Thanks to the wonders of transatlantic phone calls, our own Carrie Clancy chatted with rising star Bo Bruce while she was doing press last Friday morning in London. In this lovely interview, Ms. Bruce talks about the importance of connecting with the fans via social media, her debut album that drops in April, her connections with Snow Patrol, and much more. Read on…
How are you?
I am good, thank you.
Good, good. I understand you’ve had kind of a busy week doing press for your album release?
I have. It’s so disorientating. I’ve been sort of doing all the radios, all the regional radios up and down the country, it’s sort of mad.
Yeah. I have seen your name all over my Twitter feed this week with all of the press that you’re doing. Lots of tweets about you.
Oh, that’s good.
Lots of tweets from you, actually, as well. Have you found Twitter is a good way to connect with your fans?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve had to get a lot better at it. But I’m now getting a bit addicted so I’ve got to be careful.
It is kind of addictive, but it’s a good way to kind of keep track of what people are doing. Like I said, I saw both of your videos through Twitter and I saw a couple of other interviews that you’ve done, so it’s been easy for me to keep up with what you’re doing. That’s been nice.
Yeah, it’s a goodie, and it’s also sort of like, I’ve got some amazing fans who are sort of telling everyone what’s going on, and then they come and find me in whatever city doing little press things, so that’s a really good way to sort of stay in contact with everyone.
Good. Well, I assume that a lot of that fan base that you’ve earned has come from your appearance on The Voice last year.
Yeah, definitely, that’s where it started.
That was big in terms of exposure for you. I wanted to ask you about that. Something that happens with the American version of The Voice is, a lot of times I think the artists come off of that show feeling like they have to sort of prove themselves as legitimate artists and not manufactured pop stars. Have you felt any of that?
I guess because I had, you know, I was trying to put forward a music career before I did The Voice, so I’d been living in New York and I’d been gigging there and gigging in London, and I had an EP out, so I sort of felt less pressure because once The Voice had ended, my EP came out, and that went in at #2, I sort of, I felt, it was a good feeling to sort of, you know, I had stuff out there, so I didn’t feel like, you know, I really needed to say, ‘Hey, take me seriously’ because I had stuff kicking around.
Right, you’d done that already. Are the songs on the new album fairly different from what were on the EP?
Actually, it feels like a bit of an extension of that EP. They are sort of, um, bigger, perhaps, and I’ve sort of gone a little deeper into what I’ve really been needing and wanting to say. But there’s a sort of thread, a sort of sound and a vibe that’s in that EP that is definitely, that I’ve taken on a bit to the album itself.
So you’ve had a chance to grow and expand a little bit on that, that’s kind of nice.
I know on the album you have quite a few collaborations with other established artists. I had been reading that you worked with Johnny McDaid, particularly. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah, Johnny was the first person I wrote with, and actually the last person. I wrote a very important song right at the start of doing the album, before they went on, Snow Patrol went on their world tour pretty soon, so we did that, and then when they got back, when I sort of felt like I’d finished writing, actually, and then we kind of got together around Christmas and wrote the very last song on my record called ‘How We’re Made’. Johnny is sort of extraordinary, he’s very keen on sort of holding a mirror up to you. You know, nothing really, you don’t get away with much. He really pushes you, and actually, he pushes me more than anyone I’ve ever really met, so when we do stuff together, it’s always pretty, well, it’s an amazing way of writing. We have a great bond, he’s a great friend.
Wow. It’s nice that you have someone like that to work with. Who else did you have the opportunity to work with on the album?
The other person that I’ve done a lot of stuff with is Henry Binns, who’s in Zero7. He kind of ended up overseeing the entire album. We sort of went through the whole mastering process together. We wrote about four songs, I mean we wrote a lot of songs, but there are four songs on there with just me and him. It’s funny, because I’ve still got stuff, obviously the album coming out, but I’m already writing for album two, so I’m going to go and see him later and get back in the studio with him. And he, again, has become a very good friend. Him and Johnny, because they’re that much older and they’ve had a successful time and they’ve sort of done that road, they were amazing to have around, in an emotional support way as well. They really know how it is, what it feels like to be a breaking artist. So, I’m incredibly grateful for that. And then, obviously Sia, who was part of Zero7 back in the day, I’ve got a song on the record with her, and Joel Pott, who’s the lead singer of Athlete, we worked together a lot.
So, it sounds like you’ve got some established artists behind you and that, if you were worried about credibility at all, that would be a stepping stone toward getting over that too. It sounds like you’re very confident in the album.
I am. I feel very much like, you know, choosing to go on a show like I did, when I already had music out, you know, there was always going to be sort of a risk involved, and I feel like I’ve made an album that I would have made had I gone on a show like that or not. I got to really continue with being who, you know, the project that I had sort of started years ago.
Right. And you said what you wanted to say?
So, you’ve talked a little bit about your plans post-album release. You said that you’ve already started writing another album. Do you have touring plans or anything like that for the summer?
Yeah. We are, I think we’re announcing the dates on Monday [today], but there’s a tour coming up this summer, and then some festivals. So, I think we’re going to be hitting the road quite soon.
You won’t even have a chance to rest.
No, it’s really crazy, I just haven’t stopped. Since that show stopped, I haven’t stopped.
I have to ask, since I write for a partially American blog, is your album being released in the U.S.?
Yeah. I don’t really know how it all works. I think anyone can get it from iTunes, right? Isn’t that how it works?
I was a little unclear. When I looked at the pre-order, I was told, “This album is not available in your country”, but I assume maybe after the release?
I saw that as well, it’s annoying. I think that’s the pre-order situation, but once it’s released on the 29th, then it’s worldwide.
Good, so our American readers will be able to get their hands on that as well.
I hope so, because the time that I spent living in New York, I built a little bit of a fan base there, so I’m really keen that they’re able to hear it.
Are you planning on doing any gigs in the U.S.?
I would absolutely love to. I think we’ve got to sort of concentrate on this side of the pond first. But I would love to go back out to New York and do some shows there.
Well, hopefully we’ll be seeing that in the future. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the full album. I’ve heard the two songs that you’ve got out, ‘The Fall’ and ‘Save Me’.
Yeah, ‘The Fall’ was with Johnny McDaid, actually.
I think that’s how I came across that one on Twitter (via Polar Patrol Publishing). I saw the videos for both of those. The imagery for both of those is similar, and then also the cover art on your album. Is that kind of an overarching theme for you?
The guy who did the photography is a guy in the States called Eliot Lee Hazel, who actually just shot Thom Yorke’s new project called Atoms for Peace. He is very kind of raw and gritty and quite cinematic, and he was perfect for all this sort of album artwork. And then his best friend, who’s also from L.A., called Maximilla (Lukacs), she shot the video for ‘Save Me’. So it was a real collaboration between all of us about what it was that I was, you know, the sort of visual side of it all. And ‘The Fall’ itself was shot by a friend of mine, a schoolmate of mine. He obviously knows me and knows what I’m like, so that was a good one.
So he knew what would work for you, that’s good. I actually like both of those videos very much, I was just surprised how similar they were, and so I thought maybe there was a theme that you were going for there.
Well, they’re both incredibly me, I guess. I grew up in the middle of a wood in the middle of nowhere in the sort of English countryside, and that stuff never leaves me no matter whether I’ve been living in New York or the city, London, so there’s all that stuff that is so important to my lyric and the theme of what I write about.
Nice. I have one last question to ask you. Since your name has been all over my Twitter feed, I’ve been wanting to ask you about your name. I understand that Bo is not your full first name?
No, it’s not. I was always called ‘Bebe’ as a kid, and then it got sort of shortened to ‘Beebs’ and then ‘Beebo’, then ‘Bo’. (laughs) I don’t know, it’s sort of a weird one.
And that just sort of stuck?
Well, it suits you, it does seem to suit your personality. I’m looking forward to seeing your name across my Twitter feed, and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing your album when that comes out at the end of April.
Thank you so much for giving me a little bit of your time this morning. We appreciate it.
No worries. Lovely to talk to you and hope to speak to you again soon.
We would like to thank Hugo for sorting out this interview and of course the lovely Bo Bruce for taking the time out of her busy press schedule to chat with us.