Holler are proud to present a monthly series of live sessions in proud partnership with Under The Apple Tree.
Each month we'll share some of the exciting mainstays and rising stars within the country, Americana and roots scenes, as picked by Holler's own Head of Music, Baylen Leonard.
This month, it's a pleasure to introduce you to the wondrous British songwriter Kezia Gill. Watch below:
Kezia Gill has gone from strength to strength this past year. Releasing her latest EP, The Mess I Made, back in June, Gill collected up all her different musical passions and crafted a powerful release that embraces all the possibilities for experimentation within country.
Whether she's strutting down with the blues, letting loose across euphoric pop or setting the honky-tonk on fire with her favourite country jams, Gill's all-encompassing abilities are making her a real name to watch, both at home and across the pond.
Holler sat down with Kezia to discuss the new EP, battling between your head and your heart and how all her songs are relevant to a particular time in her life.
We last spoke to you back in January - how has 2021 treated you since, both personally and creatively?
Since the world began to slowly open up again, 2021 has been an incredible year. Having worked on my new EP throughout lockdown, I was so excited to finally be able to get it out there! I was equally excited to start gigging again, and since May I pretty much haven’t had a free weekend!
I’ve been lucky enough to play some amazing shows; everything from headlining Buckle and Boots Festival, to performing my very own theatre show, to supporting The Shires on their UK tour, to performing an intimate show with none other than Bob Harris!
It isn’t slowing down! I just picked up 3 awards at the BCMA Awards, and I've just set off around the UK on a co-headline tour with Jade Helliwell. It’s been an amazing year.
Has this time allowed you to develop artistically?
I'm a great believer that everything gets better with age, and my writing is no exception. The pandemic was a blessing for me in so many ways. I had time to grieve the loss of my father, who passed away in March 2020, I had a chance to stop and take stock of my career, and question what was important to me, both artistically and personally. Also, in having to turn my performances into online live streams, I was able to experiment so much more,
This in turn meant I grew in confidence. I certainly feel like I am a different artist to the pre-covid Kezia.
You released The Mess I Made EP in June. I like how you seamlessly incorporate your different penchants into such a concise, impactful record.
I was very aware that the record I was making was pushing the boundaries of genre. I am known as a country artist, but the truth is, I wanted to incorporate the blues, pop, Americana as well as rock and roll influences that have inspired me, hence releasing the album under ‘Singer Songwriter’.
I just had to do it in a way where nothing stuck out or felt out of place. I wanted it to feel like a “Kezia record”.
Did you at all feel limited by what you could express or encompass within a short release like an EP?
Not really. I chose an EP, as that’s what I had! Seven songs, all suited to one another and relevant for this particular time in my life. There was no deadwood. Every song earned its place.
How do you feel the release embodied who you were in that moment, even in such a short space of time as six months ago?
I have always been a very personal writer, and only really know how to write about what I know and feel, so all the tracks are completely relevant to that particular time of my life.
As I am singing about my life and my truth, these songs will always be relevant to me in some way or another. Take for example ‘Bad for me’, written about the days before I met my wonderful husband.
I certainly kissed plenty of frogs to find my prince, but despite being happily together for almost 15 years, that song is still relevant to me because I felt those feelings, had those experiences and can relate to every word!
When we spoke previously, you felt ready to explore releasing another album, your first since your 2017 self-titled debut. Has that idea come to fruition?
I think the EP took the place of the album. I still dream of making an album in the future, but have to factor in things like costs, and release strategies. The new age of streaming music has changed everything for independent artists. Why release 10 songs when you can only promote one? It's a battle between head and heart, but for now, I see a few more single releases in the pipeline.
What’s next for Kezia Gill – what would you really like to achieve next year?
I love this question, although I never know how to answer it! I want to keep moving forwards, keep growing my audience and keep working towards my dream of being a commercial, globally known artist. My bucket list is as predictable as you’d imagine; Glastonbury, Jools Holland, a Brit Award! One step at a time.
Kezia Gill's latest EP, The Mess I Made, is out now via Copper Music.
You can watch Kezia's Under the Apple Tree x Holler Session above, and subscribe and listen to her Deep Cuts playlist below:
Under The Apple Tree is home to the best sessions in Country, Americana and Roots, both in the UK and across the pond. You can find more sessions from them, including recordings with Tenille Townes, Colter Wall and more, right here.