She'll be the last person to admit it, but Shannon Wardrop is bloody cool. She's the kind of girl that can wear a film camera around her neck (with it being more than just a mere accessory), channel double denim and never make it look like a Canadian tuxedo and belt out a few notes as if she's doing her ABC (and according to my mum, sounding a bit like a certain Ms. Welch too)- and it all looks so easy. On top of that she's absolutely lovely- and talented, did I mention that? With fans including Ray Davis (y'know, the one from that wee band, The Kinks- were they?) and having just filmed with one of the UK's most important fashion brands (more on that later)- this little lady is one to watch and the perfect girl to begin my new 'Girl Crush' interview series with; where I chat with some of the most inspiring women in various creative fields- kicking serious ass as they go...
So! First things first- for those that aren't lucky enough to have heard of you before- tell us a little about yourself!
Hello! I am a 22 year-old singer/songwriter and guitarist from Berkshire. I'm really inspired by 60's and 70's music, particularly bands like The Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane etc etc, and I try to create a sound and style that incorporates these influences but with a modern twist.
I remember you saying you were in a girl group when you were a little bit younger- have you always wanted to be involved with music? Was the Wardrop household a musical one?
Haha yeah! It was a little band my friends and I formed at school as a bit of fun and I guess I progressively started to get really into playing and performing music from then on. Nobody in my family is musical in any way but my dad in particular has always been really into music so he would play loads of great music to my sister and I when we were little and I just got really into it and eventually began making music of my own.
What's your earliest musical memory (any first CD's etc)?
You're gonna laugh at this but I'm sad to say it was Vindaloo by Fat Les! Not very rock and roll haha! I even chanted it with my dad on karaoke on holiday somewhere soon after it came out, which always makes me laugh to think about as an embarassing memory!
Where do you seek inspiration for in song writing? Do you base things on experience, or is it solely a chance to get creative and tell a story?
I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to songwriting and it's definitely not my musical strong point! I find that every song comes to me in a different way and when I try to sit down and come up with something in the same way that I wrote my last song, it doesn't materialise. Sometimes I'll come up with a riff or a chord progression first, and other times I'll come up with a melody or a phrase first. I try to work off of expressions quite a lot and run with the emotion/vibe of whatever that expression is. I also find for some reason that I begin a lot of my songs by improvising in jibberish when I'm driving alone. (I've had some funny looks from doing this! haha).
Your live shows are amazing (and have been known to make grown men cry- haha)- how do you prepare for a show, do you get nervous?
Ah that's so nice of you to say - thank you very much!! I'd be a big fat liar if I told you that I don't get nervous because I'm truly forever quaking in my boots pre-show! Even if it's just a tiny venue I still get so nervous, especially if it's a solo performance! I don't really have any pre-show rituals though, but I like to be alone to gather my thoughts and calm myself if I'm at a venue where I'm able to do that!
As well as having an incredible set of pipes- you have an amazing sense of style too. How important is image when performing? Is there anyone who's style you like to reference/look up to in the ol' wardrobe department?
You are full of compliments, Miss Purvis! I think image on stage is important because it helps you get into character even if your character is only a slight extension of yourself. I tend to flirt with certain styles more in certain seasons, but generally speaking my day-to-day muse couple are Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards. I really love their mix of flamboyant and bohemian styles and the music that is attached to it. Being an unsigned developing artist I don't tend to have a lot of money to spend on clothes so when I buy something I try to make sure it's something that will stand the test of time in my own personal style and not just something that will be deemed as unfashionable by the following season!
You've recently filmed an acoustic set with Burberry (still so proud)- what has been the highlight of your career so far?
Thank you! That was such a surreal and exciting experience to be filmed for one of their videos as I have been watching their sessions and catwalk shows for years and Burberry are obviously such an iconic brand! I'm still really early on in my musical career so for me the Burberry experience is probably one of my highlights so far, but I also got to meet and go in the studio with Ray Davies (one of my personal musical heroes) a few months back and he gave me some really valuable feedback which I consider to be a highlight too!
Which women in music, or otherwise do you admire/girl crush on?
Again, Anita Pallenberg is high up in my list of style inspiration! But also there are many other amazingly stylish women I look to for inspiration like Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, and recently I have been majorly girl-crushin' on Camille Rowe and Pandora Sykes! So many stylish ladies!
Finally, what's next for Ms Wardrop? When can we next catch you live?
Well recently I have been focusing a lot on writing and getting my 'sound' together so I'm now starting to rehearse again with a band and we'll announce some London shows in the next couple of months before heading back in the studio! But in the meantime, I'm playing an unplugged/acoustic set at Lion Coffee Records on the 26th April and Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's on June 16th!