We interview a soulful new music artist featured on BBC Radio 1Xtra from Liverpool, England, listen to Viki Duffy’s tracks at: soundcloud.com/vikiduffymusic
When did you first realise you could sing?
This is a funny one really, I started singing when I was about 5 years old, in school talent shows, but obviously, I was 5, so you know… so I guess I was probably about 11 or 12 when I started singing properly, and back then it was the song Shackles by Mary Mary that I was singing on holiday in Tenerife that made me think I could probably do something with it.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Well, if you’re talking WHO my biggest influences are, I’d have to say probably Katie Melua, Norah Jones, Missy Higgins, Kate Bush and Sheryl Crow. If you’re talking WHAT influences my music, this sounds mental, but it’s pain. I write my experiences, my songs are like a diary, so if you listen to my music you can pretty much see into my soul, which is what I want. I want to feel exposed, and vulnerable, because that’s where all the best music comes from.
Do you write your own music and or lyrics?
Of course, I do the occasional cover version if I really really like the song though, some songs are
so amazing and I feel as though they don’t get enough credit, so I do play some of them. I’m also a sucker for a bit of current pop so I’ve done covers of Take me Home by Jess Glynne and Dancing on My Own by Calum Scott.
Does being part of the LGBTQ community influence your music in anyway?
Erm, I’ll be honest, when I’m writing, or singing, I’m just me. I don’t feel like an LGBTQ woman, I just feel like a woman doing what she loves and hoping people respond positively to that. Don’t get me wrong it’s a huge part of who I am, but no, I don’t feel as though it particularly influences my music or defines me as an artist.
Have you found it harder, easier or equal do you think being a lesbian in the music industry?
Wow, well I’d not made music for 5 years until June last year, which was really hard for me, not to be able to do what I loved. I gave it all up to please someone when I should have been pleasing myself. A lot has changed since I last had a go at this music thing. I think it gives me an edge perhaps in that it separates me from other similar artists that may get lost in the wilderness of the industry, and I do welcome that. I think there’s a vast difference in the amount of gay male artists in the UK industry, to the amount of lesbian artists, which has always bugged me a little. So yeah, it’s probably the one instance in my life I can say, Ok, separate me because I’m different, I don’t mind.
What genres would you say your music falls into?
It’s mainly, acoustic pop, easy listening stuff. Something you can put on in the background while
you cook, or eat dinner. I want people to listen though, like really listen, with their hearts as well as their ears. That’s when people will get to know me, and what I’m about.
What albums or singles have you got out?
I’ve got a single out, called Message to You, which was recorded for and played on Radio 1 Xtra, I’m quite proud of that really, and my album ‘The Truth about Forever’ will be ready very soon, it’s been in the pipeline for a while now but I want it absolutely right. It has to tell the right story. It’s like putting your diary out there for people to read, it’s quite scary really.
Do you work with a producer or produce yourself?
Apart from Message to You, which was produced by DJ Target from Radio 1Xtra, I produce all my own stuff. I want it to sound as organic as possible, not overproduced. I’ve got the same kit in my house as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Radiohead use to record when they’re touring. It’s pretty cool.
Has coming from Liverpool been a big impact on you as a singer do you think?
I think it’s definitely made me more determined, given Liverpool’s rich history in music, I really want to be a part of that. It’s something special and I want to contribute to it. Also, i think we’ve got a lot of talent in the LGBTQ community in Liverpool, but it seems that it’s only the guys that seem to make it big…I want to change that. There’s a lot of girls I see singing karaoke in the pubs around Stanley Street etc..with amazing voices and I wonder why they’re sort of, hiding away. It makes me a bit sad to be honest.
Where can we find you performing next?
I will be performing most Thursday nights at Sugar Hut in Liverpool from 9pm, which is a bit of a different audience than I’m used to but it’s great fun and it’s really well received.
I should also be playing at Smithdown Road Festival over early May Bank Holiday, Liverpool Sound City late May Bank Holiday, and I’m just waiting for confirmation I’ll be playing at Ditto Live at the Camp and Furnace on 24th March. A lot of exciting things are happening at the moment, so keep checking my website and social media pages for updates.