Multi-talented powerhouse Heard sees two incredibly gifted women, Cerian Holland and Daisy Chute, unite. Their ethereal vocals transport you to another world, Cerian has been compared to Kate Bush and Daisy combines her Scottish and American roots in her folk-influenced sound. The range of instruments they play is astounding. We’re excited to present Heard on Sunday 18th November. Fresh from their American tour, we spoke to Cerian to find out more.
Tell us how you two met and decided you had to work together.
We first met in the studio recording vocals for the recent Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool in 2016 and then singing Ilan Eshkeri’s score for the Burberry fashion show shortly after. We quickly became friends and both working as singer-songwriters as well as session musicians, we started performing together on the London circuit. So often we were finding ourselves in the studio or on a lineup as the only female voice. When we investigated further, we discovered that online magazine Pitchfork had found that only 14% of acts in American festivals in 2017 were female, and according to UK collection agency PRS only 16% of all songwriters/composers registered were female. Not only is this shocking, as the female voice is not being heard and represented equally on the cultural stage, but it is also not representative of our experience of all the amazing female and female-indentifying songwriters and musicians we know. Rather than viewing this as a competition between each other for that small space, we wanted to ‘open’ the window of opportunity, creating a collective of women not working against, but with and for each other. We want women's voices to be heard, and hence we called our collective HEARD! (We also love wordplay and like to encourage everyone to join the heard!)
You're both incredible, multi-talented musicians, was it as serendipitous and inspiring as it sounds when you two found each other?
Thank you, we think it was! We have a lot in common - we're both multi-instrumentalists and writers with Celtic roots and shared values, and a similar desire to do something positive to try to create change in the music industry. We both shared a desire for more female representation in the industry and so we decided to combine forces and form a new collective of female musicians who tour together, play together and support one another. It's been so awesome working together and making music together, and also getting to meet and work with other incredible female musicians and artists.
Being able to play so many instruments must open up a world of creativity, can you tell us a little about that?
Between us we play a dozen different instruments from classics like guitar and piano to the more unusual harp, banjo and omnichord. We both love the thrill of a new instrument and the ways that different instruments can inspire us and create different sound worlds. We also love creating vocal soundscapes inspired by our time as choral scholars and our subsequent musical projects (Daisy was a founding member of All Angels and Cerian has sung for the likes of U2 and Imogen Heap), and so working together we can indulge our love for harmonies!
With your music, what inspires you and what do you hope to inspire in people listing to you?
When setting up Heard, we were inspired by other female collectives such as Nashville-based I’m With Her, British collaborations Songs of Separation, Woman to Woman and music by indie folk/pop bands like First Aid Kit and The Staves. We are constantly inspired by other musicians, both by their skills and talent but also the ability of music to unite us all. There's nothing more touching than someone telling us they were moved by our songs - music really does seem to transcend everything and bring people together. We would also love to inspire more women into writing, performing, playing... basically being heard!
You've performed at The Verdict before, what was your experience like and why are you excited to be returning?
We absolutely loved playing at The Verdict earlier this year. It was such a wonderful supportive atmosphere and audience, and Roxanne has created an amazing community and venue. It's an extra special treat getting to play a grand piano too, and we loved looking out at all the beautiful paintings on the walls. Oh and the food was amazing too!
What will the show entail and is performing live your favourite part of the process?
I absolutely love playing live, I think it's my favourite thing. I love that when you're playing live, the only thing that exists is the music, and that's such a joy. I also love meeting and connecting with people and playing live has enabled me to meet so many incredible people. We both have our individual projects as solo artists, but performing as Heard, we sing and play on each other's music, and get to augment each other with extra instruments and harmonies, which we love doing. As well as our original songs, we'll also throw in a cover or two, and some stories from our recent tour of America. We will have harp, banjo, guitar, percussion, The Verdict's lovely grand piano and we may not be able to resist bringing along the omnichord too. I have loved playing Daisy's omnichord so much that I’ve just bought my own matching vintage one... anyone fancy hearing an omnichord duet?
We can't wait to play The Verdict again, hope to see you there!
You can see Heard perform at The Verdict on Sunday 18th November. Head to our What's On page to buy tickets £8/4 https://www.roxanneattheverdict.com/whats-on