shopping’, life since signing with NUA Entertainment, the transition in her musical style and more!
Hey Liv! Great to speak to you – what have you been up to lately?
Hey Dan, lovely to speak to you too! I have been finishing my album, and I am so excited that it’s finished now, it’s coming out this autumn!
It’s been a pretty exciting year for you – C2C was obviously one of the big highlights. From an artist’s point of view, it must be so motivating to see how that festival, and the genre as a whole, is expanding…
Yes, I still can’t quite believe it! To be in front of a packed audience 3 days in a row, at a country music festival – it’s exciting beyond words. I am so grateful for what C2C has done to bring country fans together in the UK, and I hope they continue to champion UK artists, because there are so many amazing ones. It’s a super strong genre, and I’m glad it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves, and that people also recognise that it’s a diverse genre. Country isn’t just this one thing.
How have you found life since signing with NUA Entertainment? How much of an impact has that made on your career and what’s it been like to have their support?
To have the financial backing to be able to go in to the studio to record a full album has been so important, I can’t even begin to imagine how long this album would have taken had my situation been different, I am very grateful for the position I’m in. I do believe though, that a lot of people think you’re sorted when you sign a record deal, and that suddenly you have a team of people who help you do everything. That is not true! I am working harder than I ever have before in my life (which is saying something!). But yes, being signed and having someone believing in you and investing in you has made a huge difference to me and my career.
We’ve seen a transition in your sound and image recently with a much heavier pop/mainstream influence. Was that a conscious decision or just what naturally felt right for you at this point in your career?
It was a totally organic transition. I was so heavily in to country when I first fell in love with it, so naturally my first release had a proper country sound. But now that I am co-producing my own music for the first time, I’m realising that the music I grew up with, and still love, pop music, is just as important to me. What I love about country music is the lyrics, the honesty, the vulnerability. What I love about pop, is the massive production, the hooks, the freedom you have in arrangement and instrumentation. Now I’ve just merged those two loves together more. I believe that I’m more true to myself in this new music than I ever have been before. I think we also have to continue evolving as artists and never get stuck doing the same thing forever!
Your last single ‘Don’t Regret A Single One’ has done really well with support from Chris Country and Radio 2! That song’s been around for quite a while so that must have made you so proud to see the reaction?
Yes, Chris Country have been incredibly supportive of me, and it’s amazing to have had some plays on Radio 2 as well, I never would have believed that just a few years ago. Yes, Don’t Regret a Single One is a special one for me, as I first released it as a very country sounding track when I was an independent artist. My label loved it so much they thought I should release it again, now that I have a bigger following. I said I was happy to on one condition, that we created a whole new version that fit better with the sound I have now. So we did! It’s so great to see people who already knew the song support the new version, and also new fans hearing it for the first time and loving it. I am ready to share brand new music now though, for sure!
How much do you enjoy doing the music videos? Yours are always imaginative and very creative, so how involved are you in that whole process?
I love doing videos. It’s partly the actor in me, I love being in front of the camera. I also feel like being an artist is all sorts of different things, you don’t just express yourself through words and music, but also through your performance on stage and in videos. The great thing about music videos is that there are no rules really, they can be surreal, serious, cheeky, funny, whatever you want. I am massively involved in how they are shot and edited, and what kind of look we go for. I’m excited about the upcoming video for Window Shopping, it’ll be really entertaining I think!
We seem to be hearing a lot about Kaity Rae lately, and you wrote your new single with her. How did that collaboration come about and what was she like to write with?
Kaity is a wonderful songwriter and singer. I’ve known her for a few years and we’ve written several songs together. Window Shopping is the only collaboration between us that will be on my album, but I am confident the world will hear our other songs soon too. She’s just a songwriting genius, incredibly quick to suggest ideas, and also super generous and listens to your input as a co-writer. I am going to write a lot with her in the future, I just know that it’ll end in a great song, or at least, a fun afternoon! Writing Window Shopping with her was so fun, so quick and just happened so naturally, we both really bonded over it.
Do you usually prefer co-writing as opposed to writing on your own?
Co-writing is a weird one, it can be the best and the worst way to create, really. I’m lucky to have found some amazing co-writers who bring out the best in me and who are just lovely people to be around, and they’ve really helped me embrace that way of working. I think I’m always going to prefer writing on my own, because I did that for so long. I think it’s important to do both though, because they result in completely different songs!
The new single ‘Window Shopping’ is interesting because you can be easily fooled by the infectious melody but there’s a deep meaning in the lyrics. Tell us about the inspiration behind it and why it’s an important message for you.
I’m glad you noticed that, Dan! Yeah I wanted it to be a fun and catchy song, but it does touch on something that I’ve though about and felt quite passionate about for a long time. It saddens me that so many people are only focused on the superficial things. A lot of us want to find love, but are not prepared to actually get to know someone, but rather just have these boxes we want to tick (how tall are they, what hair colour do I like, how much money do they have…) and don’t open themselves up to real connections.
The truth is, you never know who you might fall for and who might be the person who will make you happier than you ever imagined. I think it’s sad that we miss out on that because of our prejudice and social standards of beauty, for instance. I also think there’s a bit of a tendency because of social media and dating apps… Not that there is anything wrong with using dating apps, I just want to be clear on that! But we are a bit addicted to keep looking for something better to come along all the time, there’s unlimited supply, you know? And we don’t commit to one person long enough to actually get to know them.
What’s the long-term plan in terms of new releases? Are you working towards the release of an album?
Yes! It’s coming out in a few months time – I will reveal the release date soon! I am so proud of the songs I’ve recorded and I cannot wait to hear what people think of it.
And finally, where can people come and see you over the summer?
I’ve got quite a few gigs all over the country this summer, and more to be announced! It’s mainly festivals, but also some other gigs. The best thing is to sign up to me on Bandsintown so you get alerts when I’m playing near you, or you can check livausten.com/shows regularly – that will always be updated with my upcoming gigs.