There’s something about Delilah Montagu. The Sussex newcomer – who frequently records in Los Angeles ‘FYI’ – channels all her worries about growing up and finding herself into incredibly assured, laidback pop songs that are both a bit 90s but also timeless. Her latest, ‘Loud’, is about the hard-fought, newfound confidence that’s come hand-in-hand with perfecting her craft. “I’ve always been a shy person,” she explains, “unsure of who I am and where I fit in. ‘Loud’ came from a space of being confused for so long and signifies a hugely important transition for me. With honesty and confidence I now know I’m capable of having healthy relationships with myself and those around me, staying true to and feeling enormously proud of who I really am.” Following on from her debut single ‘Version Of Me’, it’s a strong new step forward from an act well worth keeping an eye on.
Hi Delilah, how’s it going? What are you up to today?
I’m sitting in a cafe waiting for my girlfriend to join me for breakfast, then I’m gonna spend the day in my studio recording vocals to send over to Robin in LA, then four of my mates are coming over to watch a movie. You’ve definitely caught me on a good day.
What first drew you to wanting to be a musician, have you always been creative?
I have always been creative! I used to live in a village called Forest Row in Sussex, and I was surrounded by creatives, so it was definitely the ‘norm’ to be a creative of some kind growing up. I started writing songs when I was six, and so it doesn’t feel like I ever made a conscious choice to be a musician, it just happened.
Can you remember your first time performing?
God yeah I can remember it way too well. I sang ‘Once In Royal David’s City’ at my local church acappella – still to this day the most nervous I have ever been to sing in front of others. I always sing and play an instrument; it’s like my security blanket so that might always be my least favourite gig.
What about the first song you wrote?
I remember it so well. It was called ‘Goodbye Bridie Doll’.
Is there a particular vibe you like to aim for with your music, or lyrical topics you find yourself returning to?
I always write very autobiographically. I sit down and just talk for hours and write down (or Robin writes down) things I say, and then I start to go through it slowly. I always return to the style of writing because I feel like it reduces the most honest, real material.
How did you break into the music industry?
I played a gig supporting my friend Sam Larner at the Troubadour, and someone who was there emailed me the next day asking for a demo. So I recorded a voice note of ‘Temptation’ (my first release) and sent it to him. The next day I had over 50 emails from labels and managers – kind of mad, but that’s how it happened!
Are you enjoying it so far? What’ve been your highlights?
One of my highlights was singing at ‘one world together at home’ with my dog in my bed, and of course, singing our song ‘Drive’ at Black Coffee’s gig in Johannesburg.
It sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time in LA, what attracted you to the city? Is it easier to create away from home?
I love LA, it’s a very creative and inspiring place for me, and I love the people I’ve met there. I have to be honest though; I actually prefer London as a city… probably because my home is here, but I work with Robin Hannibal who lives and works in LA, and we work so well together that I have ended up doing a lot of writing there.
Where do you like hanging out over there?
Sadly most of the places I like in LA have had to close due to COVID, hopefully they can be saved though I know we are all trying our best, but I spend a lot of time in Silver Lake when I’m there because most of my friends live there!
What’ve you got coming up? Is the pandemic hindering many of your plans?
It really isn’t hindering my pans at all, I’m creating more than ever at the moment, and I have just finished making two music videos that I can’t wait to share! I feel like, for my creativity, lockdown did me a few favours because I could just settle and hide away in my room and write, with no distractions.
Delilah Montagu’s new single ‘Loud’ is out now.