Lotte Mullan releases new single details and gorgeous new video
aaamusic | On 12, Feb 2011
Lotte Mullan will release her first official single, ‘Would You Be So Kind’, on 28 February. It is taken from her debut album, ‘Plain Jane’, released 2 May through Raindog Records.
Lotte Mullan spent her early years trying to sing exactly like Tom Waits: a resulting throat problem and an enforced-singing ban quickly saw her change tack. Finding her own voice seems an apt metaphor this debut record, which was inspired by two key events. Firstly, the record collection her Dad left behind after her parents divorced when she was four years old: it contained gems from the likes of Rickie Lee Jones, Bobbie Gentry, Kirsty Macoll and The Beatles. Then, at secondary school, Lotte spotted a strange boy with big headphones who would walk around the school in silence. A curious Mullan desperately sought out the music he listened to (old blues and folk from the 30s), falling in love with both the artists and the boy himself.
Having left school and thrown herself into music, Mullan has spent the last few years skirting round the edges of the industry, searching for a break. Talks with major labels began in earnest and stalled, so she went to work for one instead, to find out how they worked. And so began something of a double life: while no-one was looking, the work experience girl would pen lyrics underneath her desk, beavering away on this debut record, and scraping together all the contacts that she could. Many of her colleagues would spend the day looking extremely busy, whilst browsing Facebook: Lotte, meanwhile, was building her career.
Through a series of fortuitous events, Mullan then dabbled in both radio plugging and tour managing (she would book herself the occasional support slot in the process). It was make-it-up-as-you-go-along stuff, and an approach that she furthered upon the completion of her debut album, ‘Plain Jane’. Lotte swiftly set up her own label, Raindog Records, and serviced an early version of the single and the record to the press. With no experience whatsoever, she received a significant level of critical acclaim, which she now brings forward to the full-on release of her debut effort this spring.
This, then, is a quietly subversive and thoroughly DIY success story, and ‘Plain Jane’ soundtracks Lotte’s artistic journey to that point. It also chronicles a good deal of heartache along the way. ‘Would You Be So Kind’, for instance, is thoroughly British break-up song, in which Mullan politely pleas for her partner to end the relationship and put her out of her misery. The folky finger-picking of ‘Fire In My Soul’ also points to relationships of old, this time marrying Lotte’s effortless voice with a more steely lyrical determination. These are essentially dark songs, sweetly played and beautifully sung, though the album is not without colour: see the beat-heavy blues of ‘Can’t Find The Words’, or the cheeky yet gorgeous cover of Ben Taylor’s ‘Wicked Way’,which is transformed, describes Lotte, “from what many see as this sleazy, Rohypnol anthem into some sort of feminist statement. It wasn’t intended as such, but it shuts everyone up when I open my live shows with it.”
This Work Experience Girl may not have got the job, but you sense it’s their loss.
8 February LONDON Leicester Square Theatre (with David McAlmont)
14 February SHEFFIELD o2 Academy (with David McAlmont)
16 February GLASGOW ABC (with David McAlmont)
7 March NORWICH Playhouse (with David McAlmont)